Ubangian languages

Last updated
Ubangian
Geographic
distribution
Central African Republic, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan
Linguistic classification Niger–Congo?
Subdivisions
Glottolog uban1244  (Ubangian + Zande)

The Ubangian languages form a diverse linkage of some seventy languages centered on the Central African Republic. They are the predominant languages of the CAR, spoken by 2–3 million people, and include the national language, Sango. They are also spoken in Cameroon, Chad, the DR Congo, and South Sudan.

Contents

Ubangian languages are generally included in the Niger–Congo family, though this has not been demonstrated. The Ubangian languages are considered to be an independent family by Dimmendaal (2011). [1]

External classification

Joseph Greenberg (1963) classified the then-little-known Ubangian languages as Niger–Congo and placed them within the Adamawa languages as "Eastern Adamawa". They were soon removed to a separate branch of Niger–Congo, for example within Blench's Savanna languages. [2] However, this has become increasingly uncertain, and Dimmendaal (2008) states that, based on the lack of convincing evidence for a Niger–Congo classification ever being produced, Ubangian "probably constitutes an independent language family that cannot or can no longer be shown to be related to Niger–Congo (or any other family)." [3] Blench (2012) includes Ubangian within Niger–Congo. [4] Güldemann (2018) notes that although evidence for the inclusion of Ubangi within Niger-Congo is still weak, the same also applies to many other branches which are uncontested members of Niger-Congo. [5]

Internal classification

Boyd and Moñino (2010) removed the Gbaya and Zande languages. [6] The half dozen remaining branches are coherent, but their interrelationships are not straightforward. Williamson & Blench (2000) propose the following arrangement:

Ubangian 

Banda

Ngbandi (Sango, with 2 million speakers total, is Ngbandi-based)

 Sere–Mba 

Sere

 Ngbaka–Mba 

Ngbaka (note the principal Gbaya language is also called Ngbaka)

Mba

In addition there is the Ngombe language, whose placement is uncertain due to a paucity of data.

Note: The ambiguous name Ngbaka is used for various languages in the area. Generally, singular Ngbaka language refers to one of the main Gbaya languages, whereas plural Ngbaka languages refers to a branch of Ubangian.

Güldemann (2018)

Güldemann (2018) recognises seven coherent "genealogical units" within Ubangian, but is agnostic about their positions within Niger–Congo. [5]

Comparative vocabulary

Sample basic vocabulary of Ubangian languages from Moñino (1988): [7]

