1.  Classification / Classification

The term "Kru/Bassa" refers to some of the languages in the Western Kru subbranch of the Kru branch of Niger-Congo. Although considered as a possible subgroup of Kwa by Greenberg (1963), more recently Bennett and Sterk (1977) accord the Kru branch a more distant relationship to Kru [Kwa??], but still within Niger-Congo. (Webbook?)

Ethnologue? classifies 3 languages as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kru, Western, Bassa. In addition it lists 20 other languages under Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kru, Western, .... It is not clear which among the latter should be considered here, so only the Bassa languages will be covered.

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

It is spoken in the southern part of Liberia and on into the eastern [western??] part of Côte d'Ivoire. (Webbook)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • Bassa
    • 403,000 in Liberia (2006)
    • 5,730 in Sierra Leone (2006)
    • Population total all countries: 408,730
  • Dewoin
    • 8,100 in Liberia (1991 Vanderaa)
  • Gbii
    • 5,600 in Liberia (1991 Vanderaa).

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

At least two dialect surveys have been taken of the Kru group, but because of the complicated nature of the dialect/language situation, more research is needed. (Webbook)

(See note in #1, above)

  • Bassa
    • Gbor
    • Gba Sor
    • Mabahn
    • Hwen Gba Kon
    • Central Bassa
    • Rivercess Bassa
  • Dewoin (No significant dialect differences. Lexical similarity 72% with Bassa)
  • Gbii (Lexical similarity 78% with Bassa)
    • Gbi-Dowlu
    • Gbee

5.  Usage / Utilisation

All the languages in the Kru group are used primarily as local languages. (Webbook)

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

The orthographic status of the Kru/Bassa languages is unknown to us as of this writing. (Webbook)

It is apparently an Latin-based alphabet including extended characters and diacritics to mark tone.

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Alphabet of Bassa as reported by Hartell (1993):

Sample text of Bassa in the "Language Museum" at

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Unicode 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

No initiatives on this are known.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue


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


  • ISO 639-3: bsq


  • ISO 639-3: dee


  • ISO 639-3: ggb

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  9 Comments / Remarques

10.  10 References / Références

Chanard, Christian (2006), Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines, LLACAN, CNRS,

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Kru/Bassa," )

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, "Bassa,"

______, "Dewoin,"

______, "Gbii,"

______, "Language Family Trees: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Kru, Western,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

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,"

Wikipedia, "Bassa language,"

_____, "Kru languages,"

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Categories: Languages, Liberia, Western SL