The Baïnounk languages are a cluster of endangered languages spoken in the Casamance area of Senegal (West Africa). Today, three main varieties of Baïnounk are spoken in Senegal and the neighbouring country Guinea Bissau. The label Baïnounk reunites people speaking these languages, people who feel that part of their cultural identity is Baïnounk, and a group of people (speaking Kobiana/Kasanga) who have privileged relationships with Baïnounk-speaking groups. The languages are closely related, but they have many differences in basic vocabulary and grammatical structure, and speakers of the different languages cannot understand each other’s Baïnounk variety.
Speakers of Baïnounk Gujaher occupy a large territory to the east of Ziguinchor, stretching southwards into neighbouring Guinea Bissau. This area was deeply affected by the longstanding civil war, during which a number of villages were abandoned, and in consequence, many speakers of Gujaher live in Ziguinchor and Dakar today. Some aspects of Gujaher morphosyntax have been described by the linguist Jean Doneux, who wrote a comparative study of Gujaher and Kobiana. (DOBES)