Makaa–Njem languages

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Southern Cameroon and neighbouring areas
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo?
  • Mvumboic (Kwasio)
  • Pomo–Bomwali
The Makaa–Njem languages (excluding Kako)

The Makaa–Njem languages are a group of Bantu languages spoken in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. They are coded Zone A.80 in Guthrie's classification.

According to Nurse & Philippson (2003), adding the Kako languages (Guthrie's A.90) forms a valid node, called Pomo–Bomwali (Kairn Klieman 1997).



The Guthrie Kako (A.90) languages are:


The Guthrie Makaa–Njem (A.80) languages are:

Language name Primary location Secondary location(s) Ethnic group(s) No. speakers[1] Remarks
Bekwel Congo Cameroon, Gabon Bekwel 12,060 Close to Nkonabeeb and Koonzime. Cameroonian speakers also use Mpongmpong.[2]
Bomwali Congo Cameroon Bomwali 39,280
Byep Cameroon None Maka 9,500 Also called North Makaa, though not intelligible with Makaa.[3]
Kol Cameroon Gabon Bekol 12,000 Speakers use Makaa or Koonzime as well.[4]
Koonzime Cameroon None Badwe'e, Nzime 30,000 Badwe'e speak Koozime dialect; Nzime speak Koonzime dialect. Used as a second language by many Baka.[5]
Makaa Cameroon None Maka 80,000 Related to Byep (North Makaa) and Kol, although unintelligible with them.[6]
Mpiemo Central African Republic Cameroon, Congo Mbimu 29,000
Mpumpong Cameroon None Nkonabeeb 45,000
Ngumba (Kwasio) Cameroon Equatorial Guinea Mabi, Ngumba, Bujeba, Gyele (Koya, Kola) 22,000 The Gyele are Pygmies
Njyem Cameroon Congo Njyem 7,000 Spoken by many Baka as a second language.[7]
Swo Cameroon None Swo 9,000 High level of influence from Beti.[8]
Ukhwejo Central African Republic None Benkonjo 2,000

Maho (2009) adds Shiwe (Oshieba) of central Gabon.

Glottolog classifies the languages as follows:[9]


  1. ^ All totals are based on the relevant Ethnologue pages.
  2. ^ "Bekwel", Ethnologue.
  3. ^ "Byep", Ethnologue.
  4. ^ "Kol", Ethnologue.
  5. ^ "Koonzime", Ethnologue.
  6. ^ "Kol", Ethnologue.
  7. ^ "Njyem", Ethnologue.
  8. ^ "So", Ethnologue.
  9. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forke, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2020). "Makaa-Njem (A.80)". Glottolog 4.3.


  • Nurse, Derek; Philippson, Gérard, eds. (2003). The Bantu languages. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780700711345.
  • Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.) (2005). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th ed. Dallas: SIL International. Retrieved 7 June 2006.