Boko language

Boko, or Boo, is a Mande language of Benin and Nigeria.

Native toBenin, Nigeria
EthnicityBissa people
Native speakers
150,000 (2012)[1]
  • Mande
    • Eastern
      • Bisa–Busa
        • Samo–Busa
          • Busa languages
            • Busa–Boko
              • Boko
Language codes
ISO 639-3bqc


Boko language can be better known as Boko, but it is also known as Boo or with the Hausa name Busanci (also spelled Busanchi, Bussanci Or Bussanchi).

One person or speaker is called a Bokoni and more persons/speakers are called Bokona and the language of the Bokona/Bussawa people is called Bokonya.

The Boko people are one of two subgroups of the Bissa people, the other being the Busa people, who speak the Busa language. They are not a clan but a subgroup. They are related to the Bariba people, who speak the Bariba language, which is a Gur language. The Bissa people proper speak the Bissa language, which is closely related to Boko.

Geographic distributionEdit


In Nigeria, Boko is spoken in Borgu LGA of Niger State, in Bagudo LGA of Kebbi State, and in Baruten LGA of Kwara state. A number of Boko have migrated to other parts of Nigeria, including Abuja. The Boko people are referred to as Bussawa in Hausa.


In Benin, Boko is spoken in Alibori and Borgou departments (Segbana and Kalalé Comunes).


Boko language is the most populous of the Mande languages of Benin. It is part of the Eastern Mande group, which also includes several other languages spoken across the Volta River and the Borgu Kingdom, including Busa, Bissa, Samo, and Bokobaru.

Boko speakers also speak Busa, Bariba, Dendi, Hausa, Yoruba, Fulfulde, French, and English.


Boko language has 25 letters (Aa, Bb, Dd, Ee, Ɛɛ, Ff, Gg, Gb gb, Ii, Kk, Kp kp, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Ɔɔ, Pp, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Yy, Zz).

Nasalised vowels are marked with a Tilde.

High tones are marked with an acute accent and low tones are marked with a grave accent.


  1. ^ Boko at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)