Bamum language

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Bamum
Shüpamom
ꛀꛣꚧꚳ
RegionCameroon, Nigeria
EthnicityBamum people
Native speakers
420,000 (2005)[1]
Latin script, Bamum syllabary (being revived)
Language codes
ISO 639-3bax
Glottologbamu1253
Shumom-text.jpg
Page from a manuscript in the Bamum script

Bamum (Shü Pamom [ʃŷpǎˑmə̀m] "language of the Bamum", or Shümom "Mum language"), also spelled Bamun or in its French spelling Bamoun, is an Eastern Grassfields language of Cameroon, with approximately 420,000 speakers.[1] The language is well known for its original script developed by King Njoya and his palace circle around 1895. Cameroonian musician Claude Ndam was a native speaker of the language and sang it in his music.[2]

Phonology[edit]

Bamum has tone, vowel length, diphthongs and coda consonants.

Vowels[edit]

The simple vowels are:

Front Central Back
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Unrounded Rounded
Close i y ɨ ɯ u
Mid e ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

Bamum vowels can be normal or half-long /ˑ/.

Consonants[edit]

The consonants are:

Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar/
Palatal
Velar Labialized
velar
Labial-
velar
Glottal
Plosive Plain Voiceless p t k k͡p ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ g͡b
Prenasalized Voiceless ᵐp ⁿt ᵑk ᵑkʷ ᵑ͡ᵐk͡p
Voiced ᵐb ⁿd ᵑɡ ᵑɡʷ ᵑ͡ᵐg͡b
Fricative Plain Voiceless f s ʃ x
Voiced v z ʒ ɣ
Prenasalized Voiceless ᶬf ⁿs ᶮʃ
Voiced ᶬv ⁿz ᶮʒ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ ŋʷ ŋ͡m
Rhotic r
Approximant l j w

Tones[edit]

Bamum has five tones[3][4]

Tone IPA
à low
á high
ā mid
ǎ rising
â falling

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bamum at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Cathy Kell (14 September 2005). "Cameroon: Claude Ndam : Committed To Culture". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  3. ^ https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2007/07023-bamum-report.pdf
  4. ^ Nchare (2012).