belongs to the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo family.
by 540 thousand people in Senegal, 400 thousand people in Gambia, and 137
thousand people in Guinea-Bissau.
and Arabic alphabet-based orthographies are widely used for Mandinka; the
former is official, but the latter is more widely used and older. In
addition, the pan-Mandé writing system N'ko, invented in 1949, is sometimes
script uses no extra letters (apart from, rarely, an extra vowel mark for
e), but some of the letters are pronounced differently from in Arabic.