Mengisa

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A language of Cameroon

Alternate Names
Mangisa, Mengisa-Njowe
Population

20,000 (1979 SIL), decreasing.

Location

Center Region, Lekie division, Sa’a subdivision, Sanaga river bend area between the river and Sa’a.

Language Maps
Language Status

7 (Shifting).

Dialects

Leti, Njowe. High exposure to and 97% intelligibility of Ewondo [ewo]. But Ewondo speakers have only 46% with Mengisa. The Mangisa people speak 2 languages: the Mengisa Njowi dialect, spoken daily, and Leti [leo], a secret language of tradition. Eton [eto], the A70 variety reportedly most similar to Mengisa (Njowe) is 90% cognate with Mengisa, but a lower comprehension level (91%) (1990 D. Hatfield and C. Regnier). Lexical similarity: 90%–91% with Eton [eto], 81%–97% with Ewondo [ewo] (Risnes 1989). Mengisa Njowe is considered an A70 language with Ewondo and others, while Leti [leo] is considered an A60 language (possibly A64).

Language Use

Children losing L1 capability, even in the village. Much intermarriage with Eton [eto], Ewondo [ewo] and certain Mbam languages. Children highly bilingual. Home, with other Mengisa, markets. All ages. Neutral attitudes. Many Mengisa deplore L1 loss in their children, but haven’t acted to retain it.

Language Development
No literacy program in place. Radio programs.
Writing

Latin script [Latn], in development.

Other Comments

The Mangisa people speak 2 languages: the Mengisa (Njowi dialect), spoken daily, and Leti [leo]. Christian.