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Mende is a major language of Sierra Leone, with some speakers in neighboring Liberia. It is spoken by the Mende people and by other ethnic groups as a regional lingua franca in southern Sierra Leone. Mende is a tonal language belonging to the Mande branch of the Niger Congo language family. Early systematic descriptions of Mende were by F. W. Migeod and Kenneth Crosby. In 1921, Kisimi Kamara invented a syllabify for Mende he called Kikakui. The script achieved widespread use for a time, but has largely been replaced with an alphabet based on the Latin script, and the Mende script is considered a "failed script". The Bible was translated into Mende and published in 1959, in Latin script. It was used extensively in the movies Amistad and Blood Diamond.

Also Called:

Boumpe, Hulo, Kossa, Kosso