Gbanu language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Native toCentral African Republic
Native speakers
95,000 (1996)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3gbv

Gbanu (Gbànù, Banu, Gbanou) is a Gbaya language of the Central African Republic. The people do not consider themselves to be ethnically Gbaya.


Gbanu has 14 vowels, oral /i e ɛ a ɔ o u/ and nasal /ĩ ẽ ɛ̃ ã ɔ̃ õ ũ/. Syllables may be maximally CVN, where N is /m/ or /n/. There are four tones on CV syllables, high, low, rising, and falling. Words have six tone patterns, those four plus dipping (falling–rising) and peaking (rising–falling).

m n j~ɲ w~ŋm
mb nd ŋɡ ŋmɡb
ɓ~ˀm ɗ~ˀn
p t k kp ʔ
b d ɡ ɡb
f s h
v z

Intervocallically, the only voicing distinction that is maintained is /s, z/; otherwise only voiceless oral stops and fricatives occur between vowels. Nasal consonants lightly nasalize surrounding vowels, and nasal vowels, including those triggered by nasal consonants, nasalize the glottalized consonants. The approximants /j w/ do not occur with nasal vowels, and so may not be phonemic; /j~ɲ/, /w~mŋ/ may be posited as the underlying phonemes.


  1. ^ Gbanu at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gbanu". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Yves Moñino, 1995. "Phonologie de Gbanu". In Le Proto-Gbaya. Peeters, Paris