Fang language

Fang /ˈfɒŋ/ is a Central African language spoken by around 1 million people in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Congo Republic. It is the dominant Bantu language of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. It is related to the Bulu and Ewondo languages of southern Cameroon. Fang is spoken in northern Gabon, southern Cameroon, throughout Equatorial Guinea, in the Republic of the Congo, and small fractions of the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. Under President Macías Nguema, Fang was the official language of Equatorial Guinea.

There are many different variants of Fang in Gabon and Cameroon. Maho (2009) lists Southwest Fang as a distinct language. The other dialects are Ntoumou, Okak, Mekê, Atsi (Batsi), Nzaman (Zaman), Mveni, and Mvaïe.

Faŋ, Paŋwe
Native toEquatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and São Tomé and Príncipe
EthnicityFang people
Native speakers
1 million (2006–2013)[1]
  • Southwest Fang
  • Ntoumou-Fang
  • Okak-Fang
  • Mekê-Fang
  • Mvaïe-Fang
  • Atsi-Fang
  • Nzaman-Fang
  • Mveni-Fang
Language codes
ISO 639-2fan
ISO 639-3fan
Idioma fang

Corpus and lexicology

Despite lacking any truly certain corpus of Fang's literary body, it is of note that linguists have, in the past, made attempts to compile dictionaries and lexicons for the Fang language. The two most notable ones to be either proposed or fully compiled were made by Maillard (2007)[4] and Bibang (2014). Neither created a direct Fang-English dictionary, but opted instead to separate the two languages via a third European language as a bridge for various loanwords.

The translation efforts to English have been done through Romance languages: specifically, Spanish and French. The latter of the two languages would likely have had the most impact on the language, given the occupation of Gabon by the French during the existence of French Equatorial Africa (itself part of French West Africa), which lasted 75 years from 1885 to 1960. To a lesser extent, in São Tomé and Príncipe, Portuguese also likely has influenced the dialects of Fang present there, due to the country being occupied by Portugal for most of the islands' history of habitation.



Fang has 7 vowels, each of which can have short or long realizations.

Vowel Phonemes
Front (short/long) Back (short/long)
Close i iː (ĩ) u uː (ũ)
Close-mid e eː (ẽ) o oː (õ)
Open-mid ɛ ɛː (ɛ̃) ɔ ɔː (ɔ̃)
Open a aː (ã)

Nasal vowels are allophones of the respective oral vowels, when followed by a nasal consonant [ŋ] or [ɲ]. Words can not start with [ɛ], [i], [ɔ] nor [u].


Diphthongs can be a combination of any vowel with [j] or [w], as well as [ea], [oe], [oa], [ua].


Fang distinguishes between 4 different tones, conventionally called: high, low, rising and falling. The former two are simple tones, while the latter are compound tones. One vowel in a sequences of vowels can be elided in casual speech, though its tone remains and attaches to the remaining vowel. [6]


In Fang, there are 24 plain consonants. The majority of them can become prenasalized:

Consonant phonemes
Labial Dental Alveolar Alveopalatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b
mp mb
t d
nt nd
k ɡ
ŋk ŋg
k͡p ɡ͡b
ŋk͡p ŋɡ͡b
Affricate t͡s d͡z
nt͡s nd͡z
Fricative f v
ɱf ɱv
s z
ns nz
Approximant l j
Tap ɾ

/h/ is only used in interjections and loanwords. Words can not start with /ŋ/, except when followed by a velar consonant. /ɾ/ and /z/ also are restricted from word-initial position. /g/ and /p/ can only come in word-initial position in words of foreign origin, although in many of these cases, /g/ becomes realized as [ŋg].

The morpheme "gh" is pronounced as ɾ in the case of the word "Beyoghe" (the Fang term for Libreville); one of several changes to pronunciation by morphology.

It is also important to note that in Fang, at every "hiatus" (shock of two vowels), such as in "Ma adzi", it is required for one to make the second word an aphetism, dropping the pronunciation of the sound at the start of the second word (e.g. "Ma dzi") in order to make grammatically correct sentences.


Although the Fang language does not have an official orthography, native speakers happen to use the extended Latin alphabet with specific accents. Due to the enormous geographic region it covers, and the large amount of Fang dialects, the following list may not be entirely accurate; one issue of note is the lack of marking for tones. Regardless, common phrases for the Oyem area of northern Gabon include:

English Fang
Hello (to one person) M'bolo/Mbolo
Hello (to several people) M'bolani/Mbolo'ani
Hello (response) Am'bolo; Am'bolani
How are you? Y'o num vah?
response M'a num vah
Where are you going Wa kuh vay?; Wa ke vé?
I'm going home Ma kuh Andah
Are you okay? Onevoghe?
I'm going to school Ma ke see-kolo
I'm going for a walk Ma ke ma woolou
I'm hungry Ma woh zeng
I'm sick Ma kwan
I understand French Ma wok Flacci
I don't understand Fang Ma wok ki Fang
I don't speak Fang Ma kobe ki Fang
What did you say Wa dzon ah dzeh?
I said... Ma dzon ah...
Holy cow! A tara dzam!
I want to eat Ma cuma adji/adzi
Thank you Akiba
Thank you very much Abora

