Introduction

Fulah, the language of the Fulani, Fulah or Fulɓe people which is called by its speakers according to the geographic area Pular, Pulaar or Fulfulde is a macro-language or dialect continuum stretching from Senegal in the West to the Sudan in the East of the African continent. Fulah belongs to the Niger-Congo language family, the continent’s largest language family. This online dictionary is based on the Pular dialectal variant spoken mainly in the mountainous Fouta Djallon region in the Republic of Guinea, even though in many cases the equivalents in other larger dialects are indicated under the headword. Outside of Fouta Djallon, the speakers are to be found everywhere in Guinea and in neighboring countries, including Senegal, the Gambia, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and to a lesser extent Liberia. Due to the large-scale emigration in this language community, there are also speakers outside of Africa, mainly in Europe and in the US but also in Asia and even in Australia. The total number of speakers of Pular is estimated at 2,915,784, a figure from the year 1991 which is today largely outdated, taking the high population growth into consideration. In Guinea, Pular has the status of “national language” that it shares with Susu, Malinke, Toma, Guerzé and Kissi, French having the status of “official language”, as in most former French colonies. Along with Susu and Malinke, Pular is one of the main linguae francae ​​of Guinea. Pular has a written tradition dating from the 18th century and based on the Arabic script. However, the official writing system is now based on the Latin alphabet. Its use is not yet widespread, as Pular is not being taught in the schools. The written tradition has certainly been highly upset with the advent of colonization and the introduction of the French language, however it never stopped completely. Therefore, the author hopes that this work will contribute to strengthen and encourage the Fulah of Guinea and elsewhere to write their language. The dictionary is intended for literacy agents, researchers, translators, journalists in the national languages etc. With approximately 9,500 entries, it draws upon a corpus of oral and written texts from various sources. The work which has started since the 90s is far from complete, so it will be regularly updated.