About Ega

Page Index

The content of this page was developed from the research of
Dafydd Gibbon, Bruce Connell, and Firmin Ahoua.


Ega, spoken in east central Côte d'Ivoire is the westernmost Kwa-related language (Niger-Congo phylum), an isolate within the Dida (Kru) speaking area, with no known closely related languages. The classification is tentative and somewhat controversial. The influence of Kru (Bete and Godie) is strong, and minority opinion suggests that Ega is not Kwa but a true Niger-Congo isolate, a remnant language. Ega has more complex phonetics, phonology and morphology than other Kwa languages, indicating, at least, the presence of reflexes of archaic stages of Kwa language development.

Sociolinguistic factors

Several social and political factors contribute to the endangerment of Ega. The most salient factors which make Ega a prime candidate as the focal point of a model documentation project, are the following:

Linguistic properties

Preliminary investigations indicated that Ega has the following known linguistic properties which in themselves justify careful and systematic documentation before the language becomes extinct:

  1. The most complete and still active series of contrastive voiced implosive consonants, including palatal, labio-velar implosives in contrast with non-implosives. Mbatto (Kwa) has similar features, but is in the process of losing the contrast.
  2. The most complete nine vowel ATR harmony that consistently operates in prosodic words.
  3. Complex vowel hiatus, described in a recent MA thesis (Dago 1999).
  4. The most complete system of nominal and gender class prefixes (Bolé-Richard 1983), which have already been widely attested in Benue-Congo languages, suggesting that the nominal classes have been almost been entirely lost in other Kwa languages. This leads to the hypothesis that documentation of Ega has the potential to make a significant contribution to the understanding of the unity of the Niger-Congo language family.
  5. A complex conjugation with an intricate tense/aspect system rarely documented among Kwa languages (Bolé-Richard 1982).

Follow the path of the Ega data

  1. Get Started: Summary of the Ega conversion
  2. Build a Lexicon: Lexicons page (Classroom)
  3. Encode Characters: Unicode pages (Classroom)
  4. Create an IGT: IGT pages (Classroom)
  5. Convert Audio Data: Audio pages (Classroom)
  6. Convert Video Data: Video pages (Classroom)
  7. Utilize an Ontology: Ontology pages (Classroom)

User Contributed Notes
E-MELD School of Best Practices: About Ega
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