Massa language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native toChad, Cameroon
Native speakers
(340,000 cited 1982–2019)[1]
  • Yagwa
  • Bongor
  • Wina
  • Walia
  • Domo
  • Gizay
  • Gumay
  • Ham
  • Budugum
Language codes
ISO 639-3mcn
Glottologmasa1322  Masana
gize1234  Gizey
hama1241  Ham

Massa (or Masana, Masa) is a Chadic language spoken in southern Chad and northern Cameroon by the Masa people. It has approximately 200,000 speakers.

Dialects are Bongor, Bugudum (Budugum), Domo, Gizay, Gumay, Ham, Walia, Wina (Viri), Yagwa.

Kim, a neighbouring language, was once misclassified as Masa.


Masa is spoken in the southern part of Mayo-Danay department in the Far North Region, in the arrondissements of Yagoua, Kalfou, Wina, Yele, and Guéré.[2]

Central Masa is spoken along the Logone River, with four varieties. The varieties, as listed from north to south, are: Yagwa (spoken around Yagoua), Domo (in Domo village), Walya, and Buguëum.[2]

Western Masa includes Gizay, spoken around Guéré, and Viri (Wina), former ethnic Tupuri who had shifted to the Masa language.[2]

The Muzuk dialect, which has long been considered a Munjuk dialect (ALCAM 1983), is in fact a Masa dialect since it is clearly mutually intelligible with the other Masa varieties (Ousmanou 2007). The speakers of Muzuk are bilingual, and speaking the Muzuk dialect of Masa, as well as Munjuk. It is spoken in the drier areas of the West (Guidigis, Mayo-Kani, Far North Region).[2]

Masa is spoken in Cameroon and Chad, with 103,000 speakers in Cameroon.[2]



Labial Alveolar Lateral Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k ʔ
voiced b d ɡ
implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricative voiceless f s ɬ h
voiced v z ɮ ɦ
Nasal m n ŋ
Trill r
Approximant w l j


Front Central Back
Close i iː u uː
Mid e eː o oː
Open a aː



  1. ^ Massa at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b c d e Binam Bikoi, Charles, ed. (2012). Atlas linguistique du Cameroun (ALCAM) [Linguistic Atlas of Cameroon]. Atlas linguistique de l'Afrique centrale (ALAC) (in French). Vol. 1: Inventaire des langues. Yaoundé: CERDOTOLA. ISBN 9789956796069.
  3. ^ De Dominicis, Amedeo (2001). The Masa tonal system. University of Tuscia, Viterbo (Italy).