The bamiléké is a family of languages semi bantoues, spoken by approximately 3 million people to the Cameroun.
- 1,3 million Bamilékés in the high plateaus of the west (Province of the West). This family of language is majority in the province of the West (2 million personnes).
- Plus of 1 million others Bamilékés live in the provinces of the Littoral (Douala), of the south-western and the Center (Yaounde) and employ the languages more or less bamilékés.
Dialects and Classifications
The classification of SIL identifies 11 different languages or dialects.
It • Ghomálá' • and its alternatives is spoken in particular in the departments about the Mifi, of the Koung-Khi, the Top-Plates, the east of the Menoua, and in portions of the Bamboutos. The arts centres most important are Baham, Bafoussam, Bamendjou, Bandjoun, Batié] and [Bansoa.
It • Kwa' • is spoken between the department about Ndé and the province about the Littoral.
- It • Ngwe • around Fontem in the south-west of the province.
Bamiléké has as a principal root Baham, Bandjoun and Bayangam, of the villages of the old department of Mifi, province of the West.
Two different assumptions, dating from the time of the colonization of the Cameroun, explain the origin of this name. The first affirms that an interpreter douala would be at the origin of the word Bamiléké. According to this version, the word Bamiléké comes from the " term; Baboté Ba leké" who would mean “the carriers of mask to the face”. The second supports that the word “Bamiléké” comes from the expression of the language Foto (area of Dschang) “EP me leke” which means “the inhabitants of the mountains and the ravines”. It is the latter which is generally retained.
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