Kru languages

Last updated
Kru
Geographic
distribution
Ivory Coast, Liberia, Burkina Faso
Linguistic classification Niger–Congo
Subdivisions
ISO 639-2 / 5 kro
Glottolog krua1234  (Kru) [1]
siam1242  (Siamou) [2]
Kru languages.png
Kru languages, labeled as above

The Kru languages belong to the Niger–Congo language family and are spoken by the Kru people from the southeast of Liberia to the east of Ivory Coast. The term "Kru" is of unknown origin. According to Westermann (1952) it was used by Europeans to denote a number of tribes speaking related dialects. Marchese (1989) notes the fact that many of these peoples were recruited as "crew" by European seafarers; "the homonymy with crew is obvious, and is at least one source of the confusion among Europeans that there was a Kru/crew tribe". [3]

Contents

Andrew Dalby noted the historical importance of the Kru languages for their position at the crossroads of African-European interaction. He wrote that "Kru and associated languages were among the first to be encountered by European voyagers on what was then known as the Pepper Coast, a centre of the production and export of Guinea and melegueta pepper; a once staple African seaborne trade". [4] The Kru languages are known for some of the most complex tone systems in Africa, rivaled perhaps only by the Omotic languages.

Current status

Recent documentation has noted "Kru societies can now be found along the coast of Monrovia, Liberia to Bandama River in Côte d'Ivoire". [5] "Villages maintain their ties based on presumed common descent, reinforced by ceremonial exchanges and gifts". [5] The Kru people and their languages, although now many speak English (in Liberia) or French (in Côte d'Ivoire) as a second language, are said to be "dominant in the southwest region where the forest zone reaches the coastal lagoons". [5] The Kru people rely on the forest for farming, supplemented by hunting for their livelihood. In 2010, Kru and associated languages were spoken by 95 percent of the approximately 3.5 million people in Liberia.

Subgroups and associated languages

The Kru languages include many subgroups such as Kuwaa, Grebo, Bassa, Belle, Belleh, Kwaa and many others. According to Breitbonde, categorization of communities based on cultural distinctiveness, historical or ethnic identity, and socio-political autonomy "may have brought about the large number of distinct Kru dialects; "Although the natives were in many respects similar in type and tribe, every village was an independent state; there was also very little intercommunication". [6] Breitbonde notes the Kru people were categorized based on their cultural distinctiveness, separate historical or ethnic identities, and social and political autonomy. This is the possible reason for so many subgroups of the Kru language. As noted by Fisiak, there is very little documentation on the Kru and associated languages. [7]

Marchese's (1989) classification of Kru languages is as follows. [8] Many of these languages are dialect clusters and are sometimes considered more than a single language.

Kru  

Sɛmɛ (Siamou)

Aizi

Kuwaa

Kru  proper 
 Eastern  Kru
 Bakwe 

Bakwe

Wane

  Bété  

Kuya

Godié

Dida

Kodia (Kwadia)

 Western  Kru
 Bassa 

Bassa

Dewoin

Gbii

  Grebo  

Grebo (Jabo)

Krumen

Glio-Oubi

 Klao 

Klao

Tajuasohn

  Wee  
 Guere 

Daho-Doo

Glaro-Twabo

Sapo

Krahn

Nyabwa

Konobo

Wobe

Ethnologue adds Neyo, which may be closest to Dida or Godie.

Comparative vocabulary

Sample basic vocabulary of 12 Kru language from Marchese (1983): [9]

