Most of the languages spoken in Gambia belong to the Niger-Congo language family of the Atlantic or Congo branches. There are at least 10 languages spoken in Gambia by the various ethnic groups. Apart from English which is the official language spoken in schools and public offices there is also Wolof, Serer-Sine, Sarahole, Pulaar, Maninkakan, Mandjaque, Mandingo, Jola-Fonyi and the Aku’s Creole (pidgin English). They are further broken down into various dialects such as Fana Fana of Saloum for the Wollof speakers.
Before the arrival of the Europeans none of the ethnic languages were written as they were in purely oral form.
Most people are in fact multi-lingual in that the majority can speak their own tribal tongue, a second language as well as English. Wollof represents the lingua franca for the west coast Kombo area while Mandinka is dominant in the up-river divisions and particularly in the Kombos they are interspersed with English, Arabic or French words and phrases.A BIT OF JOLA A BIT OF WOLOF A BIT OF MANDINKA