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Index / Languages / Niger-Congo /

Language mainly spoken in Mali, by the Bambara people, altogether 2.7 million (1995 estimate). No source lists Bambara as a language of Mauritania, but considering the poor quality of data for this field in general, that does not prove anything (see Mauritania / Peoples : Statistics).
All sources, however, agree that the Bambara live in Mauritania, and they are a people noted for being close to 100% in upholding their native tongue. Also, the regions in which the Bambara live are remote to the Arabic-dominated regions of Mauritania, and very close to Mali, where Bambara language is national language and very much alive. Hence there would be no reason to assume that all Bambara would have given up their own language in favour of Arabic.
The number of Bambara-speakers is hard to assess.

By Tore Kjeilen