Guere language

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Not to be confused with Neyo language.
Native to Ivory Coast
Region Dix-Huit Montagnes, Moyen-Cavally
Native speakers
320,000 (1998–1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
gxx – Central Gere (Southern Wee)
wec – Neyo (Western Wee)
Glottolog guer1240[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Guéré (Gere), also called (Wee), is a Kru language spoken by over 300,000 people in the Dix-Huit Montagnes and Moyen-Cavally regions of Ivory Coast.


The phonology of Guere (here the Zagna dialect of Central Guere / Southern Wè)[3] is briefly sketched out below.


The consonant phonemes are as follows:

  Bilabial Labiodental Labial-velar Alveolar Palatal Velar Labialized velar
Stops p b   k͡p ɡ͡b t d c ɟ k ɡ ɡʷ
Implosives   ɓ            
Nasals   m       n   ɲ    
Fricatives   f v   s z      
Lateral approximant         l      
Approximants           j     w

Allophones of some of these phonemes include:

  • [k͡m] is an allophone of /k͡p/ before nasal vowels
  • [ŋ͡m] is an allophone of /ɡ͡b/ before nasal vowels
  • [ŋʷ] is an allophone of /w/ before nasal vowels
  • [ɗ] is an allophone of /l/ in word-initial position
  • [r] is an allophone of /l/ after a coronal consonant (alveolar or palatal)

In addition, while the nasal consonants /m, n/ and contrast with /ɓ/ and /l/ before oral vowels, and are thus separate phonemes, before nasal vowels only the nasal consonants occur. /ɓ/ and /l/ do not occur before nasal vowels, suggesting that historically a phonemic merger between these sounds and the nasals /m, n/ may have occurred in this position.


Like many West African languages, Guere makes use of a contrast between vowels with advanced tongue root and those with retracted tongue root. In addition, nasal vowels contrast phonemically with oral vowels.

  Oral Nasal
Front Back Front Back
Close (ATR) i u ĩ ũ
Close (RTR) ɪ ʊ ɪ̃ ʊ̃
Mid (ATR) e o   õ
Mid (RTR) ɛ ɔ ɛ̃ ɔ̃
Open (RTR)   a   ã


Guere is a tonal language and contrasts ten tones:

Tone IPA Example Gloss
Low  ˩ ɡ͡ba˩ "to scatter"
Mid  ˧ ɡ͡ba˧ "to destroy"
High  ˦ mɛ˦ "to die"
Top  ˥ ji˥ "full"
Low–high rising  ˩˦ ɡ͡bla˩˦ "hat"
Low–top rising  ˩˥ k͡plɔ̃˩˥ "banana"
Mid–high rising  ˧˦ ɓlo˧˦ "wall"
High–top rising  ˦˥ de˦˥ "younger brother"
High–low falling  ˦˩ ɡ͡ba˩a˦˩ "goat"
Mid–low falling  ˧˩ sre˧˩ "penis"

See also[edit]

  • Wobe AKA Northern Wè


  1. ^ Central Gere (Southern Wee) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Neyo (Western Wee) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Guere". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Paradis, Carole (1983). Description phonologique du guéré. Abidjan: Institut de Linguistique Appliquée, Université d'Abidjan.