Duala language

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Native toCameroon
EthnicityDouala, Mungo
Native speakers
(87,700 cited 1982)[1]
Most speakers live in Douala, the biggest city of Cameroon, which has since grown more than four times as big.
  • Duala proper
  • Bodiman
  • Oli (Ewodi, Wuri)
  • Pongo
  • Mongo (Muungo)
Language codes
ISO 639-2dua
ISO 639-3dua
Glottologdual1243  Duala
olib1234  Oli-Bidiman
Native toCameroon
Regionaround Douala
Native speakers
Douala-based pidgin
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

Duala (also spelt Douala, Diwala, Dwela, Dualla and Dwala) is a dialect cluster spoken by the Duala and Mungo peoples of Cameroon. Douala belongs to the Bantu language family, in a subgroup called Sawabantu. Maho (2009) treats Douala as a cluster of five languages: Douala proper, Bodiman, Oli (Ewodi, Wuri), Pongo and Mongo. He also notes a Douala-based pidgin named Jo.

Popular culture[edit]

The song "Soul Makossa", as well as pop songs that repeated its lyrics, internationally popularised the Duala word for "(I) dance", "makossa".[3] The song Alane by artist Wes Madiko is sung in Duala and reached #1 position in at least 10 European countries.


  1. E. Dinkelacker, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Hamburg, 1914. [Duala - German dictionary]
  2. Paul Helmlinger, Dictionnaire duala-français, suivi d'un lexique français-duala. Editions Klincksieck, Paris, 1972. [Duala - French dictionary]
  3. Johannes Ittmann, edited by Emmi Kähler-Meyer, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Dictionnaire de la langue duala, Dictionary of the Duala Language, Dietrich Reimer, Berlin, 1976. [Duala - German - French - English dictionary. The preface evaluates ref. 1 above as terse, but good, while ref. 2 has missing and erroneous tone marks.]
  4. Johannes Ittmann, Grammatik des Duala (Kamerun), Verlag Dietrich Reimer, Berlin, 1939. [A grammar of Duala.]


  1. ^ Douala at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ "TRANS Nr. 13: George Echu (Yaounde): Multilingualism as a Resource: the Lexical Appropriation of Cameroon Indigenous Languages by English and French". Inst.at. Retrieved 2017-07-06.

External links[edit]