Nkwen Language Alphabet
Also found on Youtube at https://youtu.be/khn6uSV4QS0
Nkwen Language is a Mother Tongue spoken by the Nkwen people of Cameroon in Africa. It is one of the many Cameroonian Languages on the verge of development. With many aspects already developed, further research is still recommended for the full development and preservation of this language and the culture of the Nkwen people embedded in it.
Amongst the many aspects that have been worked on are:
- The Alphabet
- Reading and Writing
- Nouns/Noun classes
- Some grammatical aspects.
THE NKWEN LANGUAGE ALPHABET (Second Edition)
The first edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet was established by PROPELCA (Operation Research Project for the Teaching of Cameroonian Languages) together with the then Nkwen Language Translation Committee of the Catholic Mission Futru Nkwen in their Summer Linguistic Courses in Aghiati Bafut in the mid-1990s. It was reviewed by S. I. L. (Société International de Linguistique) and some members of the Nkwen Language Committee in a Summer Linguistics Seminar organized by S.I.L. in July 1999 at CBC Nkwen Bamenda. Thus, this second edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet was made up of 31 sounds as follows:
/a/ /b/ /c/ /d/ /dz/ /ɛ/ /ǝ/ /f/ /g/ /gh/ /i/ /j/ /k/ /kh/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /ŋ/ /ny/ /r/ /s/ /sh/ /t/ /ts/ /u/ /’/ /w/ /y/ /z/ /zh/
/Aa/ /Bb/ /Cc/ /Dd/ /DZdz/ /Ɛɛ/ /Əǝ/ /Ff/ /Gg/ /GHgh/ /Ii/ /Jj/ /Kk/ /KHkh/ /Ll/ /Mm/ /Nn/ /Ŋŋ/ /NYny/ /Ɔɔ/ /Rr/ /Ss/ /SHsh/ /Tt/ /TSts/ /Uu/ /’/ /Ww/ /Yy/ /Zz/ /ZHzh/
Nkwen Language Alphabet on youtube; https://youtu.be/x16w6W3Hs-o
Analysis of the Second Edition of Nkwen Language Alphabet
This second edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet is made up of 24 Consonants (M̀mi Mǝ Abɔ̀ŋnǝ̀), 6 Vowels (Nji-àbɔ̀ŋnǝ̀) and 1 glottal stop:
The Nkwen Language Consonants.
/b/ /c/ /d/ /dz/ /f/ /g/ /gh/ /j/ /k/ /kh/ /l/ /m/ /n/ /ŋ/ /ny/ /r/ /s/ /sh/ /t/ /ts/ /w/ /y/ /z/ /zh/
The Nkwen Language Vowels:
/a/ /ɛ/ /ǝ/ /i/ /ɔ/ /u/
The Glotal stop: /’/
This second edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet has double consonant sounds and some strange sounds as compared to the English Language Alphabet.
The double consonants in the Nkwen Language Alphabet are considered single sounds but are made up of two letters each. When they come at the beginning of a sentence or in proper nouns the two letters are written in caps. They are seven of them as follows.
/dz/ /gh/ /kh/ /ny/ /sh/ /ts/ /zh/
/ɛ/ /ǝ/ /ŋ/ /ɔ/
Sounds in the English Language Alphabet that are not found in the second edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet are:
/e/ /h/ /p/ /q/ /v/ /x/
The /ɛ/ and /ǝ/ are mostly used than the English /e/
The letter /h/ does not stand alone but is always supported by other sounds as in /gh/ /kh/ /sh/ and /zh/, in
Ghǝ̌ – to go
khǝ̌ – to run
shǝ̂ – to weed
zhǎ – to comb
The letter /p/ is replaced by /b/ mostly in borrowed words like:
bɔ̀bɔ̀ – pawpaw or papaya.
bàbà – papa or father
Bità – Peter
sounds closer to the /q/ are spelled with /k/ as in
kwatǝ – to repeat
Kwa’atǝ – to knock
kwǎ – to open
àkwo – raffia palm nut
The /v/ and /x/ are not found at all.
THE NKWEN LANGUAGE ALPHABET
àbà’à (a door)
cì’i (to shake)
dədͻ’ͻ (a frog)
ǹdzàà (an axe)
fεrə (a ring)
ə̀lwεnə̀ (a name)
Fͻrə (a rat)
gàŋə (to hold)
àliliŋə (a bat)
Ǹjijì’ì (a fly)
kaa (a crab)
ŋ̀kha (a fence)
lə̀ŋə (to stir)
nyə (to drink)
Ǹtͻ̀ (a pot)
ə̀làrə̀ (a bridge)
Sǔ (to wash)
shə̂ (to week)
tsà (a hall)
Àtɔ’ɔ̀ (a tin)
Wàrə̀ (a hawk)
(a weaver bird)
Zə̀ŋsə̂ ( to bend)
Ǹzhà (a comb)
Recent Review on the Second Edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet.
It should be noted that the above second edition of the Nkwen Language Alphabet has been recently revised by CABTAL together with some members of the Nkwen Language Committee in a workshop which was aimed at developing the Nkwen Language in the lines of Literacy and Bible Translation. The few changes they have made this time, different from this second edition are:
The open /ɔ/ is now full /o/ eg . mɔɔ – moo (child)
The English /e/ has been added to the list of vowels making them seven in number; /a/ /ɛ/ /ǝ/ /e/ /o/ /u/
/c/ is now /ch/
Some of the double consonant sounds are now considered as sub-sounds except /gh/, /sh/, /zh/, and /ch/ which are still double consonants.
The nasal /ŋ/ should not precede some consonants eg ŋ̀garǝ̀ – ǹgarǝ̀. This means subsequent writings in Nkwen Language would bear these changes.
The Revised Edition
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