Kwasio language

Not to be confused with Koya language or Ngom language.
Ngumba, Kola
Native to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea
Region along and near the coast at the border between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea
Ethnicity Kwasio, Gyele Pygmies
Native speakers
(26,000 cited 1982–2012)[1]
  • Kwasio
  • Mvumbo
  • Mabi
  • Gyele
  • Kola
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
nmg  Kwasio–Mvumbo
gyi  Gyele–Kola
Glottolog mvum1239[2]

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 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 the 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. Glottolog adds Shiwa.

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.


  1. Kwasio–Mvumbo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Gyele–Kola at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Mvumboic". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

External links

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