A family of languages in West Africa, spread from Guinea to Nigeria. The main national languages in the Mande family are the Manding (Mandingo) languages Bambara and Dyula and Malinke in Mali; and Soninke in Mali, Vai in Liberia, Susu in Guinea, Kpelle in Liberia and Guinea, and Mende in Sierra Leone.

The Vai language developed a native script in the nineteenth century, one of the few for sub-Sahel African languages.

Westermann had called the family Mandingo in 1927. Mande was used by Joseph Greenberg as the name of one of the six branches of the Niger-Congo superbranch of the Niger-Kordofanian phylum. But the (over-precise) Ethnologue database, which distinguishes 58 Mande languages, elevates it to a primary subdivision of the phylum, alongside Kordofanian. This reflects more recent study suggesting it broke off early from the main Niger-Congo line, as did Kordofanian. Evidence is the fact that the Mande branch has completely lost noun class marking.

Typology: SOV, prepositions or postpositions, GN, NA.

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