Recent book on standardization of Gabonese languages

Ecriture et Standardisation des Langues Gabonaises, sous la direction de Jacques Hubert & Paul Achille Mavoungou (Stellenbosch: Sun Press, 2010). From back cover: “The language situation of Gabon is given fair treatment and specific issues of alphabet and writing, orthography and standardisation, phonology and graphic representation are discussed and resolved. Standardisation of orthography is also argued for as a way to facilitate the development of dictionaries and the sharing of research data and analyses within the Gabonese language clusters’ domain. Importantly, this work contributes to the debate on the state of African languages in general, and on Gabonese languages specifically that hitherto have had little fortune in being reduced to a written code. The need for research to empower Gabonese languages through their development is argued.” (Andy Chebanne, Centre for the Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), Cape Town.) Contributions are all in French.

Categories: African Languages, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Post navigation

6 thoughts on “Recent book on standardization of Gabonese languages

  1. Will have to check this out! I ran into something a few years back that took me the longest time to figure out it was written in Punu. There’s an earlier (2006) dissertation, also from Stellenbosch, by Ludwine Mabika Mbokou, who references an alphabet scientifique des langues du Gabon (ASG), from 1989, which includes extended Latin characters. A later effort by the Séminaire sur les travaux sur l’orthographe des langues gabonaises, organized through the Ministry of Education and the national commission for UNESCO, published a set of rules as the Orthographe des Langues du Gabon (OLG), in 1999, which includes no extended Latin except a schwa, and puts single underscores under e, n, and o for ɛ, ŋ, and ɔ. It’ll be interesting to see the recommendations of this book against that context, and to see what recently published dictionaries are using.

  2. Denis

    There’s some info on the French Wikipedia about the OLG and ASG, but I haven’t got around to translating them to English yet. Some schools also use Rapidolangue, another transcription system without extended Latin and also with underscores. It would definitely be interesting to know what is the current state of these systems.

  3. This book discusses Rapidolangue. I don’t have the book at hand now, but here’s the contents note:
    Etat des lieux sur l’enseignement des langues gabonaises : le Rapidolangue et l’orthographe / Jacques Hubert — Alphabet et ecriture : approche historique et cas des langues gabonaises / Hughes Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza — Alphabet et orthographe : critères, qualités, conditions et vulgarisation dans le cas du Gabon / Thierry Afane Otsaga — Orthographe, standardisation et confection des dictionnaires en yilumbu, yipunu et civili / Paul Achille Mavoungou — La place des tons dans l’orthographe des langues gabonaises / Léandre Serge Soami — Unités-langues et standardisation dans les langues gabonaises / Hughes Steve Ndinga-Koumba-Binza.

  4. I can see a simplified system being useful for texting, especially, although ensuring consistency of use across languages would be tricky to maintain. Gérard Galtier gave a paper last September about use of Soninke on the internet, with a lot of variability in the workarounds for input: ‘gn’, ‘ni’, ‘ny’, etc. for ‘ɲ’, as it’s commonly taught.

  5. Denis

    According to p.119-120, yet another writing scheme is proposed in this book. For example [ɛ], [ɔ], [y].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: