Mbe language

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Mbe
Pronunciation [m̀bè]
Native to Nigeria
Region Cross River State
Ethnicity Mbube people
Native speakers
65,000 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mfo
Glottolog mbee1249[2]

Mbe is a language spoken by the Mbube people of the Ogoja, Cross River State, region of Nigeria, numbering about 14,300 people in 1973.[3] As the closest relative of the Ekoid family of the Southern Bantoid languages,[4] Mbe is fairly close to the Bantu languages. It is tonal and has a typical Niger–Congo noun-class system.

Phonology[edit]

Vowels are i e ɛ a ɔ o u. Tones are high, low, rising, falling, and a downstep; rising and falling may be tone sequences.

Mbe has a rather elaborate consonant inventory compared to the Ekoid languages, presumably due to contact from neighboring Upper Cross River languages.

All Mbe consonants apart from the labial–velars (kp ɡb w) and n have labialized counterparts. (/jʷ/ is presumably [ɥ].) In addition, the non-labialized peripheral stops (m p b k ɡ; palatalized ŋ would be ɲ) and the liquids (l r) have palatalized counterparts.

m mʷ mʲ n ɲ ɲʷ ŋ ŋʷ
p pʷ pʲ t tʷ k kʷ̜ kʷ̹ kʲ kp
b bʷ bʲ d dʷ ɡ ɡʷ ɡʲ ɡb
ts tsʷ tʃ tʃʷ
dz dzʷ dʒ dʒʷ
f fʷ s sʷ ʃ ʃʷ
r rʷ lʲ
l lʷ lʲ j jʷ w

There are a few consonants that only occur in ideophones, such as /fʲ hʲ/.

An interesting additional contrast is between fortis and lenis /kʷ/. Fortis (long?) /kʷ̹/ half-rounds a following vowel such as /e/, whereas lenis /kʷ̜/ does not. This distinction may be being lost. (Blench)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mbe at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mbe". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com/
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Ekoid–Mbe". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External links[edit]