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African countries where they are present include Mauritania, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, the Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Niger, Chad, Togo, Gabon, South Sudan the Central African Republic, Liberia, and as far East as the Red Sea in Sudan and Egypt.
Such languages include Hausa, Bambara, Wolof, and Arabic.
Major concentrations of Fulani people exist in the Fouta Djallon highlands of central Guinea and south into the northernmost reaches of Sierra Leone; the Futa Tooro savannah grasslands of Senegal and southern Mauritania; the Macina inland Niger river delta system around Central Mali; and especially in the regions around Mopti and the Nioro Du Sahel in the Kayes region; the Borgu settlements of Benin, Togo and West-Central Nigeria; the northern parts of Burkina Faso in the Sahel region's provinces of Seno, Wadalan, and Soum; and the areas occupied by the Sokoto Caliphate, which includes what is now Southern Niger and Northern Nigeria (such as Tahoua, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zinder, Bauchi, Diffa, Yobe, Gombe, and further east, into the Benue River valley systems of North Eastern Nigeria and Northern Cameroon).
This is the area known as the Fombina, literally meaning "The South" in Adamawa Fulfulde, because it represented the most southern and eastern reaches of Fulɓe hegemonic dominance in West Africa.
In this area, Fulfulde is the local lingua franca, and language of cross cultural communication.
The Fulani are bound together by the Fula language/Fulfulde as well as by some basic cultural elements such as the pulaaku, a code of conduct common to all Fulani groups.
A significant proportion of their number, (an estimated 13 million), are nomadic, making them the largest pastoral nomadic group in the world.
Fula, from Manding languages, is also used in English, and sometimes spelled Fulah or Fullah.
Fula and Fulani are commonly used in English, including within Africa.
The French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, which is variously spelled: Peul, Peulh, and even Peuhl.
More recently the Fulfulde / Pulaar term Fulɓe, which is a plural noun (singular, Pullo) has been Anglicised as Fulbe, which some people use.
In Portuguese, the terms Fula or Futafula are used.
The terms Fallata Fallatah or Fellata are of Kanuri origins, and are often the ethnonyms by which Fulani people are identified by in Sudan.