A language of Cameroon

Alternate Names
Babinga, Bagiele, Bagyele, Bajele, Bajeli, Bako, Bakola, Bakuele, Bekoe, Bogyel, Bogyeli, Bondjiel, Giele, Gieli, Gyeli, Likoya

4,250 in Cameroon (2012 SIL). Population total all countries: 4,279.


South region: Océan division, Bipindi, Campo, Kribi, and Lolodorf subdivisions, forested areas between Nyong and Ntem rivers, many near Campo-Maan Reserve; Centre region: Nyong-et-Kéllé division.

Language Status

6b (Threatened).


Bagyeli, Bakola, Likoya. Lexical similarity: high with Kwasio [nmg]. Much shared vocabulary in Bakola dialect with Basaa [bas]. Likoya is a contact variety; Gyele who live near Bulu [bum] speakers borrow from that language.

Language Use

Speakers often hide the fact that they have their own language. However, within the group, when no outsiders are present, they prefer Gyele. Home, with each other. All ages. Very few use French [fra]. Nearly all also use Kwasio [nmg]. Also use Basaa [bas], Bulu [bum], Ewondo [ewo].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 5% have some literacy in Gyele. Literacy rate in L2: Very few can read French [fra]. A Bipindi boarding school uses Gyele materials in elementary school, which produced some literacy among Bipindi area Gyele speakers. Not used in government schools, which more children are attending. Poetry. Radio programs. Films. Videos. Bible portions: 1969–1987.

Latin script [Latn], used since about 1987.

Other Comments

Pygmies, dispersed in small groups in the forest. Probably different from Bakola (Bakoya) pygmies of Gabon. Traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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