Duala language

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Native toCameroon
EthnicityDouala, Mungo
Native speakers
(90,000 cited 1982)[1]
2 million L1 and L2 speakers in Douala (2013)
  • Duala proper
  • Bodiman
  • Oli (Ewodi, Wuri)
  • Pongo
  • Mongo (Muungo)
Language codes
ISO 639-2dua
ISO 639-3dua
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".[4] The song Alane by artist Wes Madiko is sung in Duala and reached #1 position in over 9 European countries.


  1. E. Dinkelacker, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Hamburg, 1914.
  2. Paul Helmlinger, Dictionnaire duala-français, suivi d'un lexique français-duala. Editions Klincksieck, Paris, 1972.
  3. Johannes Ittmann, edited by E. Kähler-Meyer, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Dictionnaire de la langue duala, Dictionary of the Duala Language, Dietrich Reimer, Berlin, 1976. The preface evaluates ref. 1 above as terse, but good, while ref. 2 has missing and erroneous tone marks.


  1. ^ Douala at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Duala". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ "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]