Mende language

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Mende
Mɛnde yia Mɛnde yia
Native to Sierra Leone, Liberia
Region South central Sierra Leone
Native speakers
1.5 million  (2006)[1]
Niger–Congo
Latin; Kisimi Kamara's Mende syllabary
Language codes
ISO 639-2 men
ISO 639-3 men

Mende /ˈmɛndi/[2] (Mɛnde yia) is a major language of Sierra Leone, with some speakers in neighboring Liberia. It is spoken by the Mende people and by other ethnic groups as a regional lingua franca in southern Sierra Leone.

Mende is a tonal language belonging to the Mande branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Early systematic descriptions of Mende were by F. W. Migeod [3] and Kenneth Crosby.[4]

In 1921, Kisimi Kamara invented a syllabary for Mende he called Kikakui (Kikaku). The script achieved widespread use for a time, but has largely been replaced with an alphabet based on the Latin script, and the Mende script is considered a "failed script".[5] The Bible was translated into Mende and published in 1959, in Latin script.

It was used extensively in the movies Amistad and Blood Diamond.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mende at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ Migeod, F. W. 1908. The Mende language. London
  4. ^ Crosby, Kenneth. 1944. An Introduction to the Study of Mende. Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ Unseth, Peter. 2011. Invention of Scripts in West Africa for Ethnic Revitalization. In The Success-Failure Continuum in Language and Ethnic Identity Efforts, ed. by Joshua A. Fishman and Ofelia García, pp. 23-32. New York: Oxford University Press.

External links[edit]