Neha Patil (Editor)

Jola languages

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Subdivisions:  Bayot Jola proper
Geographic distribution:  The Gambia, Senegal (esp. Casamance) and Guinea-Bissau
Linguistic classification:  Niger–Congo Atlantic–Congo Bak–Bijago Bak proper Jola–Papel Jola
Glottolog:  nucl1345  (Nuclear Jola) bayo1255  (Bayot)

Jola or Diola is a dialect continuum spoken in Senegal, the Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. It belongs to the Bak branch of the Niger–Congo language family.



The primary branches of Jola proper and to some extent Central Jola are not mutually intelligible. The main varieties are:

  • Bayot
  • Jola proper
  • Central Jola
  • Jola-Fonyi (Kujamatay), spoken around Bignona. The official standard.
  • Bandial, spoken in a small area south of the Casamance River.
  • Gusilay, spoken in the village of Thionck Essyl.
  • Jola-Felupe (Ediamat), spoken in a handful of villages south of Oussouye in Oussouye Department. Kerak may be a dialect.
  • (Jola) Kasa, spoken around Oussouye.
  • Kwatay (Kuwaataay), spoken along the coast south of the Casamance River.
  • Karon–Mlomp
  • Karon, spoken along the coast of Casamance south of Diouloulou.
  • Bayot

    Bayot, spoken around Ziguinchor, is grammatically Jola apart from a non-Jola pronominal system, but maybe half its vocabulary is non-Jola and even non-Atlantic. It may therefore be a language isolate with substantial Jola borrowing (relexification). In any case it is clearly distinct from (other) Jola languages.


    Jola languages Wikipedia