- Baka language
Baka Spoken in Cameroon
Ethnicity Baka people Native speakers 54,000 (1998–2007) Language family Language codes ISO 639-3 variously:
bkc – Baka
gdi – Gundi (Ngundi)
gnz – Ganzi
bme – Massa (Limassa)
Baka (also called Be-bayaga, Be-bayaka, and Bibaya de L’est) is a dialect cluster of Ubangian languages spoken by the Baka Pygmies of Cameroon and Gabon. The people are ethnically close to the Aka, the two together called the Mbenga (Bambenga), but the languages are not related apart from some vocabulary dealing with the forest economy, which suggests the Aka may have shifted to Bantu from a language like Baka about 1500 CE.
Some 30% of Baka vocabulary is not Ubangian. Much of this concerns a specialized forest economy, such as words for edible plants, medicinal plants, and honey collecting, and has been posited as the remnant of an ancestral Pygmy language which has otherwise vanished. However, apart from some words shared with the Aka, there is no evidence for a wider linguistic affiliation with any of the other Pygmy peoples.
It is unclear if three minor varieties are mutually intelligible with Baka proper. They are Gundi (Ngundi), Ganzi, and Massa (Limassa). Most Massa have shifted to Gundi, which is spoken by 9,000 people.
- Map of Baka language from the LL_Map Project
- Information on Baka language from the MultiTree Project
- Baka Pygmies Culture and photos, with soundscapes of Baka camps in the rainforest
Languages of Cameroon OfficialFrench · English National55 Afro-Asiatic languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, and 173 Niger-Congo languages Non-officialGyele Languages of Gabon Official National IndigenousBaka · Barama · Bekwel · Benga · Bube · Bwisi · Duma · Fang · Kendell · Kaningi · Kili · iKota · Lumbu · Mahongwe · Mbama · Mbangwe · Mbere · Myene (several dialects) · Ndasa · Ndumu · Ngom · Njebi · Pinji · Punu · Sake · Sangu · Seki · Sighu · Simba · Sira aka Eshira · Northern Teke · Western Teke · Tsaangi · Tsogo · Vili · Vumbu · Wandji · Wumbvu · Yangho · Yasa
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