Ubangic languages

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The Ubangian languages are a group of 89 relatively closely related languages ​​which are mainly spoken in the Central African Republic , as well as in Cameroon , the Congo and South Sudan . The name is derived from the Ubangi River . The classification of the Ubangian languages ​​in other language families is controversial.

In the Central African Republic, the Ubangian languages ​​are the most important language group and are spoken by 3 to 5.5 million speakers. The Sango is the official language in the Central African Republic. Ngbaka and Azande are other Ubangian languages, each with over a million speakers.

Relationship with other language groups

Joseph Greenberg classified the little-known Ubangian languages ​​as Niger-Congo languages and designated them as Adamawa-East within the Adamaua languages . This classification was soon revised and the two language groups classified as separate groups within the Niger-Congo languages, within Blench's savannah languages . However, this view has been increasingly challenged, and Dimmendaal (2008) states that, in view of the lack of convincing evidence, Ubangic "is likely to form a separate language family which cannot or no longer be considered related to Niger-Congo or any other language family".


Gbaya languages

  • Central: Gbaya-Bossangoa (180 thousand), Gbaya-Bozoum (35 thousand); Gbanu (100 thousand), Bokoto (25 thousand)
  • East: Ngbaka (1 million), Manza (250 thousand), Ali (35 thousand), Bofi (25 thousand), Bonjo
  • Northwest: Gbaya (Northwest Gbaya) (300k)
  • Southwest: Southwest Gbaya ( 180k ), Bangadu ( 3k )
  • Suma (50 thousand)


  • Banda languages
    • Central: Bambari (180 thousand), Banda (100 thousand), Mono (70 thousand), Mbres (45 thousand), Ndele (35 thousand), Central-South Banda (100 thousand), Gobu ( 10 thousand), Kpagua (4 thousand), Ngundu; Togbo-Vara (25 thousand); Yangere (25 thousand)
    • South-Central: Ngbugu (South-Central Banda) (150k), Langbashe (50k)
    • West-Central Banda (10 thousand)
    • South Banda: Mbanza (200k)
    • Southwest: Ngbundu (20k)
  • Ngbandi languages: Ngbandi (200,000) and Sango ( Creole language : 350,000 native speakers, with second speakers 5 million), Yakoma (100,000), Dendi (10,000), Gbayi (5,000)
  • Sere-Ngbaka-Mba languages
    • Sere languages: Ndogo (20 thousand), Sere (2.5 thousand), Tagbu, Belanda Viri (20 thousand), Bai (3 thousand); Feroge ( 1,000 ), Mangayat (400); Indri (700), Togoyo
    • Ngbaka-Mba languages
      • East: Mayogo (100k), Bangba ( 10k ), Mundu ( 25k )
      • West: Ngbaka Ma'bo (150k), Gilima (12k); Gbanziri (15 thousand), Buraka (3 thousand);
        Monzombo (15 thousand), Kpala (3 thousand), Yango (3 thousand); Baka (30 thousand), Gundi (10 thousand), Ganzi (2 thousand), Ngombe (2 thousand), Bomassa
      • Mba-Amadi: Mba (20 thousand), Dongo (5 thousand), Ndunga (3 thousand); Amadi (Ma) (5k)

Zande-Barambu languages

  • Zande-Nzakara: Azande (1.2 million), Nzakara (50 thousand), Kpatili (5 thousand), Geme (600)
  • Barambu-Pambia: Barambu (25 thousand), Pambia (20 thousand)

Some pygmy peoples of the equatorial rainforest also speak Ubangi languages, such as the Babinga, Bamassa, Bayaka, Ganzi, Gundi and Mbakka. To and La'bi are secret ritual languages ​​for male initiation cults.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Williamson, Kay & Blench, Roger (2000) 'Niger-Congo', in Heine, Bernd & Nurse, Derek (Eds.) African languages: an introduction , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. Gerrit Dimmendaal: Language Ecology and Linguistic Diversity on the African Continent , in: Language and Linguistics Compass 2/5, 2008, p. 841.