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Wobé language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Northern Wèè
Native toIvory Coast
Native speakers
(160,000 cited 1993)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3wob

Wobé (Ouobe) is a Kru language spoken in Ivory Coast. It is one of several languages in a dialect continuum called Wèè (Wɛɛ).


Wobé is known for claims that it has the largest number of tones (fourteen) of any language in the world.[3] However, this has not been confirmed by other researchers, many of whom believe that some of these will turn out to be sequences of tones or prosodic effects,[4][5][6] though the Wèè languages in general do have extraordinarily large tone systems.

The fourteen posited tones are:[3]

IPA ˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˧˥ ˧˦ ˨˥ ˨˦ ˨˧ ˥˩ ˦˩ ˧˩ ˨˩ ˨˧˩
B&L tone numbers 1 2 3 4 31 32 41 42 43 15 25 35 45 435
Newman adjustment 0 1 2 3 20 21 30 31 32 04 14 24 34 324
Asian convention 5 4 3 2 35 34 25 24 23 51 41 31 21 231


  1. ^ Wobé at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wobe-Wè Northern". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Singler, John Victor (1984). "On the underlying representation of contour tones in Wobe". Studies in African Linguistics. 15 (1): 59–75.
  4. ^ Newman, Paul (1986). "Contour Tones in Grebo". In van der Hulst, Harry; Bogers, Koen; Mous, Marten (eds.). The Phonological Representation of Suprasegmentals. Publications in African Languages and Linguistics (Book 4). De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 190–191 (notes 12 and 14).
  5. ^ Newman believes Singler is a valuable counterweight to Bearth & Link, but does not accept all his criticism; he accept the Wobe 43 toneme, for example, but believes it should be analyzed as /32/ (all tones being off by 1 compared to related dialects).

This page was last edited on 28 April 2019, at 00:42
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