Gur languages

Gur languages

Infobox Language family
region=West Africa, around Burkina Faso in the west to CAR in the east
child1=Northern Gur
child2=Southern Gur

The Gur languages, also known as Central Gur, belong to the Niger-Congo languages. There are about 70 languages belonging to this group. They are spoken in southeast Mali, northern Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, northern Ghana and northern Togo, Benin and northwest Nigeria.

Like most Niger-Congo languages, Gur languages have a noun class system. A common property of Gur languages is the verbal aspect marking. Gur languages are tonal. The tonal systems of Gur languages are rather divergent. Most Gur languages have a two tone downstep system.

Koelle first mentions twelve Gur languages in his 1854 "Polyglotta Africana", which represent ten languages in modern classification. Notably, he correctly identified these languages as being related to one another; his 'North-Eastern High Sudan' corresponds to Gur in modern classification.

The Gur family, previously called Voltaic, was once more extensive than it is today, including the Senufo languages and a number of small language isolates. The membership of Senufo was rejected for example by Tony Naden (1989:143). Williamson and Blench (2000:18,25-6) place Senufo as a separate branch of Atlantic-Congo and other non-Central Gur languages somewhat closer as separate branches of the Savanna languages.

Northern Gur
* Oti-Volta (28 languages, including Kusaal, Dagbani, Gurma, and Mòoré (Mossi))
* Bwamu
* "Koromfe"

Southern Gur
* Grusi (20 languages, including Kabiye)
* Kirma-Tyurama
* Lobi-Dyan


* Naden, Anthony J. (1989) 'Gur', in Bendor-Samuel, John & Hartell, Rhonda L. (eds) "The Niger-Congo languages. A classification and description of Africa's largest language family." Lanham, New York, London: University Press of America, 140–168.
* Roncador, Manfred von; Miehe, Gudrun (1998) "Les langues gur (voltaïques). Bibliographie commentée et inventaire des appelations des langues." Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
*Williamson, Kay & Blench, Roger (2000) 'Niger-Congo', in Heine, Bernd & Nurse, Derek (eds.) "African languages: an introduction", Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11—42.

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