Southern Bantoid Languages
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Southern Bantoid Languages
Southern Bantoid
Wide Bantu
Sub-Saharan Africa, but not further west than Nigeria
Linguistic classificationNiger-Congo
Map of the Southern Bantoid languages.svg
The Southern Bantoid languages shown within the Niger-Congo language family. Non-Southern Bantoid languages are greyscale.

Southern Bantoid (or South Bantoid), also known as Wide Bantu or Bin, is a branch of the Benue-Congo languages of the Niger-Congo language family. It consists of the Bantu languages (also called Narrow Bantu) along with several small branches and isolates of eastern Nigeria and west-central Cameroon (though the affiliation of some branches is uncertain). Since the Bantu languages are spoken across most of Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Bantoid comprises 643 languages as counted by Ethnologue, though many of these are mutually intelligible.[2]


Southern Bantoid was first introduced by Williamson in a proposal that divided Bantoid into North and South branches.[3]

The unity of the North Bantoid group was subsequently called into question, and Bantoid itself may be polyphyletic, but the work did establish Southern Bantoid as a valid genetic unit, something that has not happened for (Narrow) Bantu itself.[4]

Internal classification

According to Williamson and Blench, Southern Bantoid is divided into the various Narrow Bantu languages, Jarawan, Tivoid, Beboid, Mamfe (Nyang), Grassfields and Ekoid families.[5] The Bendi languages are of uncertain classification; they have traditionally been classified with Cross River, but they may actually be Southern Bantoid.[6] Blench suggests that Tivoid, Momo (ex-Grassfields) and East Beboid may form a group, perhaps with the uncertain languages Esimbi and Buru:[7]

The Southern Bantoid branches of Nigeria and Cameroon


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Southern Bantoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ McWhorter, J. 2001. The Power of Babel (p. 81-82). Freeman-Times-Henry Holt, New York.
  3. ^ Williamson, Kay (1989) 'Niger-Congo Overview'. In: The Niger-Congo languages, ed. by John Bendor-Samuel, 3–45. University Press of America.
  4. ^ Roger Blench. "Niger-Congo classification : Niger-Congo: an alternative view" (PDF). Retrieved .
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Blench, Roger (2011). "'The membership and internal structure of Bantoid and the border with Bantu" (PDF). Berlin: Humboldt University. p. 17.
  7. ^ Blench, Roger (2010). "The Tivoid Languages" (PDF). pp. 12, 15.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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