Saturday, April 28, 2018

Information About The African Name "Diallo" (including traditional Fula pronunciation and the pronunciation of "Diallo" as a first name among African Americans)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about the African name "Diallo".

The content of this post is presented for linguistic, cultural, and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these embedded YouTube videos.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Amadou Diallo. Information about Amadou Diallo can be found after the YouTube video given as Example #2 below.

From Is “Diallo” the “Smith” of West Africa?; Eric Koch, Posted on July 29, 2011
It seems as if every Guinean in the news has the same last name.
..."The name ["Diallo"] is everywhere in Guinea – applying to roughly 10 percent of the population, experts say – and fairly common across the rest of West Africa, too. For comparison, there were just 2.4 million Smiths in the United States as of 2000, accounting for just 0.9 percent of the population. (Johnsons came in second place, with 1.9 million, or about 0.6 percent.)

What makes Diallo so common? A significant portion of the Guinean population is Fulbe, or Fulani, and almost all Fulbe have one of four family names: Diallo, also spelled Jalloh; Barry; Balde, also spelled Bah; and Sow. (Diallo is not any more popular than the other three names.) About two-fifths of all Guineans are Fulbe, and they live in smaller concentrations in other countries throughout West Africa, with significant clusters in Senegal and Mali, where many more Diallos are found."...
jdvorkin46 | July 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
"Eric – Diallo is a very widespread name throughout West Africa. When I was in Guinea and Niger last year, I must have met dozens of Diallos in both countries. Moreover, there are Guinéens and Nigériens who also have Diallo as a first name. It is a reference to their shared Fulani heritage which long predates the arrival of the Europeans and their arbitrary creation of borders which did not reflect the real cultural realities of where people lived."

Ninu | August 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
"Fulani is a language and a people spread from the Atlantic all the way to Sudan. They are distinguished by being muslim and traditionally from the Sahel and having cattle herding as the center of their society and mores."...
This comment included the link for a no longer active website about Fulanis.

Notice the comment given above from jdvorkin46: ..."there are Guinéens and Nigériens who also have Diallo as a first name."

More information about "Diallo" as a first name is given in the Statistic section that follows.

Excerpt #1:
"Diallo Surname Meaning & Statistics
160th most common surname in the world
Approximately 2,965,826 people bear this surname
Most prevalent in: Guinea
Highest density in: Guinea"

Excerpt #2:
Statistics and meaning of name Diallo
"Usage: 7% firstname, 93% surname.
Diallo first name was found 806 times in 33 different countries.
Surname Diallo is used at least 9341 times in at least 45 countries.
Gender of firstname Diallo is 28% feminine and 72% masculine."
As per a chart on that page, example of "Diallo" used as a first name are most often found in the United States, but the following article may be an example of a Guinean man with the first name "Diallo":
"Statement by Mr. Diallo Telli (Guinea), Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid, at the Plenary Meeting of the [United Nations] General Assembly on a resolution concerning the trial of Mr. Nelson Mandela and others
11 October 1963"...
It's also possible that this man's first name was given last because of the different ways that people in other cultures write their full names.
Here's another [?] example of an African man with the first name "Diallo":
"Diallo Guidileye (born 30 December 1989) is a Mauritanian footballer who currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Gençlerbirliği.


International career
Though Guidileye was born in Mauritania, he has dual citizenship and thus can represent France on the national level. He has played for the France U-19 squad and recently was called up to participate in a training camp for future France under-21 players. On 25 May 2009, he was selected to the under-20 squad to participate in the 2009 Mediterranean Games.

In 2012, the French coach of Mauritania, Patrice Neveu, said he had reached an agreement with Guidileye to represent the senior national team from his country of origin in the future.[8]"...
"Footballer" here means a soccer player.

Excerpt #3:
"Diallo is unusual as a baby name for boys. Its usage peaked modestly in 1972 with 0.004% of baby boys being named Diallo. Its ranking then was #918. The baby name has since experienced a fall in popularity, and is today of irregular use. Among all boy names in its group, Diallo was nevertheless the most popular in 2016."
This statistical information is for the use of the name "Diallo" as a first name in the United States only.

Excerpt #1:
"Diallo (pronounced jallo) is the French transcription of a surname of Fula origin (English transcriptions are Jalloh and Jallow; the Portuguese and Creole transcription is Djaló)"...
This page includes a list of famous people with the surname (last name) "Diallo".

