Tonjon language

Last updated
Native to Ivory Coast
Ethnicity Djimini people
Extinct (date missing)
  • Mande
    • Western Mande
      • Central
        • Manding–Jogo
          • Jogo–Jeri
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tjn
Glottolog tonj1246 [1]

Tonjon is an extinct Mande language once spoken by blacksmiths among the Djimini Senoufo of Ivory Coast. It was closely related to Ligbi, another blacksmith language.

The Mande languages are spoken in several countries in Africa by the Mandé people and include Maninka, Mandinka, Soninke, Bambara, Dioula, Bozo, Mende, Susu, and Vai. There are millions of speakers, chiefly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast. The Mande languages have traditionally been considered a divergent branch of the Niger–Congo family, however that categorisation has been controversial.

Blacksmiths emerged in West Africa around 1500 BCE. They are feared in some societies for their skill in metalworking, considered a form of magic. They are also much admired and hold high social status. Because the trade is so specialised and dangerous, blacksmiths are often requisitioned by towns and villages where there are none (Ross). Other ironworking societies such as the Mandé peoples of Mali and the Bamana exist in West Africa.

The Djimini people of Côte d’Ivoire belong to the larger Senoufo group. They have a population of about 100,000 and live in the north-eastern area of Côte d’Ivoire, in Burkina Faso and Mali.

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  1. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tonjon". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.