Foundation for Endangered Languages

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10. Obituaries

Kasabe (Luo)

Bruce Connell bruce.connell(at)anthropology.oxford.ac.uk writes:

During fieldwork in the Mambila region of Cameroon's Adamawa province in 1994-95, I came across a number of moribund languages. These I gave a brief report on at the Leiden Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics in August of 1995 and to the endangered-languages-l list (11/09/95). For one of these languages, Kasabe (called Luo* by speakers of neighbouring languages and in my earlier reports), only one remaining speaker, Bogon, was found. (He himself knew of no others.) In November 1996 I returned to the Mambila region, with part of my agenda being to collect further data on Kasabe. Bogon, however, died on 5th Nov. 1995, taking Kasabe with him. He is survived by a sister, who reportedly could understand Kasabe but not speak it, and several children and grandchildren, none of whom know the language.

 

 

Kasabe was a Mambiloid language, apparently most closely related to Njerep (which itself has perhaps no more than five remaining speakers) and Twendi (35 speakers), and probably Yeni (now extinct). Together these four languages appear to have formed what was probably a dialect cluster within the larger Mambila aggregation. Langa, which is still reasonably viable, may also have been part of the cluster. In any case, it is probable that these languages were once situated in the area where Langa now is, in the shadow of Mount Djeni (also called l'Aigue de Mboundu on maps of Cameroon). The most commonly held belief is that that coming of the Fulani jihad during the 19th century, the subsequent enslavement of many and the massacring of resisters scattered and decimated their populations, to the point where their languages were no longer viable.

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