A language of Equatorial Guinea

Alternate Names
Boumba, Ndowe

3,900 in Equatorial Guinea (2011 S. Smith), decreasing. 400 on Corisco Island. Population total all countries: 5,400. 0 monolinguals.


Litoral province: Corisco Island, Rio Muni.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


None known. Related to Batanga [bnm].

Language Use

On Corisco, all domains. Away from Corisco island used more by older generation, fewer youth. Positive attitudes. Also use French [fra] due to trade with Gabon. Almost all also use Spanish [spa].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Only a few dozen read Benga (Scripture). All Ndowe groups use Benga hymnal. Literacy rate in L2: Almost 100%. Poetry. Grammar. NT: 1895.

Latin script [Latn], used since 1863.

Other Comments

Traditionally coastal fishermen. All the Benga and Batanga [bnm] consider themselves ‘Boumba’ (those who use ‘mba’ to refer to ourselves), and together with additional groups are ‘Ndowe’ (the beach peoples). Christian, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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