See also


  1. ^ Fang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Fang (Equatorial Guinea)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Ella, Edgar Maillard (2007-03). A Theoretical Model For a Fang-French-English Specialized Multi-Volume School Dictionary.
  5. ^ Bibang Oyee, Julián-Bibang (2014). Diccionario Español-Fang/Fang-Español. Akal.
  6. ^ Bibang Oyee, Julián (1990). Curso de lengua fang. Centro Cultural Hispano-Guineano

External links

Beti people

The Beti people are a Central African ethnic group primarily found in central Cameroon. They are also found in Equatorial Guinea and northern Gabon. They are closely related to the Bulu people, the Fang people and the Yaunde people, who are all sometimes grouped as Beti-Pahuin peoples.The Beti are found in northern regions of their joint demographic distributions, the Fang in the southern regions, and others in between. Estimates of the total Beti population vary, with many sources placing them at over three million spread from the Atlantic coastal regions near Equatorial Guinea into the hilly, equatorial forest covered highlands of central Africa reaching into the Congo.

Cecilia Fatou-Berre

Cecilia Fatou-Berre (5 July 1901 – 2 November 1989) was a religious sister in the French Congo and later Gabon. Able to speak several languages she taught children and novice sisters throughout Gabon. She rose to become a mother superior and head of the Congregation of the Sisters of St Marie of Gabon.

Fan language

Fan language may refer to:

An alternative spelling of the Fang language

A dialect of the Berom language

Fang language (Cameroon)

Fang is a Southern Bantoid language of Cameroon. It is traditionally classified as a Western Beboid language, but that has not been demonstrated to be a valid family.

"Fang" is the name of the village the language is spoken in.

Fang people

The Fang people, also known as Fãn or Pahouin, are a Central African ethnic group found in Equatorial Guinea, northern Gabon, and southern Cameroon. Representing about 85% of the total population of Equatorial Guinea, concentrated in the Rio Muni region, the Fang people are its largest ethnic group. In other countries, in the regions they live, they are one of the most significant and influential ethnic groups.


Gabon (; French pronunciation: ​[ɡabɔ̃]), officially the Gabonese Republic (French: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.

Since its independence from France in 1960, the sovereign state of Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions.

Abundant petroleum and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 7th highest HDI and the fourth highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles) in the region. GDP grew by more than 6% per year from 2010 to 2012. However, because of inequality in income distribution, a significant proportion of the population remains poor.

La Bastarda

La Bastarda is a novel by Trifonia Melibea Obono originally published in Spanish in 2016. The book is banned in Equatorial Guinea. The book tells the story of Okomo, an orphan who was born a bastard whose mother died during childbirth, and lives in a traditional village in Equatorial Guinea that is about a day's walk from Gabon. She is forced to confront her cultures attitudes about gender roles, requirements for women to have sex for the purpose of reproduction at the direction of men, and sexuality. After being outed, she eventually retreats to the sanctuary of the freedom of the forest.

Trifonia Melibea Obono is considered one of the most avant-garde and brave Black African voices in former colonial Spanish Africa. The book is her second major novel published in Spanish.

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In most tales, the child is lost (Tarzan) or abandoned (Romulus and Remus) before being found and adopted in a chance encounter with a sympathetic wild animal. In some stories, the child chooses to abandon human society (Where the Wild Things Are) or refuses to enter society altogether (Peter Pan). The child usually returns to civilization, but may decide to return again to life in the wild (Tarzan). In some cases, they find themselves trapped between worlds unable to enter entirely into either human society or animal society (Mowgli).

Shiwe language

Shiwe (Chiwa, ʃiwə, Shiwa, Oshieba, Ossyeba), also known as "Fang Makina", is a Bantu language of central Gabon, near the related language Yambe. It is most closely related to Kwasio. The Gabonese people who refer themselves as Shiwe or Bishiwe live in the city of Booué in the Ogooué-Ivindo province. There are no accurate statistics available for the Shiwe population in Booué. However, there are about 18 Shiwe tribes still living in Booué today. These tribes include Bi-mbouma, Bira-ngouembi, Bi-néli, Sha-ntouong, Sha-nguié, Bi-nshwô, Bi-shanga, Bi-kwo, Bi-tsinguie’rg, Sha-shouo, Bi-nvœ’rg, Bi-koundeu, Biong-nkouendi, Bi-ntoubi, Biékoulembi, Bi-nzimili, Bi-nyambi, Sha-tsoung. These tribes live in 5 villages including Beleumeu, Menchoung, Metououng, Beaux Arts, and Tsombiali. It is important to underline that there are entire Shiwe tribes and villages near Makokou and Ndjole. But these originally Shiwe tribes are now increasingly using more the Fang language than Shiwe.

Snowflake (gorilla)

Snowflake (Catalan: Floquet de Neu, Spanish: Copito de Nieve; c. 1964 – 2003) was an albino Western lowland gorilla. He was kept at Barcelona Zoo in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain from 1966 until his death.

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