ClassificationLanguageeyeearnosetoothtonguemouthbloodbonewatertreeeatname
Gbaya Proto-Gbaya *gbà.l̥í/l̥í*zɛ̀rà*zɔ̰̀p*ɲín*léɓé ~ lémbè*nú*tɔ̀k*gbà̰là̰*l̥ì*tè*ɲɔŋ/l̥i*l̥ín ~ l̥íŋ
Gbaya Gbaya Bodoe gbà.yík/yíkzèrzɔ̀kɲínléɓétɔ̀kgbàɲàɲɔŋ/yiɲín
Gbaya Gbaya Biyanda gbà.lí/lízàlàzɔ̀yínìlémbètɔ̀kgbàlàyɔŋlíŋ
Gbaya Gbeya gbà.rí/rízɛ̀ràzɔ̰̀p ~ zɔ̰̀fɔ̰̀ɲínlép ~ léfétɔ̰̀kgbà̰rà̰ɲɔŋ/riɲín
Gbaya Manza l̥īzàràzɔ̰̀gòkòlɛ̀fɛ̀tɔ̀gbà̰l̥à̰l̥ìɲɔŋɔl̥ī
Gbaya Mbodomo zàràzɔ̀pɲínílémbéngíàgbàlàɲɔŋlíŋ
Gbaya Bangando gbà.lí/líjàlàjɔ̀ɲíìɗàmbèmbɛ́gbààɲɔŋgi/li
Gbaya Bofi gbà.lī/līzàràzɔ̰̀ ?lēmbétɔ̀ʔɔ̀gbàlàɲɔŋlíŋ
Ngbandi Sango lɛ́mɛ́hɔ̰́pēmbēmēngāyángámɛ́nɛ̄ ~ ménēbìōngúkɛ̄kɛ̄ ~ kēkētɛ̀īrī
Ngbandi Yakoma lɛ̄mɛ̄hɔ̰̄tɛ̰̄(lì.)mɛ̄ngáɲɔ̄, yāngāmɛ́rɛ́bỳōngúkɛ̄kɛ̄tɛ̀ʔīrī
Ngbandi Kpatiri mɛ́hɔ̄tɛ́mīngā.ɲɔ̄ɲɔ̄mɛ́lɛ̄ngútɛ̀īrī
Baka Ngbaka Mabo zí.là/làzḛ̀-hṵ̄tḛ̄-mīnī-mò-nzḛ̄-kúà-ngónáāhō̰ʔēlē-
Baka Monzombo là-zḛ̀ɲō̰tḛ̄-mò-nzḛ̄bēyèngózō̰ʔē
Baka Gbanzili là/lí.làʔō̰, ŋwūtɛ́- ~ té-mīlī ~ mēlēmò-nzɛ̄kúà-ngózɔ̄yēlē
Baka Baka là-jɛ̀-ɓàngà-tɛ̄-mī(l)-mò-njɛ̄, māndābékèngōʔē-
Baka Mayogo jǐlà/bólà-jɛ́(w)ó-tɛ́-mí-búngɔ́tɛ́běkì-ngúndùlá-zō-lé
Baka Mundu jíà/rràgógó.jɛ̀tɛ́kɔ́.mòngɔ́tɛ́bíkìngúrrózózòírí
Mba Ndunga-levà-/bùlá-jɔ̀mbɔ́-mbētú-tɛ́-mí-mó-ɓíndá-ɓéɓéngó-gá--zɔ́-ɗe-
Mba Mba-nelá-/sí-jɔ̄mbɔ̄-hɔ̄mbɔ̀-tɛ́-mí-cé-, mbɔ̀cɔ̀-zí-ɓēɓēngó-gá-zɔ̄-ɗé-
Mba Dongo-kolɔ̀-/sīē-gyêŋù-tɛ̀-lyò-mò-nzì-ɓèɓèngó-pá-zó-lì-
Mba Ama-lo-fá-/-kúmbú--sí--wá̰--sɛ́--mɛ́--mú--kúkú-ngátī--ngù--ngbúgàsú--lí-
Sere Sere rɔ̄hɔ̀mɛ̀nzɛ̄zùmùkpɔ̀kpɔ́ngɔ̄zɔ̀
Sere Bare vʌ̄.lō/tì.lóŋòvʌ̄.tìnzōmvēlēkʊ.ɓílìngōngʊ́
Banda Lìndá àlà/ēcīə̄tūngāwɨ̄ə̄ʒītīmààmàə̄njīgbābīə́ngúāyɔ̄zɨ̄ʔɨ̄rɨ̄
Banda Yàngere làlà/cīcītūtūmàwōzīzītìmèmàmànjīnjīgbēbīngúngúndōjō (~ njōjō ?)ʔērē
Banda Ngàò àlà/cícīūtūmàwū, ūwūīʒītīmààmàīnjīgbāgbīúngúōyōʔīrī
Banda Vàrà àlà/cácūōtūngāwūēʒītīmààmàə̄njīgbābīə́ngúāyɔ̄zɨ̄ʔārā
Banda Wójò àlà/cɛ́cūūtūṵ̄w̰ṵ̄kājītāmbīàmà(ʒ)īʒīgbābīúngú(y)ōyōērē
Banda Dákpá àlà/cácūōtūə̄wūə̄ʒītīmààmàə̄ʒīgbābīə́ngúndɔ̄gɔ̄rɔ̄zɨ̄ʔīrē ~ ʔērē
Banda Làngbàsi làlà/cácùtūtūwūwūʒīʒītīmàmàmàʒīʒīgbābīngúngúyōyōʔēʁə̄
Banda Mbanza célà/cúcūtūtūw̰ṵ̄w̰ṵ̄zīzītīmbīmàmàgbābīə́ngúyɔ̄yɔ̄zɨ ~ ziʔēlē
Zande Zande bā̹ngìrī/kpā̹kpūtū̹ōrīndēmīrāngbākūrēmēmēī̹mè/díngūàrirī̹mā ~ rū̹mā
Zande Nzakara bāngìlīʔʊ̰̄līndīmīnlāngbākʊ̄lɛ̄mɛ̄mɛ̄ndīgìngʊ̄nlànlūmā
Zande Geme índīrī/kpūkpūhɔ̄līndīmāl.ngbāngbākūlēmɛ̄mɛ̄díīwīlìlilūmā

Numerals

Comparison of numerals in individual languages: [8]

