A Niger-Congo language and a member of the West Atlantic branch, spoken by c. 15 million people in north-west Africa, mainly in Nigeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, Chad, and other West African states. It is used as a lingua franca through the region and also in the Central African Republic. The language is also known as Ful, Fula, Fulani, Fulbe or Peul. The people are generally referred to by the term applied to their language.
Fulfulde is divisible into dialects on various bases. The major dialects accord with the main concentrations of speakers - the Fuota Diallon dialect of Guinea, the Sene-Gambian dialects known as Peul, the Fulfulde of Massina in Mali, and the eastern dialects known as Fulani, spoken in Northern Nigeria. The dialects are mutually intelligible. Fulfulde is spelt in the Roman alphabet, following an orthography based on the 1966 Bamako Conference on Orthographic Standardization.
It is an intonational rather than a tonal language. There are certain general intonation contours and tunes appropriate to various types of sentences and they vary to some extent from one dialect to another.
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