A sociolinguistic profile of The Gambia


  • Kasper Juffermans Tilburg University
  • Caroline McGlynn University of East London




The Gambia, Mandinka, Wolof, Indigenous Languages, English


This paper offers a comprehensive description of the ethnic, linguistic, and sociolinguistic situation in the smallest country of mainland Africa, The Gambia. This description follows several periods of fieldwork in the country conducted by the two authors in the process of their doctoral research. Very little has been published about the languages and sociolinguistic situation in The Gambia. Therefore, where documentary evidence is not available, or considered out of date, recourse to Gambians with knowledge in the particular areas under discussion has been made. Following a portrayal of the indigenous and exogenous languages of The Gambia, with attention to overlapping and shifting ethnolinguistic identities, the role of language in several social institutions in a changing society is identified and discussed. The paper culminates in a discussion of the language situation and recognition for more research in this sociolinguistically unexposed country.



How to Cite

Juffermans, K., & McGlynn, C. (2010). A sociolinguistic profile of The Gambia. Sociolinguistic Studies, 3(3), 329–355. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v3i3.329