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English is the official language in The Gambia, especially in the government, education, the judiciary and of course in the tourist centers. More than half of the Gambians speak English in addition to their own tribal language. Also in the interior you can generally speak English well. Typically, the official name is not The Gambia, but The Gambia. The Gambia River is also always called River Gambia.
The main tribal language is Mandinka. This language is also widely used when people from different tribes speak to each other. Especially in the cities, Wolof also has this function. Furthermore, Fula, Serahuli and Jola are important tribal languages. French is also frequently used as a commercial and colloquial language. Especially in the tourist centers where many French-speaking Senegalese work.

Areas in West Africa where Mandinka is spokenAreas in West Africa where Mandinka is spokenPhoto: Coleman Donaldson CC 4.0 International no changes made


Derksen, G. / Gambia, Senegal

Hesseling, G. / Senegal/Gambia : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen

Waard, P. de / Reishandboek Gambia

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated June 2024
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