The languages in Mauritania consist of Afroasiatic languages, which include the Arabic and Berber languages. The official language in the country is Modern Standard Arabic, which is used in schools and government organizations. The modern standard Arabic is the dialect used all over the world in Arab speaking countries. Around 300 languages are grouped among the Afroasiatic languages. The modern Arabic is built from the classical Arabic which has been simplified. The language has three pairs of short and long vowels. Standard Arabic may differ in vocabulary and pronunciation from classical Arabic. French is also widely spoken in mauritania.
The Arabic spoken in Mauritania is divided into two types: the modern standard Arabic and Hassaniya Arabic which is the everyday spoken form of the language. The Bedouin people speak Hassniya. The Berber language is divided into Zenaga and Tamasheq which is spoken by the Tuareg living in the South-east region close to the border with Mali. Zenaga was once spoken by a majority of Mauritania’s population, but the speakers declined in the 17th century after the Char Bouba war in which the Zenaga were defeated. Zenaga is made up of different dialects, and the major ones are Tendgha and Id-ab-lahsen.
Some useful phrases in French spoken in Mauritania include words such as “Bonjour” which means hello, “comment allez-vous” which mean how are you, “au-revoir” meaning goodbye, “Bonsoir” meaning good evening, “oui” meaning yes, and “non” meaning no. Some phrases in modern standard Arabic include words like “Marhaba” to say hello, “ma’assalamah” to mean goodbye, “shukran” to mean thanks, and “min fadlik” to mean please.
The minority languages in the country include Wolof, Soninke, Pulaar, and Bambara. The languages fall under the Niger-Congo languages. Wolof is spoken by about 7% of the population, which is around 185,000 people, living along the Senegal River in Mauritania. Soninke is spoken by the Soninke people in the country. Pulaar is spoken by the Toucouleur and Fula people in Mauritania. Bambana is spoken mainly in Mali, but there are a few speakers in Mauritania.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018