ClassificationLanguage12345678910
Banda Mbanza (Mabandja) baleɓìsivɔtɑvɑnɑminduɡɑzɑlɑɡɑzɑlɑ mɑnɑ bɑle (6 + 1)nɡebeɗeɗenɡebeɗeɗe mɑnɑ bɑle (8 + 1)ɓufu
Banda, , Central Core, Banda-Bambari Banda-Linda (1)balebiʃivɘtavanamīndūmīndū ama nɘ bale (5 + 1)̄mīndū ama nɘ bīʃi (5 + 2)mīndū ama nɘ vɘta (5 + 3)mīndū ama nɘ vana (5 + 4)moɾofo
Banda, , Central Core, Banda-Bambari Banda-Linda (2)bɑ̀lēbīʃìvə̀tɑ̀və̀nɑ̄mīndûmīndû ɑ̀ bɑ̀le (5 + 1)̄mīndû ɑ̀ bīʃì (5 + 2)mīndû ɑ̀ və̀tɑ̀ (5 + 3)mīndû ɑ̀ və̀nɑ̄ (5 + 4)mórófō
Banda, South Central Ngbugu (1)bàlēbīʃùwú ~ bīʃǔvɔ̄tǎvɔànə̄mīndúwù ~ mīndûmīndû ma.̀nə̄ bàlē ~ mīndû kàlá bàlēmīndû ma.̀nə̄ bīʃǔ ~ mīndû kàlá bīʃǔmīndû ma.̀nə̄ vɔ̄tǎ ~ mīndû kàlá vɔ̄tǎmīndû ma.̀nə̄ vɔànə̄ ~mīndû kàlá vɔànə̄lə́.kɔ̄nɔ́.ɡbá
Banda, South Central Ngbugu (2)bàlèbìʃùúvòtàávwànɔ̄mìndúùmìndúù mànɜ̄ bàlè (5 + 1)̄mìndúù mànɜ̄ bìʃùú (5 + 2)mìndúù mànɜ̄ vòtàá (5 + 3)mìndúù mànɜ̄ vwànɔ̄ (5 + 4)lɜ̀konòɡ͡bè (lit: all the fingers)
Banda, South Central Langbasi (Langbashe) bɑ̀lēbīʃìvòtɑ̀vɔ̀ɑ̀nōmīndûmīndû mɑ̀nə̄ bɑ̀le (5 + 1)̄mīndû mɑ̀nə̄ bīʃì (5 + 2)mīndû mɑ̀nə̄ vòtɑ̀ (5 + 3)mīndû mɑ̀nə̄ vɔ̀ɑ̀nō (5 + 4)kpɔ́lɔ́ kɔ̄nɔ́ (litː ' two hands ')
Banda, West Central Banda-Tangbago bɑ̀ɭēbīʃìvōtɑ̀vɑ̀nɑ̄mīndûmīndû ɑ̀mɑ̀ nə̀ bɑ̀ɭē (5 + 1)mīndû ɑ̀mɑ̀ nə̀ bīʃì (5 + 2)mīndû ɑ̀mɑ̀ nə̀ vōtɑ̀ (5 + 3)mīndû ɑ̀mɑ̀ nə̀ vɑ̀nɑ̄ (5 + 4)móɾófò
Gbaya-Manza-Ngbaka, Central Bokoto n͡dáŋbùwátàɾnã́ɾmȭɾkȭmȭɾkȭ zã́ŋã́ n͡dáŋ (5 + 1)mȭɾkȭ zã́ŋã́ bùwá (5 + 2)mȭɾkȭ zã́ŋã́ tàɾ (5 + 3)mȭɾkȭ zã́ŋã́ nã́ɾ (5 + 4)ɓùkɔ̀
Gbaya-Manza-Ngbaka, Central Bossangoa Gbaya k͡pémɾíːtòtàːnàːmɔ̃̀ːɾɔ̃̀ɗòŋ k͡pém (5 + 1)ɗòŋ ɾíːtò (5 + 2)nũ̀nã́ː (2 x 4) ?kùsìɓú
Gbaya-Manza-Ngbaka, East Ngabaka kpóbɔ̀àtàlɛ̀nālɛ̄mɔ̀lɔ̄ɡàzɛ̀lɛ̀ɡàzɛ̀lɛ̀-nɡɔ́-nɛ-kpó (6 + 1), sambo *nɡbɛ̀ɗɛ̀ɗɛ̀kùsìɓū
Gbaya-Manza-Ngbaka, Northwest Northwest Gbaya kpɔ́kyíítòótààrnáármɔ̀ɔ̀rɔ́mɔ̀ɔ̀rɔ́-ɗòŋ-kpɔ́k (5 + 1)mɔ̀ɔ̀rɔ́-ɗòŋ-yíítòó (5 + 2)mɔ̀ɔ̀rɔ́-ɗòŋ-tààr (5 + 3)mɔ̀ɔ̀rɔ́-ɗòŋ-náár (5 + 4)ɓú
Ngbandi Northern Ngbandi kɔitasiɔkɔ̃manambara mbaramiambeɡumbayasui kɔi
Ngbandi Yakoma òkɔ̀, ̀kɔ̀ǒsɛ̀, ̌sɛ̀òtá, ̀táòsyɔ̄, ̀syɔ̄òkṵ̄, ̀kṵ̄òmɛ̀rɛ̄, ̀mɛ̀rɛ̄mbárámbárámyɔ̀mbèɡūmbáyābàlé.kɔ̀ {ten.one}
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Mba Dongo ɓawɨɡ͡bwɔ̀àràanàvʉwɛ̀kázyázyálánɡya-iɲo-ɡ͡bwɔ̀ (10 - 2) ?nɡya-iɲyo-ɓayi (10 - 1) ?ànɡ͡bà
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Mba Mba úmaɓinébyalaaⁿɡ͡boteɓúmaɓúma tele (5 + 1)ɓúma te sené (5 + 2)ɓúma te ɓyala (5 + 3)ɓúma te aⁿɡ͡bote (5 + 4)abusa
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Eastern, Mayogo-Bangba Mayogo ɓīnìɓīsīɓātāɓāɗābúlúvūèmāɗíàmānāníkàmādʒɛ́nàōdúkpábīnì (10 - 1)  ??ndʒɛ̄kpà
