Gun language

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(Redirected from ISO 639:guw)
Native toBenin, Nigeria
EthnicityGun people
Native speakers
1.2 million (2018–2020)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3guw
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Video in Gun language introducing Gungbe Wikipedia

Gun (Gun: gungbe) is a language in the Gbe languages group. It is spoken by the Ogu people in Benin, as well as in south-western Nigeria.[2] Gun is part of the Fon cluster of languages inside the Eastern Gbe languages; it is close to Fon, especially its Agbome and Kpase varieties, as well as to the Maxi and Weme (Ouémé) languages. It is used in some schools in the Ouémé Department of Benin.[3]

Gun is the second most spoken language in Benin. It is mainly spoken in the south of the country, in Porto-Novo, Sèmè-Kpodji, Bonou, Adjarra, Avrankou, Dangbo, Akpro-Missérété, Cotonou, and other cities where Ogu people live. It is also spoken by a minority of Ogu people in southwest Nigeria near the border with Benin, particularly Badagry, Maun, Tube.


The language has been written with three orthographies, all of them based on the Latin alphabet. In Nigeria, it has been written with an orthography similar to that of Yoruba and some other languages of Nigeria, and using the dot below diacritic to indicate sounds.[clarification needed] In Benin, another orthography was developed for publishing a Bible translation in 1923, and it was updated in 1975, and is now used for teaching literacy in some schools in Benin; it is similar to the orthography of Fon, using letters such as ⟨ɛ⟩ and ⟨ɔ⟩.[4] There are proposals to unify the orthographies, for example the one made by Hounkpati Capo in 1990.[5]


  1. ^ Gun at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) closed access
  2. ^ "Gun". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  3. ^ Kluge, Angela (2007). "The Gbe Language Continuum of West Africa: A Synchronic Typological Approach to Prioritizing In-depth Sociolinguistic Research on Literature Extensibility" (PDF). Language Documentation & Conservation: 182–215.
  4. ^ Iyetunde Ofulue, Christine (2015). Orie, Ọlanikẹ Ọla (ed.). Bilingualism and Language Maintenance in Small Language Communities: The Case of Gungbe. Current Research in African Linguistics : Papers in Honor of Ọladele Awobuluyi. Ilọri, Johnson F., Yuka, Lendzemo Constantine. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-4438-8142-5. OCLC 954254260.
  5. ^ Capo, Hounkpati B. C. (1990). "Towards a Viable Orthography for Egungbe". African Languages and Cultures. 3 (2): 109–125. doi:10.1080/09544169008717715. ISSN 0954-416X. JSTOR 1771717.


  • Saulnier, Pierre (1968). Manuel progressif de conversation en langue goun. Porto-Novo : Centre Catéchétique.
  • Aboh, Enoch (1996). "A propos de la syntaxe du Gungbe". Rivista di Grammatica Generativa.