Languageeyeearnosetoothtonguemouthbloodbonetreewatereatname
Tepo jíênω̂âmɪ̂jã́ɲɛ́mɛ̂wũ̂tdâblώklátûgbɛ̀nîjẽ́
Jrweɟrónω̃̂ã̂mɪ̃̂ã̂ɲɛ̃́mɛ̃̂wṹklώω̂klátúwɛ̀nĩ́ẽ́dîdɛ̂ɲɔ̃́
Guereɟrííēdōṹmlâɲnɪ̃̂ɛ̄̃mē̃õ̀ŋɔ̄̃ɲmɔ̄̃kpâdîɛ̄ɲnɪ̃̂
Wobé ɟríɛ́dōṹmlã̂ɲnə̃̂mɛ̄̃õ̀ŋʷɔ̄̃nmɔ̄kpânĩ́ɲnẽ̂
Niaboua ɟîrîlòkûmánáɲéɲéméɛ̃̀ŋʷɔ̄̃ɲēmōkpáɲéɲé
Bété (Daloa) ɟijûkûlîmlə̂gléímɪ́ɔ́ŋōdrúkwâɲûŋʉ̂nɪ̂
Bété (Guibéroua) jirijúkwɨ́límə́ɲə́gʌ̂lʌ̂mɪ̄ɔ̄nûə̂dûrûkwáɲúŋʉ́ɲɪ́
Néyo jɪ́ɲúkwlímléglèmɪ̄ɔ̄dòlūféēsūúɲújlɪ́
Godié jɨdíɲūkúlúmə́ɲə́gə̄lèmɪ̄ɔ̄nə̄drùféèɲúɗɨ̄ŋʉ́nʉ́
Koyojɪjēɲúkiwíglàmɪ̄ɔ̄nə́dòlúféjēsūúɲúlɨ̄ŋɨ́nɨ́
Dida ɲúkwlímnéglāmɪ̄ɔ̄nɪ̄dólūkwíjèɲúŋlɪ́
Aïzi zrelωkɔmωvɔɲɪmrɔmuɲrekrakenrɪli

Numerals

Comparison of numerals in individual languages: [10]

