Balanta language

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Balanta
Native to (Balanta-Kentohe) Guinea-Bissau, (Balanta-Ganja) the Gambia, Senegal
Ethnicity Balanta people
Native speakers
500,000  (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
ble – Balanta-Kentohe
bjt – Balanta-Ganja
Glottolog bala1300[2]

Balanta is a Bak language of west Africa spoken by the Balanta people.

Description[edit]

Balanta has case prefixes and suffixes alternatively interpreted as a definite article dependent on the noun class.[citation needed] Balanta is divided into two languages Balanta-Kentohe language and Balanta-Ganja, which are separate languages and are distinct from one another.[3][4]

Balanta-Kentohe[edit]

Balanta-Kentohe language is spoken by a total of 423,000 people on the north central and central coast of Guinea-Bissau (where as of 2006 it is spoken by 397,000 people, many of which can be found in the Oio Region[5]) as well as in the Gambia. Films and portions of the Bible have been produced in Balanta-Kentohe.

Alternative names for and Dialects of Balanta-Kentohe[edit]

Ethnologue lists alternative names as Alante, Balanda, Balant, Balanta, Balante, Ballante, Belante, Brassa, Bulanda, Frase, Fora, Kantohe (Kentohe, Queuthoe), Naga, and Mane. The Naga, Mane, and Kantohe dialects may be separate languages.

Balanta-Ganja[edit]

Balanta-Ganja is spoken by 86,000 people (as of 2006) in the southwest corner of and the south of Senegal. Literacy is less than 1% for Balanta-Ganja.[3][4] In September 2000, Balanta-Ganja was granted the status of a national language in Senegal, and as of then can now be taught in elementary school.

Ethnologue lists alternative names as Alante, Balanda, Balant, Balante, Ballante, Belante, Brassa, Bulanda, Fjaa, Fraase; dialects are Fganja (Ganja) and Fjaalib (Blip).

Writing[edit]

In Senegal, Decree No. 2005-979 regulates the orthography of Balanta as follows:[6][7]

Letters of the alphabet (Senegal)
A B Ɓ D E F G H I J L M N Ñ Ŋ O R S T Ŧ U W Y
a b ɓ d e f g h i j l m n ñ ŋ o r s t ŧ u w y

References[edit]

  1. ^ Balanta-Kentohe at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Balanta-Ganja at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Balanta". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ a b "Ethnologue Entry for Balanta-Kentohe". Ethnologue. 
  4. ^ a b "Ethnologue Entry for Balanta-Ganja". Ethnologue. 
  5. ^ "Balanta-Kentohe at the Rosetta Project". The Rosetta Project. 
  6. ^ "O sistema verbal do Balanta : Um estudo dos morfemas de tempo". Universidade de São Paulo. 
  7. ^ Gouvernement du Sénégal, Décret n° 2005-979.
  • Westermann, D. & Bryan, M.A., The Languages of West Africa Published for the International African Institute by Dawsons of Pall Mall, Folkestone & London 1970.
  • Migeod, F.W.H., The Languages of West Africa Volume II London 1913.

External links[edit]