Kwasio language

Kwasio language
Ngumba, Kola
Spoken in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea
Region along and near the coast at the border between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea
Ethnicity Kwasio, Gyele Pygmies
Native speakers 22,000  (1982)
Language family
  • Atlantic–Congo
Language codes
ISO 639-3 either:
nmg – Kwasio–Mvumbo
gyi – Gyele–Kola

The Kwasio language, also known as Ngumba / Mvumbo, Bujeba, and Gyele / Kola, is a language of Cameroon, spoken in the south along the coast and at the border with Equatorial Guinea by some 70 000[citation needed] members of the Ngumba, Kwasio, Gyele and Mabi peoples. The Kwasio, Ngumba, and Mabi are village farmers; the Gyele (also known as the Kola or Koya) are nomadic Pygmy hunter-gatherers living in the rain forest.

Dialects are Kwasio (aka Kwassio, Bisio), Mvumbo (aka Ngumba, Ngoumba, Mgoumba, Mekuk), and Mabi (Mabea). The Gyele speak to subdialects of Mvumbo, Gyele in the north and Kola aka Koya in the south, variously spelled Giele, Gieli, Gyeli, Bagiele, Bagyele, Bajele, Bajeli, Bogyel, Bogyeli, Bondjiel and Likoya, Bako, Bakola, Bakuele, also Bekoe. The local derogatory term for pygmies, Babinga, is also used.

Kwasio is a tonal language. As a Bantu language, it has noun class system. The Kwasio noun class system is somewhat reduced, having retained only 6 genders (a gender being a pairing of a singular and a plural noun class).

See also

The term Bakola is also used for the pygmies of the northern Congo–Gabon border region, which speak the Ngom language.


  • Serge BAHUCHET, 2006. "Languages of the African Rainforest « Pygmy » Hunter-Gatherers: Language Shifts without Cultural Admixture."[1] In Historical linguistics and hunter-gatherers populations in global perspective. Leipzig.

External links

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