Excerpt #2:
People with first names such as Georgette, Odette, George, Pierre and Elizabeth are usually Catholic. "Di" is pronounced "j" in these typical last names: Badiane, Dia, Diagne, Diallo, Diaw, Dieng, Diop, Diouf. "Th" is pronounced "ch" in the following names: Bathily, Thiam, Thioune,
Mathiam. In last names beginning with N, the "N" is pronounced "en" - NDao, NDaw, NDiaye.”
UPDATE: April 229, 2018
This information about how certain West African surnames are pronounced doesn't appear to be correct for some other West African nations. For example, this video blogger pronounces her last name "Diop" "Dee op" and writes it that way in her African Name Tag vlog:

Excerpt #3:
CHEICK DIALLO [pronunciation]

6 News Lawrence, Published on Aug 2, 2017
"Cheick Diallo (born September 13, 1996) is a Malian professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA)."

"Malian" = Mali, West Africa.

Excerpt #4:
Cheick Diallo NBA draft journey - Canal NBA 28 octobre 2016
Triple Threat Agency, Published on Nov 2, 2016
The name Cheick Diallo is also pronounced at .30 of this video.

The pronunciation of the name "Diallo" in these two videos seems to more closely conform with an American pronunciation rather than the "j" ("Jalloh") pronunciation that is given above. I wonder if Cheick Diallo is pronouncing his name closely to the American pronunciation on purpose or is this the way that name is pronounced in Mali?

If you know how the name "Diallo" is traditionally pronounced in various African nations, please share that information in the comment section below. Thanks!

Adhering to customary ways that words are pronounced in the United States, particularly among many African Americans, the personal name "Diallo" appears to be pronounced "dee-ah-low"/"dee-AH-loh". Traditionally, the name "Diallo" is traditionally pronounced "JAH-low"/"JAH-loh".

Here are two examples of that pronunciation:
Example #1:

Atlanta" - Black History with Diallo & Bashir (ft. Finesse Mitchell) | Night Class | History
HISTORY, Published on Dec 5, 2016
Diallo and Bashir discuss the cultural significance of Atlanta in the black community with "Saturday Night Live" alum Finesse Mitchell. #NightClass
1:16 "Diallo" is pronounced “dee-AH-low”

Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin are African American television writers. The TBS series The Last O.G.* is an example of their writing credits.

*"O.G." in the title of that television series means 'Original Gangster". In Hip Hop culture calling someone an "O. G." is usually considered to be complimentary. Click for information about this American television series.

Example #2:
Diallo Tyler
Position: Teacher


Teaching since: 2001


Fun fact: Diallo, an African name, means bold. For as long as I can remember, people have mispronounced my name and called me Diablo, which means devil in Spanish.
Notice that the mispronunciation of "Diallo" with the Spanish word "diablo" (dee-AH-bloh").

Listen to the pronunciations of Diallo which are given in the videos that are embedded in this post.

A number of websites, including the one given above for "Diallo Tyler", indicate that the name "Diallo" means "bold".

A large number of websites that cite the meaning of the name "Diallo" refer to Rachel Dolezal, an American woman who has two biological White parents but considers herself to be Black. Rachel Dolezal legally changed her name to "Nkechi Amare Diallo" in 2016, but that information apparently wasn't widely known until March 2017.

From Rachel Dolezal changes her name to West African moniker
By Chris Perez March 1, 2017
"Rachel Dolezal — the white NAACP leader who pretended to be black for years — has reportedly changed her name to a West African moniker meaning “gift of God.”

The 39-year-old will now be called Nkechi Amare Diallo, according to the Daily Mail.

Legal documents obtained by the British outlet show that she legally changed her name in a Washington state court back in October.

Nkechi, which is short for Nkechinyere, originates from the Igbo language of Nigeria and translates to “what God has given” or “gift of God,” the Mail reports.

Diallo, or “bold,” is ultimately of Fula origin. The Muslim ethnic group is said to have roots in the Middle East and West Africa.

Dolezal — the former president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter and a one-time professor of Africana studies at Eastern Washington University — reportedly has fallen on hard times since being exposed by her parents as white in June 2015."...
UPDATE: April 29, 2018
Instead of just accepting what I read online, I wonder if the traditional meaning for "Diallo" really is "bold". If so, how and why that was "Diallo" given that meaning? Did an early Fula ancestor do something daring in some battle and thus that meaning came to be attached to that name?

What is the earliest documentation for this meaning? Knowing that might help to determine how real that meaning is.

Also, it occurs to me that if the Fula name "Diallo" really means "bold" (as various websites indicate), that might not be a positive characteristic.

If you know more about this subject, please share it in the comment section below. Thanks!

Example #1: Sweet Sweet Fanta Diallo-ALPHA BLONDY

jubaleeproductions, Published on Oct 20, 2012

Click for a 2013 pancocojams post about Alpha Blondy's song "Sweet Fanta Diallo" That post includes the lyrics to this song.

