Bamum language

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Bamum
Shüpamom
RegionCameroon, Nigeria
EthnicityBamum people
Native speakers
420,000 (2005)[1]
Latin script, Bamum syllabary (being revived)
Language codes
ISO 639-3bax
Glottologbamu1253[2]
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 is a native speaker of the language and uses it in his music.[3]

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
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

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

Consonants[edit]

The consonants are:

Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Velar Labialized
velar
Labial-
velar
Glottal
Plosive Plain Voiceless p t k k͡p ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ g͡b
Prenasalized Voiceless m͡p n͡t ŋk ŋʷkʷ ŋ͡m͜k͡p
Voiced m͡b n͡d ŋɡ ŋʷɡʷ ŋm͜͡g͡b
Fricative Plain Voiceless f s ʃ x
Voiced v z ʒ ɣ ɣʷ
Prenasalized Voiceless ɱ͡f n͡s n̠͡ʃ
Voiced ɱ͡v n͡s n̠͡ʒ
Nasal m n ŋ ŋʷ ŋm
Rhotic r ɹ̠
Approximant l w

Tones[edit]

Bamum has five tones[4]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bamum at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bamun". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Cathy Kell (14 September 2005). "Cameroon: Claude Ndam : Committed To Culture". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.unicode.org/L2/L2007/07023-bamum-report.pdf