Vai language

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Vai
Native to Liberia, Sierra Leone
Region sub-Saharan Africa
Native speakers
unknown (120,000 cited 1991–2006)[1]
Niger–Congo
  • Mande
    • Western Mande
      • Central
        • Manding–Jogo
          • Manding–Vai
            • Vai–Kono
              • Vai
Vai syllabary
Language codes
ISO 639-2 vai
ISO 639-3 vai
Glottolog vaii1241[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

The Vai language, alternately called Vy or Gallinas, is a Mande language, spoken by roughly 104,000 in Liberia and by smaller populations, some 15,500, in Sierra Leone.[3]

Writing systemVai is noteworthy for being one of the few African languages to have a writing system that is not based on the Latin or Arabic script. This Vai script is a syllabary language dating back more than 5,000 years (see taneter.org. Inscriptions in Vai are evident in Mali from 3,000 BC). The Vai script was used to print the New Testament in the Vai language, dedicated in 200[edit]

Vai is a tonal language and has 12 vowels and 31 consonants, which are tabulated below.

Vowels[edit]

  Oral vowels Nasal vowels
Front Back Front Back
Close i u ĩ ũ
Close-mid e o ɛ̃ ɔ̃
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a ã

Consonants[edit]

Labial Alveolar Post-al.
/palatal
Velar Labial
-velar
Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop/
Affricate
p
 
b
 
t
 
d
 

 

ᶮdʒ
k
 
g
ᵑɡ
k͡p
 
ɡ͡b
ᵑ͡ᵐɡ͡b
Implosive ɓ
ᵐɓ
ɗ
ⁿɗ
Fricatives f v s z (ʃ) h
Approximant
(Lateral)
j w
l
Trill (r)

[r] and [ʃ] occur only in recent Loanwords.[clarification needed from which language?]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Vai". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Ethnologue report for Vai

External links[edit]