Alpha Blondy is a Reggae singer who was born in The Ivory Coast, West Africa.

Example #2: Wyclef Jean - Diallo

ObachLife, Published on Nov 25, 2009

Westcoast, Rap, Hip Hop, New York, NYC, Brooklyn, Ecleftic,
This song is about Amadou Diallo. One example of the pronunciation of the name "Diallo" in this Reggae song is at 5:56-5:57.
Here's information about Amadou Diallo from
"The shooting of Amadou Diallo occurred on February 4, 1999, when Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was shot and killed by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers—Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss—after they mistook him for a rape suspect from one year earlier. The officers fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside his apartment at 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The four were part of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit. All four officers were charged with second-degree murder and acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.[1]

Diallo was unarmed, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, and contagious shooting were central to the ensuing controversy.

Early life and career
One of four children of Saikou and Kadijatou Diallo, Amadou's family is part of an old Fulbe trading family in Guinea. He was born in Sinoe County, Liberia, on September 2, 1975[2] while his father was working there, and grew up following his family to Togo, Bangkok and Singapore, attending schools in Thailand, and later in Guinea. In September 1996, he came to New York City where other family members had immigrated. He and a cousin started a business. He had reportedly come to New York City to study but had not enrolled in any school. According to his family's lawyer, Kyle B. Watters, he sought to remain in the United States by filing an application for political asylum under false pretenses, saying that he was from Mauritania and that his parents had been killed in fighting to buttress his claim that he had credible fear of going back to his country.[3] He worked as a street peddler, selling videotapes, gloves and socks from the sidewalk along 14th Street during the day. [4]"...
"Fulbe" is another referent for the "Fula" ("Fulani", "Peul") ethnic group.

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  1. In my Google search for examples of "Diallo" as a first name in the United States, I happened upon the example of "Diallo Mitchell, Jr.

    Here's one of several links for Diallo Mitchell, Jr. which provides an account or update about this once very promising high school football player who was shot and paralyzed in a shooting in 2013 in city near Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania: West Mifflin star is his brother's hero
    Kevin Gorman, Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
    Here's Diallo Mitchell, Jr's twitter page which includes this very inspiring message about overcoming tragedies:

    "Regardless of how it goes down...Live goes on! Aint no slowing down the world keeps going. Take your heartbreaks, bumps, bruises, ups and downs everything that life puts you in front of...Life is too short to be stuck on those things I've learned this now. Can't waste time being bitter about a detour in the word. When the gps says "recalculating"! Find a new route and keep going!"

    1. The 2013 article about Diallo Mitchell, Jr. whose link I provided above serves as an example of the custom that some African Americans follow of giving siblings first names that begin with the same letter, and sometimes also the same beginning sound ("Diallo" and "DiAngelo".)

      In searching for more information about Diallo Mitchell Jr, from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, I came across the obituary for his and his brother DiAngelo's father Diallo Mitchell. That death notice provides an even sharper example of the custom of giving siblings names that begin with the same letter:

      DIALLO L.C.
      On August 26, 2006, Diallo, age 34, of Duquese; father of Diallo Jr., DiAngelo, D'Aja, Richard and Deontae; son of Jacqueline (Coleman) and Marvin Mitchell; brother of Flecia and Louis; also survived by other relatives and friends.”...
      Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Aug. 31, 2006

    2. In my search for examples of people with "Diallo" as a first name I also came across a Diallo Mitchell from Detroit, Michigan who is a model and a part of the duo that posted popular Keke & Tabitha videos on Vine & Instagram. VFILE
      The Model | Diallo Mitchell

      ** AUGUST 1, 2014 by BUTCH BANKS
      Versatility & Style: KC Clark & Diallo Mitchell Interview

  2. Here's an excerpt from another online article about Fula last names and some other ethnic last names in Mali, West Africa : What’s in a name?
    ..."Mali is a culturally diverse country comprised of many ethnic groups. The Bambara form the majority group and their language is the dominant language in Mali. The Malinke (Maninka) and Khassonke occupy the West. The Fulani/Peul/Fula people are nomadic herders. There are Senoufo and Manianka in the South and Songrai, Dogon and Tamashek in the North. With all this diversity, one can only imagine the cultural richness and different pasts that have been merged into one to give you beautiful Mali. Your ethnicity determines your name. Diallo, Bah, Barry, Diakite, Sidibe and Sangare are all Fulani names while Dembele, Sissoko, Diarra, and Traore are shared among the Malinke and Bambara. Coulibaly is also another common last name. My last name, Samake, is a common Bambara name. Certain family names are also best known for certain things. For example, the Koites are griots, record keepers of Mali’s rich history. Dansockos and Bagayoko are best known as blacksmiths."...