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PanAfriL10n - PanAfrLoc - Bamileke

Bamileke - Bamiléké

Fe'fe', Ghomálá', Kwa', Medumba, Mengaka, Nda'nda', Ngiemboon, Ngomba, Ngombale, Ngwe, Yemba (Dschang)

1.  Classification / Classification

The language/dialect cluster known as Bamileke belongs to the group that has been termed "Eastern Grassfields Bantu" or, more currently, "Mbam-Nkam," which is a branch of Benue-Congo. (Webbook?)

Bamileke is a term somewhat arbitrarily referring to some of the grassfields languages spoken in the French side of Cameroon, excluding related languages on the English side (e.g. the Ngemba dialects) (Larry Hyman, personal communication, 1986). (Webbook)

Ethnologue? lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Wide Grassfields, Narrow Grassfields, Mbam-Nkam, Bamileke


2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Cameroon. (See also nos. 1 and 4)


3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Fe'fe': 123,700 (1982 SIL)
  • Ghomálá': 260,000 (1982 SIL)
  • Kwa': 1,000 (2000 SIL)
  • Medumba: 210,000 (1991 UBS)
  • Mengaka: 20,000 (1993 SIL)
  • Nda'nda': 10,000 (1990 SIL)
  • Ngiemboon: 100,000 (1987 SIL)
  • Ngomba: 63,000 (1999 SIL)
  • Ngombale: 45,000 (1993 SIL)
  • Ngwe: 73,200 (2001 SIL)
  • Yemba (Dschang): 300,000

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

LACITO has been researching the Bamileke languages/dialect situation for several years. Larry Hyman groups "what passes as 'Bamileke'" into four groups: Fe'fe', Ghomala, Medyumba, and Dschang. (Webbook)

According to information compiled from Ethnologue there are 11 major tongues and various subdialects under the Bamileke classification:

  • Fe'fe'
    • Central Fe'fe'
      • Fa' (Bafang)
      • Nka' (Banka)
      • Nee (Bana)
      • Njee-Poantu (Bandja-Babountou)
    • North Fe'fe'
      • Ntii (Fondanti)
      • Mkwet (Fondjomekwet)
      • La'fi (Balafi)
      • Tungi' (Fotouni)
      • Ngam (Bangan)
      • Ca'
  • Ghomálá'
    • Ghomálá' Central (Bandjoun, Jo, We, Hom, Yogam, Baham)
      • 4 subdialects
    • Ghomálá' North (Fusap, Lang)
      • 2 subdialects
    • Ghomálá' South (Te, Pa, Dengkwop)
      • Bameka
      • Bansoa
      • Balessing
    • Ngemba (Bamenjou, Fu'da, Sa, Monjo, Meka, Mugum)
      • 5 subdialects
  • Kwa'
    • Kwa' (Bekwa', Bakoua, Babwa, Mipa)
    • Mbyam
  • Medumba
    • Batongtou
  • Mengaka (Lexical similarity 91% among villages, but speakers report no dialect differences)
    • Bagam
    • Bamendjing (Bamendjin)
  • Nda'nda'
    • Undimeha (East Nda'nda')
      • Batoufam
    • Ungameha (West Nda'nda'-South Nda'nda')
  • Ngiemboon (Bamileke-Ngyemboon) (Distinct from Ngemba)
    • Batcham
    • Balatchi
    • Bamoungong
  • Ngomba
    • Bamendjinda
    • Bamenkumbo
    • Bamesso
    • Babete (Bamete)
    • Bamendjo
  • Ngombale
    • Babadjou (Basso, Nchobela)
    • Bamessingue (Bassing)
  • Ngwe (Part of a language cluster which includes Yemba and Ngiemboon)
  • Yemba (Dschang)
    • Yemba
    • Foreke Dschang (Dschang, Tchang)

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Bamileke is a local language. Radio transmissions in Bamileke are heard on Radio Douala in Cameroon. (Webbook)

Notes from Ethnologue (accessed 2007):

  • Literacy rate of Fe'fe', Ghomálá', and Ngiemboon speakers:
    • L1: ?
    • L2: 25% to 50%
  • Literacy rate of Medumba, Nda'nda', and Ngombale speakers:
    • L1: ?
    • L2: 15% to 25%
  • (Ghomálá') Taught informally to adults since the early 1900s. Adopted by UNESCO in the 1960s and 1970s as one of 9 languages of wider communication for Cameroon. Taught formally in 6 Roman Catholic schools since 1995.
  • (Mengaka) Interest in language development for schools and individual literacy. Bagam script.
  • (Ngiemboon) Vigorous. All domains. Oral use in traditional religion, oral and written in church, oral use in commerce. Positive language attitude.
  • (Ngomba, Ngombale) Interest expressed in language development

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

Orthographies are Latin-based and use extended characters.

No information on standardisation (although these probably use the Cameroon alphabet).

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Alphabets as reported by Hartell (1993) and presented in Systèmes alphabétiques:

"Language Museum" sample (NB- This may not be standard or "official" orthography):

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Fonts with extended Latin ranges would be necessary.

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

Not aware of any.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

Bamileke languages / langues bamilékés

  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2: bai
  • ISO 639-3: -

Fe'fe'

  • ISO 639-3: fmp

Ghomálá'

  • ISO 639-3: bbj

Kwa'

  • ISO 639-3: bko

Medumba

  • ISO 639-3: byv

Mengaka

  • ISO 639-3: xmg

Nda'nda'

  • ISO 639-3: nnz

Ngiemboon

  • ISO 639-3: nnh

Ngomba

  • ISO 639-3: jgo

Ngombale

  • ISO 639-3: nla

Ngwe

  • ISO 639-3: nwe

Yemba (Dschang)

  • ISO 639-3: ybb

7.6  Locales / Paramètres régionaux

7.7  Other / Autre


8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

Comité national du Ghomala

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

Latin & diacritic character picker http://people.w3.org/rishida/scripts/pickers/latin/


9.  Comments / Remarques

The evident complexity of the dialect situation of Bamileke poses difficult choices for localisation. To what extent is Ghomálá' accepted as a language of wider communication among speakers of other varieties of Bamileke (per note in no. 5, above)?


10.  References / Références

Chanard, Christian (2006), Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines, LLACAN, CNRS, http://sumale.vjf.cnrs.fr/phono/

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/hiermenu.html (page on "Bamileke," http://africa.isp.msu.edu/afrlang/Bamileke-root.html )

Hartell, Rhonda L., ed. (1993), The Alphabets of Africa. Dakar: UNESCO and SIL. (The French edition, published the same year, is entitled Alphabets de Langues Africaines).

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Fe'fe'," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/fmp

______, "Ghomálá'," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/bbj

______, "Kwa'," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/bko

______, "Medumba," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/byv

______, "Mengaka," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/xmg

______, "Nda'nda'," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/nnz

______, "Ngiemboon," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/nnh

______, "Ngomba," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/jgo

______, "Ngombale," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/nla

______, "Ngwe," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/nwe

______, "Yemba," http://www.ethnologue.com/language/ybb

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables," http://www-01.sil.org/iso639-3/codes.asp

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language," http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/php/English_list.php

Wikipedia, "Bamileke languages," https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamileke_languages

______, "Langues bamiléké," https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langues_bamiléké

______, "Línguas bamileke," https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Línguas_bamileke


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