ClassificationLanguage12345678910
Kuwaa Kuwaa (Belleh) deesɔ̃rtãã̀ɲìjɛ̀hɛwàyɔ̀ɔwɔ̀rfɔlɛ̀ (5 + 1)kɔrlɔrɔ̃r (5 + 2)kwatãã̀ (5 + 3)kɔ̃yĩ̀yɛ̀hɛ (5 + 4)kowaa
Seme Seme (Siamou) (1)byẽ́ẽnĩ́ĩ̄tyáāryūrkwɛ̃̄lkpã̄âkĩ̄îkprɛ̄n̂kɛ̄l
Seme Seme (Siamou) (2)dyuɔ̃15nĩ15tyɛr15yur3kwɛ̃l3k͡pa4a34kyi4ĩ34k͡prɛ4ɛ̃34kal3fu1
Eastern, Bakwe Bakwé ɗôːsɔ̂ːtʌ̄ːmɾɔ̄ːɡ͡bə̀ə̄ŋǔːɗō (5 + 1)ŋǔːsɔ̄ (5 + 2)ŋǔːtʌ̄ (5 + 3)ŋǔːmɾɔ̄ (5 + 4)pʊ̀
Eastern, Bakwe Wané do³ / ɗo³sɔ²ta³ⁱhɪɛ̃⁴ŋʷũ⁴²ŋʷũ⁴² kloː²⁴(5 + 1)ŋʷũ⁴² sɔ² (5 + 2)ŋʷũ⁴² ta³ (5 + 3)ŋʷũ⁴² ⁱhɪɛ̃⁴ (5 + 4)ŋʷũ⁴² bu⁴ or bu⁴
Eastern, Bete Daloa Bété ɓlʊ̄sɔ̋mʊ̄wanaŋ́ɡ͡bɨ́ŋ́ɡ͡bʊplʊ (5 + 1)ŋ́ɡ͡bisɔ́ (5 + 2)ɡ͡bʊ̀wata (5 + 3)ŋ́ɡ͡bimʊwana (5 + 4)kʊ́ɡ͡ba
Eastern, Bete Guiberoua Bété ɓlʊ̄sɔ̋mʊ̄wanaŋ́ɡ͡bɨ́ŋ́ɡ͡bʊplʊ (5 + 1)ŋ́ɡ͡bisɔ́ (5 + 2)ɡ͡bʊ̀wata (5 + 3)ŋ́ɡ͡bimʊwana (5 + 4)kʊ́ɡ͡ba
Eastern, Bete Godié ɓlōōsɔ́ɔ́tāāŋ̀mɔ̀ɔ̀nāŋ̀ɡ͡bɨ́ŋ̀ɡ͡bóplóo (5 + 1)ŋ̀ɡ͡bɔ̀ɔ́sɔ́ (5 + 2)ŋ̀ɡ͡bàátā (5 + 3)ŋ̀vɔ̀ɔ̀nākʊ́ɡ͡bá
Eastern, Bete, Eastern Gagnoa Bété ɓɵ̯̀ɺōsɔ̋tɑ̄mɔ̀ɔ̀nɔ̄ŋ͡m̩̄.ɡ͡búɡ͡bé.pó̯ɺó (5 + 1)ɡ͡bɔ́ɔ́.sɔ̋ (5 + 2)ɡ͡bɔ̋ɔ́.tā (5 + 3)fɛ̀ɛ̀.nɔ̄kō.ɡ͡bɔ́
Eastern, Bete, Eastern Guébie Bété ɡ͡bɔlɔ².³so⁴ta³¹mɔna¹.³¹mŋɡ͡be²mŋɡ͡beɡ͡bɔlɔ².².³ (5 + 1)mŋɡ͡boso³.⁴ (5 + 2)mŋɡ͡bata³.³¹ (5 + 3)mŋɡ͡bɔfɛna³.¹.³¹ (5 + 4)kɔɡ͡ba².³
Eastern, Bete, Eastern Kouya ɓlòsɔ́mnʊ̀àɡ͡buɡ͡beliɓlò (5 + 1)ɡ͡besɔ́ (5 + 2)ɡ͡betā (5 + 3)ɡ͡bomnʊ̀à (5 + 4)kuɡ͡bua
Eastern, Dida Yocoboué Dida bólómwɔsɔ́mwɔtámwɔnáɛŋɡ͡bɪ́ɛŋɡ͡bʊ́frɔ (5 + 1)ɛmɓɔ́sɔ́ (5 + 2)ɛmɓáta (5 + 3)ɛmvwanákóɡ͡ba
Eastern, Dida Neyo ɓɔ̄lósɔ́tāāmɔ̀nāɡ͡bɪ́ɡ͡bɪ́flɔ́ (5 + 1)ɡ͡básɔ́ (5 + 2)ɡ͡bátā (5 + 3)fɛ̄nā (5 + 4)kʊ́ɡ͡bá
Eastern, Kwadia Kodia ɡ͡bɤlɤ³² / ɓɤlɤ³²sɔː²taː²mɔna⁴³ⁿɡ͡bɤ³ⁿɡ͡bɤwlɤ³³³ (5 + 1)ⁿɡ͡bɔː⁴³sɔ³ (5 + 2)ⁿɡ͡baː⁴³ta³ (5 + 3)ⁿɡ͡bɤmɔna³⁴³ (5 + 4)kʊɡ͡ba³³
Western, Bassa Bassa ɖò, dyúáɖòsɔ̃́hĩinyɛhm̀m̌mɛ̀nɛ̌ìn-ɖò (5 + 1)mɛ̀nɛ̌ìn-sɔ̃́ (5 + 2)mɛ̀nɛ̌ìn-tã (5 + 3)mɛ̀nɛ̌ìn-hĩinyɛ (5 + 4)ɓaɖa-bùè
Western, Bassa Dewoin (Dewoi ɡ͡bǒsɔ̃́tahĩinyɛhm̀m̌meɖe-ɡ͡bǒ (5 + 1)meɖe-sɔ̃́ (5 + 2)meɖe-ta (5 + 3)meɖe-hĩinyɛ (5 + 4)
Western, Bassa Gbasei (Gbii) (1)dɔ̀ː / ɗɔ̀káⁱsɔ̃́ɲ̀yɛ̃m̀ḿm̀mɽědɔ̀ (5 + 1)m̀mɽěsɔ̃́ (5 + 2)m̀mɽětã́ (5 + 3)m̀mɽěɲ̀yɛ̃ (5 + 4)báɽápʰùwe
Western, Bassa Gbii (Gbi-Dowlu) (2)dòò, dyúáɖòsɔ̃́hĩ̀nyɛhm̀m̀mɛ̀nɛ̀ɛ̄n-ɖò (5 + 1)mɛ̀nɛ̀ɛ̄n-sɔ̃́ (5 + 2)mɛ̀nɛ̀ɛ̄n-tə̃ (5 + 3)mɛ̀nɛ̀ɛ̄n-hĩ̀nyɛ (5 + 4)ɓaɖabùè
