Bulu language

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Bulu (Nkobô Bulu)
EthnicityBulu people
Native speakers
860,000 (2007)[1]
  • Bulu
  • Bene
Language codes
ISO 639-3bum

Bulu is a Bantu language of the Bulu people of Cameroon. The language had 174,000 native speakers in 1982, with some 800,000 second language speakers in 1991. Its dialects include Bene, Yelinda, Yembana, Yengono, and Zaman. Bulu was formerly used by colonial and missionary groups as a lingua franca in the region for commercial, educational, and religious purposes, though it is today becoming less frequent in those spheres.

Bulu speakers are concentrated primarily in Cameroon's South Province, with the largest number at Ebolowa and Sangmélima. Some speakers live in the Nyong-et-Mfoumou division of the Centre and the Haut-Nyong division of the East.

Bulu belongs to the group of Beti languages and is intelligible with Eton, Ewondo, and Fang.



Bilabial Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
plain lab.
Plosive voiceless p t c k ʔ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
prenasal mb nd ŋɡ
Fricative voiceless f s h
voiced v z
prenasal ɱv
Affricate voiceless kp kpʷ
voiced ɡb ɡbʷ
prenasal-vl. ŋkp ŋkpʷ
prenasal-vd. ŋɡb ŋɡbʷ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Lateral l
Approximant j w


Front Central Back
Close i ĩ u ũ
Close-mid e ẽ o
Mid ə
Open-mid ɛ ɔ ɔ̃
Open a ã



  1. ^ Bulu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bulu (Cameroon)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ "Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines d'après Alphabets des langues africaines Unesco-SIL 1993". Alphabets des langues africaines. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  5. ^ Abomo-Maurin, Marie-Rose (2006). Parlons boulou: Langue bantou du Cameroun. L'Harmattan.