Dogon languages

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The Dogon languages are spoken by the Dogon in Mali. There are about 600,000 speakers with at least 15 varieties, some of them mutually unintelligible. They are tonal languages with two level tones.

The place of Dogon inside the Niger-Congo languages is not clear. Various theories have been proposed, placing them in the Gur, the Mande or an independent branch, the latter now being the preferred theory. The Dogon languages show few remnants of a noun class system (one example is that human nouns take a distinct plural suffix), leading linguists to conclude that Dogon is likely to have diverged from Niger-Congo very early. The basic word order is Subject Object Verb.

The Bambara and Fula languages have exerted significant influence on Dogon, due to their close cultural and geographical ties.

[edit] Varieties

Dogon has traditionally been described as a single language; however, Hochstetler et. al. (2004) estimated that the Dogon language family consists actually of at least 17 highly internally divided languages, and later fieldwork by Roger Blench tends to support this. Bangi-me (Bangeri-me), formerly considered a northwestern Dogon dialect, falls entirely outside the group, according to Blench (2005b).

The best-studied Dogon language is Toro So (Tɔrɔ Sɔɔ), the speech variety of Sanga, due to Marcel Griaule's studies there and due to the fact that Toro So has been selected by the Malian government for development. However, the plains languages - tene Ka, Tomo Ka, and Jamsay - have the largest population, and Jamsay and Tombo are considered the most conservative varieties.

[edit] References

  • Bendor-Samuel, John & Olsen, Elizabeth J. & White, Ann R. (1989) 'Dogon', in Bendor-Samuel & Rhonda L. Hartell (eds.) The Niger-Congo languages — A classification and description of Africa's largest language family (pp. 169-177). Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.
  • Bertho, J. (1953) 'La place des dialectes dogon de la falaise de Bandiagara parmi les autres groupes linguistiques de la zone soudanaise,' Bulletin de l'IFAN, 15, 405–441.
  • Blench, Roger (2005a) 'A survey of Dogon languages in Mali: Overview', OGMIOS: Newsletter of Foundation for Endangered Languages, 3.02 (#26), 14-15. (Online version:, Retrieved June 26, 2005).
  • Blench, Roger (2005b) 'Baŋgi me, a language of unknown affiliation in Northern Mali', OGMIOS: Newsletter of Foundation for Endangered Languages, 3.02 (#26), 15-16. (report with wordlist)
  • Calame-Griaule, Geneviève (1956) Les dialectes Dogon. Africa, 26 (1), 62-72.
  • Calame-Griaule, Geneviève (1968) Dictionnaire Dogon Dialecte tɔrɔ: Langue et Civilisation. Paris: Klincksieck: Paris.
  • Hochstetler, J. Lee, Durieux, J.A. & E.I.K. Durieux-Boon (2004) Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogon Language Area. SIL International. online version
  • Plungjan, Vladimir Andreevič (1995) Dogon (Languages of the world materials vol. 64). München: LINCOM Europa
  • Williamson, Kay & Blench, Roger (2000) 'Niger-Congo', in Heine, Bernd and Nurse, Derek (eds) African Languages - An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University press, pp. 11—42.

[edit] External links

br:Yezhoù dogonek de:Dogon (Sprache) fr:Dogon sv:Dogonspråk

Dogon languages

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