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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vai
ꕙꔤ
Native toLiberia, Sierra Leone
RegionAfrica
Native speakers
(120,000 cited 1991–2006)[1]
Niger–Congo
  • Mande
    • Western Mande
      • Central
        • Manding–Jogo
          • Manding–Vai
            • Vai–Kono
              • Vai
Vai syllabary
Language codes
ISO 639-2vai
ISO 639-3vai
Glottologvaii1241[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For a guide to IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Vai language, also called Vy or Gallinas, is a Mande language spoken by the Vai people, roughly 104,000 in Liberia, and by smaller populations, some 15,500, in Sierra Leone.[3]

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Transcription

Contents

Writing system

Vai is noteworthy for being one of the few African languages to have a writing system that is not based on the Latin or Arabic script. This Vai script is a syllabary invented by Momolu Duwalu Bukele around 1833, although dates as early as 1815 have been alleged. The existence of Vai was reported in 1834 by American missionaries in the Missionary Herald of the ABCFM[4] and independently by Rev. Sigismund Wilhelm Koelle, a Sierra Leone agent of the Church Mission Society of London.[5]

The Vai script was used to print the New Testament in the Vai language, dedicated in 2003.

Phonology

Vai is a tonal language and has 12 vowels and 31 consonants, which are tabulated below.

Vowels

  Oral vowels Nasal vowels
Front Back Front Back
Close i i u u ĩ ĩ ũ ũ
Close-mid e e o o ɛ̃ ɛ̃ ɔ̃ ɔ̃
Open-mid ɛ ɛ ɔ ɔ
Open a a ã ã

Consonants

Labial Alveolar Post-al.
/palatal
Velar Labial
-velar
Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop/
Affricate
p
 
b
mb
t
 
d
nd
c
 
ɟ
ɲɟ
k
 
g
ŋɡ
k͡p
 
 
ŋ͡mɡ͡b
Implosive ɓ l ~ ɗ ɡ͡ɓ
Fricatives f v s z (ʃ) h
Approximant
(Lateral)
j w
l ~ ɗ
Trill (r)

[r] and [ʃ] occur only in recent loanwords.[clarification needed from which language?]

References

  1. ^ Vai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Vai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Ethnologue report for Vai
  4. ^ "Report of Messrs. Wilson and Wynkoop". Missionary Herald. June 1834. p. 215.
  5. ^ "A Written language in Western Africa". The New-Jerusalem magazine. A. Howard. 23 (10): 431.

See also

External links


This page was last edited on 27 April 2019, at 22:35
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