Wawa language

Last updated
Native to Cameroon
RegionAdamawa Province, Mayo-Banyo Division, Bankim Subdivision, west of Banyo, thirteen villages
Native speakers
(3,000 cited 1991) [1]
  • Gandua
Language codes
ISO 639-3 www
Glottolog wawa1246 [2]

Wawa is a Mambiloid language spoken in a region of Cameroon and just inside bordering Nigeria used by about 3,000 people in three main dialects. [3]

Cameroon Republic in West Africa

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it is geographically and historically in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa. Cameroon is home to over 250 native languages spoken by nearly 20 million people.

Nigeria Federal republic in West Africa

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.

All speakers are bilingual, often in Fulfulde. [3]

Related Research Articles

Benue–Congo languages language family

Benue–Congo is a major subdivision of the Niger–Congo language family which covers most of Sub-Saharan Africa. It consists of two main branches:

Wawa may refer to:

The Bung language is a nearly extinct, endangered language of Cameroon spoken by three people at the village of Boung on the Adamawa Plateau. It is remembered best by one speaker who learned the language at a young age, though it is not their mother tongue. A wordlist shows its strongest resemblance to be with the Ndung dialect of Mambiloid language Kwanja, although that may simply be because this has become the dominant language of the village where Bung's last speakers reside. It also has words in common with other Mambiloid languages such as Tep, Somyev and Vute, while a number of words' origins remain unclear. For lack of data, it is not definitively classified.

The Yeni language is an extinct language of Cameroon, formerly spoken around Djeni Mountain in the Nyalang area. All that remains of the language, apparently, is a song remembered by some Sandani speakers. However, according to Bruce Connell, comparison of the song's words to neighboring languages suggests that "it was closely related to [the Mambiloid languages] Cambap, Njerep, and Kasabe".

Bantoid languages language family

Bantoid is a putative major division of the Benue–Congo branch of the Niger–Congo language family. It consists of the Mambiloid languages, the Dakoid languages and the Tikar language, all in Nigeria and Cameroon, and the Southern Bantoid languages, a major division which also includes the Bantu languages spoken across most of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sardauna Local Government Area is located in the extreme southeast of Taraba State in Nigeria. It sits atop the Mambilla Plateau, which is dotted by other towns such as Maisamari and Nguroje. The capital of the LGA is Gembu, which is the principal town of various ethnic groups, such as Mambilla, Kaka, Fulani, Ndola, Tigon, Kambu, Chamba and Panso. Other ethnic groups from the mainstream Nigeria and the bordering Cameroon republic such as Hausa and Kanuri also live there.

The Mambilla or Mambila people of Nigeria live on the Mambilla plateau. A small fraction of Mambilla migrants left the Mambilla Plateau for the Ndom Plain on the Cameroon side of the international border as well as in a couple of small villages, such as New Namba, further north towards the towns of Gashaka and Banyo. The preferred ethnonym is spelt Mambila in Cameroon and Mambilla in Nigeria. "Norr" is also used.

Mambiloid languages

The twelve Mambiloid languages are a branch of Benue–Congo languages spoken by the Mambila and related peoples mostly in eastern Nigeria, with a small proportion of people across the border in Cameroon.

Mambila is a dialect chain stretching across Nigeria and Cameroon. It is one of the Mambiloid languages, a branch of Benue–Congo.

Vute is a Mambiloid language of Cameroon, with a thousand speakers in Nigeria.

Ndoola (Ndoro) is a Bantoid language of Nigeria, with a couple thousand speakers in Cameroon. It is either among or related to the Mambiloid languages.

Kwanja (Konja) is a Mambiloid language of Cameroon. Njanga is a distinct dialect.

Mbongno (Bungnu), also known as Kamkam, is a Mambiloid language of Nigeria, with an unknown number of speakers in Cameroon.

Somyev (Somyewe), also known as Kila, is a nearly extinct Mambiloid language of two villages, one in Nigeria and one in Cameroon, that is spoken by a caste of blacksmiths that live among the Mambila. Although the language is still used for daily communication, the youngest generation of speakers were born in the 1950s. Transmission of the language ceased when the profession of blacksmithing lost its social status, partly due to imports of foreign tools.

Mvanip (Mvano), or Magu, is a minor Mambiloid language of Nigeria. Despite the small number of speakers, language use is vigorous. Ethnologue classifies Mvanip as threatened.

Njerep (Njerup) is a Mambiloid language spoken in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon. Njerep is essentially extinct, with a handful who cannot speak it fully. Though word lists and grammatical information have been collected from these people, the information remains fragmented.

Twendi, or Cambap as it is also known, is a nearly extinct Mambiloid language of Cameroon. Speakers have largely shifted to the closely related language Kwanja, and Twendi has not been passed down to children for decades. The language is spoken in the villages of Cambap and Sanga on the Tikar Plain by no more than 30 people, the youngest of whom were born in the 1940s.

The Kasabe language is an extinct language of Cameroon, formerly spoken around Mambila in the Nyalang area. The last speaker, a man named Bogon died on 5 November 1995.

Ndola People are found in Taraba, Nigeria and located in Kurmi and Ngada. Few are also found in Cameroon.

Northern Bantoid is a branch of the Bantoid languages of the Niger–Congo language family. It consists of the Mambiloid, Dakoid, and Tikar languages of eastern Nigeria and west-central Cameroon.


  1. Wawa at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wawa". Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. 1 2 Gesellschaft für bedrohte Sprachen, "Documenting Wawa – a Mambiloid language in the Cameroon-Nigeria borderland", http://www.uni-koeln.de/gbs/Berichte/Wawa/