Western, Grebo, Glio-Oubi Glio-Oubi hwə̃tã́hə̃ɡ͡bə̀hṹdò (5 + 1)hũ̀sɔ́ (5 + 2)mɛra (5 + 3)mɛ́ɲɛ̀ (5 + 4)pue
Western, Grebo, Ivorian Pye (Piè) Krumen hʋɛ̃́hɛ̃̀hũ̌hũ̀jārō [hũ̀jāɾō] ('five plus one')hũ̀jāhʋɛ̃́ ('five plus two')hũ̀jātā ('five plus three')hũ̀jāhɛ̃̀ ('five plus four')
Western, Grebo, Ivorian Tepo Krumen (1)hɔ̃́hɛ̃̀hũ̌huõ̀nɔ̀ (5 + 1)nɪ́pātā (litː 'not/be/three')nɪ́pāhɔ̃́, yèhɛ̃̀yèhɛ̃̀ (2 x 4)sēlédò (litː 'remains /there/one')
Western, Grebo, Ivorian Tepo Krumen (2)ɔ̄ɛ́nhɛ̀nùmùmnɔ̄dô (5 + 1)ùmnɔ̄ɔ̄ɛ́n (5 + 2)blɛ̄nbìɛ̀nùmīyándō
Western, Grebo, Liberian Central Grebo (Barrobo) dòoɔ̌ntaanhɛ̃ɛnwùunwùnɔ̀dǒ (5 + 1)jetan (4 + 3) ?jiinhɛ̀n (4 + 4) ?sǒndò (litː 'remain one' before 10)
Western, Grebo, Liberian Northern Grebo dosɔ̃̌hɛ̃̀m̀mmmɔ̀do (5 + 1)nyiɛtã (4 + 3)nnyɛɛ (4 + 4)siědo (litː 'remain one' before 10)
Western, Klao Klao sɔ́ntannyìɛ̀mùnéɛ́do (5 + 1)mùnéɛ́sɔ́n (5 + 2)mùnéɛtan (5 + 3)sopádo (10 - 1)puè
Western, Klao Tajuasohn doesunn nn = ?tanhinhoomḿhon doe (5 + 1)ḿhon sunn (5 + 2)hinin (4 + 4)siɛrdoe (litː 'remains one')punn
Western, Wee, Guere-Krahn Western Krahn tòòsɔɔ̌nta̓a̓nnyìɛ̓m̀m̌mɛ̀o̓ (5 + 1)mɛ̀sɔɔ̌n (5 + 2)mɛta̓a̓ǹ (5 + 3)mɛ̀nyìɛ̓ (5 + 4)pùèè
Western, Wee, Guere-Krahn Sapo duě / tòòsɔntannyìɛm̀m̌mɛ̀lǒ (5 + 1)mɛ̀sɔn (5 + 2)mɛ̌tan (5 + 3)mɛ̌nyiɛ (5 + 4)pùè
Western, Wee, Nyabwa Nyabwa (Nyaboa) do4sɔ̃2tã3ɲiɛ33mu4u1mɛ4ɛ1lo4 (5 + 1)mɛ4ɛ1sɔ̃2 (5 + 2)mɛ4ɛ1tã3 (5 + 4)mɛ4ɛ1ɲiɛ33 (5 + 5)bue44
Western, Wee, Wobe Northern Wè (Wobe) too3 / due1sɔɔn2 / sɔn2taan3nyiɛ43mm41mɛ41o3 (5 + 1)mɛ41sɔn2 (5 + 2)mɛ41na3 (5 + 3)mɛ41nyiɛ3 (5 + 4)puue3

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Krumen people

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Dapo may be:

References

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  7. Fisiak, Jacek (1984). Historical Syntax. New York: Mouton.
  8. Marchese, Lynell. 1989. Kru. In Bendor-Samuel, John (ed.), The Niger-Congo Languages: A Classification and Description of Africa's Largest Language Family, 119-139. Lanham MD, New York & London: Lanham: University Press of America.
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  10. Chan, Eugene (2019). "The Niger-Congo Language Phylum". Numeral Systems of the World's Languages.