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Eastern, Mundu Mündü bìrì, bìrìnɡ͡bɵɓəsùbatabalaɓúruvemàɗìyàlɵ̀rɵziɡ͡badzenamenewánzòkpa
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Western, Baka-Gundi Baka kpódebídebatàbànaθuwèθuwè tɛ kpóde (5+ 1)θuwè tɛ bíde (5+ 2)θuwè tɛ batà (5+ 3)θuwè tɛ bàna (5+ 4)kamo / θuwè tɛ θuwè (5+ 5)
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Western, Baka-Gundi Limassa kpódebídebáídebànavuesítatámbalisénavue lɛ bàna (5+ 4)kpa bo pɛ (lit. all/both hands of person)
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Western, Bwaka Ngabaka Ma'bo k͡páàá ~ k͡páàkɔ́ɓīsìɓātàɡ͡bīānāʔèvè ~ vèsítà ~ sítāsílànāsɛ́nāvìíìnā (5+ 4)nzò k͡pā̰ (litː ' head / hand ')
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Western, Gbanzili Gbanzili k͡pókàɓīsìɓɔ̄tà ~ ɓōātàɓùānā ~ ɓɔ̄nāvūèsítàsélènā ~ sáɓásánāvūè-nà-ɓùānā (5+ 4) / liɓòà *nzò k͡pā ~ ɡ͡bà
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka-Mba, Ngbaka, Western, Monzombo Monzombo k͡póìbīʃìbālàbàānāvūèʃítàʃíēnāsɛ́nāʔi̋vúēnānʒò k͡pā̰ (litː 'head of hand or arm')
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Sere, Sere-Bviri, Bai-Viri Belanda Viri njẽesoótaúnãuvöö́vöö́-njoí-njẽe (5 + 1)vöö́-njoí-soó (5 + 2)vöö́-njoí-taú (5 + 3)vöö́-njoí-nãu (5 + 4)ɓï̃kürü
Sere-Ngbaka-Mba, Sere, Sere-Bviri, Ndogo-Sere Ndogo ɡbaànjésó, sósò (used as a adjective)táʔònàʔòvó-njeé-ɡbaànjé(5 + 1)vó-njeé-só (5 + 2)vó-njeé-táʔò (5 + 3)vó-njeé-nàʔò (5 + 4)muʔɓì (litː 'on hands ')
Zande, Zande-Nzakara Nzakara (1)kílīīyōātāālùìsìbēìsìbē-ālí-kílī (5 + 1)ìsìbē-ālí-īyō (5 + 2)ìsìbē-ālí-ātā (5 + 3)ìsìbē-ālí-ālù (5 + 4)ŋɡ͡bō
Zande, Zande-Nzakara Nzakara (2)kílīījōātāālùìsìbēìsìbē-ālí-kílī (5 + 1)ìsìbē-ālí-ījō (5 + 2)ìsìbē-ālí-ātā (5 + 3)ìsìbē-ālí-ālù (5 + 4)ŋɡ͡bɔ̃̄
Zande, Zande-Nzakara Zande úébíátábīànɡì ~ bīàmà (according to dialects)bīsùèbīsùè bàtì̧ sá (litː 'five save one')bīsùè bàtì̧ úé (litː 'five save two')bīsùè bàtì̧ bíátá (litː 'five save three')bīsùè bàtì̧ bīànɡì ('five save four')bàwē

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References

  1. Dimmendaal, Gerrit J. (2011). Historical Linguistics and the Comparative Study of African Languages. John Benjamins. ISBN   978-90-272-8722-9.
  2. Williamson, Kay & Blench, Roger (2000) 'Niger–Congo', in Heine, Bernd & Nurse, Derek (eds.) African languages: an introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Gerrit Dimmendaal (2008) "Language Ecology and Linguistic Diversity on the African Continent", Language and Linguistics Compass 2/5:841.
  4. Roger Blench, Niger-Congo: an alternative view
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