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Temne is a language of the Mel branch of Niger Congo, spoken in Sierra Leone by about 2 million first speakers. One of the country's most widely spoken languages, it is spoken by 30% of the country's population.[citation needed] It also serves as a lingua franca for an additional 1,500,000 people living in areas near the Temne people. It is closely related to the neighboring Kissi language. It is related to the Baga languages spoken in Guinea and to Sherbro spoken in Sierra Leone. Temne speakers live mostly in the Northern Province and Western Area (Freetown and its environs) of Sierra Leone, Temne speakers can also be found in all 12 districts of Sierra Leone. Temne people can be found in a number of other West African countries as well, including Guinea and The Gambia.

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