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Bube language information

Native toEquatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon
EthnicityBubi, Wovea
Native speakers
51,000 (2011)[1]
Language family
  • Atlantic–Congo
    • Volta-Congo
      • Benue–Congo
        • Bantoid
          • Southern Bantoid
            • Bantu
              • Mbam-Bube-Jarawan
                • Bube
Early form
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Equatorial Guinea
Language codes
ISO 639-3bvb – inclusive code
Individual code:
bbx – Bubia (Wovea)
Guthrie code
A.31, A.221[2]

Bube, Bohobé or Bube–Benga (Bobe, Bubi) is a Bantu language spoken by the Bubi, a Bantu people native to, and once the primary inhabitants of, Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea. The language was brought to Bioko from continental Africa more than three thousand years ago when the Bubi began arriving on the island.[3]

It has around 50,000 speakers, with three variants: North, South and Central-East. It is noted for its tonal character and the divergence of words by gender. The language is also spoken by Bubi native to Gabon and Cameroon.

The Bube language is divided into six different dialects that vary in the northern and southern regions of Bioko Island. For example, in the North, people speak Rebola and its variations: Basile, Banapa and Basupa. However, in the North-East, Bakake is spoken.

Bube is also spoken in a small area on the mainland closest to the island, where speakers are shifting to Wumboko.[4] This has been reported as "Bube", "Bubia" or "Wovea" (see Wovea people).

The first works on the Bube language were those of the Baptist missionary John Clarke, published in 1846 and 1848.[5] A later Bube-to-English primer was authored in 1875 by William Barleycorn, a colonial era Primitive Methodist missionary of Igbo and Fernandino descent, while he was serving in the Bubi village of Basupu. An official language dictionary and grammar guide was published by the ethnic Bubi scholar Justo Bolekia Boleká.

  1. ^ Bube at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
    Bubia (Wovea) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^; Retrieved 12/08/1998
  4. ^ Harald Hammarström (2013) Review of the Ethnologue, 16th Ed.
  5. ^ See Bibliography.

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