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What Language is Spoken in Burkina Faso?

What Language is Spoken in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, a country renowned for its rich cultural tapestry, is equally vibrant in its linguistic landscape. Navigating through the multitude of languages spoken here offers a glimpse into the nation’s diverse cultures and complex history.

Key Takeaway Table

Quick FactsDetails
Official LanguageFrench
Number of Languages70+
Most Spoken LanguagesMoore, Dyula, Fulfulde, and Bissa
Capital CityOuagadougou
PopulationApproximately 21 million
RegionWest Africa

A Panorama of Burkina Faso’s Languages

Burkina Faso is a linguistic mosaic, where over 70 languages are spoken across its vibrant communities. Let’s delve deeper into the primary languages that echo through the streets, markets, and homes of this West African nation.

French: The Official Language

French, inherited from the colonial era, serves as the official language of Burkina Faso. Used in government, legal matters, and formal education, French acts as a unifying thread amidst the country’s linguistic diversity. Here’s a glance at its significance and usage:

French Usage ContextDetails
GovernmentOfficial documents, legislation, and communication are in French.
EducationFrench is the medium of instruction in schools.
MediaNewspapers and broadcasting often utilize French.
BusinessFormal business communications and international dealings.

Indigenous Languages: A Wealth of Cultural Expression

1. Moore

  • Ethnic Group: Mossi
  • Speakers: Approx. 7.6 million
  • Usage: Everyday communication, local trade, and cultural rituals.

2. Dyula

  • Ethnic Group: Dyula people
  • Speakers: Approx. 1 million
  • Usage: Primarily for trade and commerce within the Dyula community and beyond.

3. Fulfulde

  • Ethnic Group: Fula
  • Speakers: Approx. 1 million
  • Usage: Predominantly used in pastoral communities.

4. Bissa

  • Ethnic Group: Bissa
  • Speakers: Approx. 600,000
  • Usage: Primarily within the Bissa community for daily interactions and cultural practices.

These languages are more than mere communication tools – they are crucial in preserving histories, traditions, and the cultural identities of each ethnic group.

The Role of Multilingualism

Burkinabè navigate through a multi-lingual environment, often speaking several languages to foster both local and inter-community communication. This ability to communicate across different languages enhances social and economic interactions, forming a uniquely inclusive social fabric.

  • Local Trade: Traders typically converse in multiple languages to cater to a diverse clientele.
  • Social Integration: Speaking several languages helps integrate various ethnic communities.
  • Cultural Exchange: Multilingualism facilitates the sharing and preservation of diverse cultural stories and traditions.

Linguistic Challenges and Efforts to Preserve Local Languages

Despite its linguistic wealth, Burkina Faso grapples with the challenges of maintaining and promoting its numerous local languages.


  1. Education: Limited educational resources in local languages hinder literacy efforts.
  2. Preservation: Some languages are at risk of extinction due to globalization and urbanization.
  3. Documentation: Several languages lack proper documentation and standardized writing systems.

Preservation Efforts

  1. Literacy Programs: Initiatives to increase literacy in local languages.
  2. Cultural Festivals: Hosting events that celebrate and promote indigenous languages and cultures.
  3. Language Research: Encouraging linguistic research and documentation of local languages.


Burkina Faso, with its rich linguistic and cultural tableau, offers a fascinating glimpse into the ways communities preserve their heritage while navigating a multilingual landscape. As we appreciate the vibrancy of its linguistic diversity, the efforts towards preserving and cherishing this wealth are paramount for maintaining the cultural integrity of the nation.