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Fon language

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Title: Fon language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Languages of Benin, Benin, Music of Togo, Cotonou, West African Vodun
Collection: Fon People, Gbe Languages, Languages of Benin
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Fon language

Fon
Fon gbè
Native to Benin, Togo
Ethnicity Fon nu
Native speakers
2.2 million  (2000–2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2 fon
ISO 639-3 Variously:
fon – Fon
mxl – Maxi
guw – Gun
gbh – Defi
wem – Weme
cib – Ci
Gbe languages

Fon (native name Fon gbè, pronounced ) is part of the Gbe language cluster and belongs to the Volta–Niger branch of the Niger–Congo languages. Fon is spoken mainly in Benin by approximately 1.7 million speakers, by the Fon people. Like the other Gbe languages, Fon is an analytic language with an SVO basic word order.

Contents

  • Dialects 1
  • Phonology 2
  • Orthography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Dialects

Capo (1988) considers Maxi and Gun to be part of the Fon dialect cluster. However, he does not include Alada or Toli (Tɔli) as part of Gun, as classified by Ethnologue, but as Phla–Pherá languages.

Phonology

"Welcome" (Kwabɔ) in Fon at a pharmacy at Cotonou Airport in Cotonou, Benin
Fon has seven oral vowel phonemes and five nasal vowel phonemes.
Vowel phonemes of Fon[2]
Front Central Back
Close i   ĩ u   ũ
Close-Mid e   o  
Open-mid ɛ   ɛ̃ ɔ   ɔ̃
Open a   ã
Consonant phonemes of Fon[2]
Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Labial-
velar
"Nasal" m ~ b n ~ ɖ    
Occlusive (p) t d t͡ʃ d͡ʒ   k ɡ k͡p ɡ͡b
Fricative f v s z     x ɣ ɣʷ
Approximant   l ~ ɾ   ɲ ~ j   w

/p/ only occurs in

  • Map of Fon (Fongbe) language from the LL-Map Project
  • Fon is Fun!
  • A Facebook application to use and learn the Fon language, developed by Jolome.com
  • The first blog totally in Fongbe. An access to a Fongbe forum is given
  • Journal of West African Languages: Articles on Fon
  • Manuel dahoméen : grammaire, chrestomathie, dictionnaire français-dahoméen et dahoméen-français, 1894 by Maurice Delafosse at the Internet Archive

External links

  1. ^ Fon at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Maxi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Gun at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Defi at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Weme at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Ci at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ a b Claire Lefebvre; Anne-Marie Brousseau (2002). A Grammar of Fongbe. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 15–29.  
  3. ^ This is a matter of perspective; it could also be argued that [b] and [ɖ] are denasalized allophones of /m/ and /n/ before oral vowels.

References

GBETA GBƐ Ɔ BI TƆN EE ƉƆ XÓ DÓ ACƐ E GBƐTƆ ƉÓ KPODO SISI E ƉO NA ƉÓ N'I LƐ KPO WU E WEXWLE
Ee nyi ɖɔ hɛnnu ɖokpo mɛ ɔ, mɛ ɖokpoɖokpo ka do susu tɔn, bɔ acɛ ɖokpo ɔ wɛ mɛbi ɖo bo e ma sixu kan fɛn kpon é ɖi mɛɖesusi jijɛ, hwɛjijɔzinzan, kpodo fifa ni tiin nu wɛkɛ ɔ bi e ɔ, ...

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Sample text

X is used for /x/ in some orthographies, h in others. In many texts e, o are used in nasal contexts: me [mɛ̃], Fon [fɔ̃]. Tone is generally not written except when necessary.

Fon alphabet
Majuscule A B C D Ɖ E Ɛ F G GB I J K KP L M N NY O Ɔ P R S T U V W X Y Z
Minuscule a b c d ɖ e ɛ f g gb i j k kp l m n ny o ɔ p r s t u v w x y z
Sound a b d ɖ e ɛ f ɡ ɡb i k kp l m n ɲ o ɔ p ɣ s t u v w x j z

Orthography

In Ouidah, a rising or falling tone is realized as a mid tone. For example, 'we, you', phonemically high-tone /bĩ́/ but phonetically rising because of the voiced consonant, is generally mid-tone [mĩ̄] in Ouidah.

/ xʷèví-sà-tɔ́ é xɔ̀ àsɔ̃́ wè /
[ xʷèvísáꜜtɔ́ ‖ é ꜜxɔ̂ | àsɔ̃́ wê ‖ ]
fish-sell-aɡent s/he PERF buy crab two
Hwevísatɔ́, é ko hɔ asón we.
"The fishmonger, she bought two crabs"

In longer phonological words, such as verb and noun phrases, a high tone tends to persist until the final syllable; if that syllable has a phonemic low tone, it becomes falling (high–low). Low tones disappear between high tones, but their effect remains as a downstep. Rising tones (low–high) simplify to HIGH after HIGH (without triggering downstep) and to LOW before HIGH.

Fon has two phonemic tones, HIGH and LOW. High is realized as rising (low–high) after a voiced consonant. Basic disyllabic words have all four possibilities: HIGHHIGH, HIGHLOW, LOWHIGH, and LOWLOW.

Tone

The only consonant clusters in Fon have /l/ or /j/ as the second consonant; after (post)alveolars, /l/ is optionally realized as [ɾ]: klɔ́ 'to wash', wlí 'to catch', jlò [d͡ʒlò] ~ [d͡ʒɾò] 'to want'.

. /i/ before [ɥ] may be assimilated to /w/ are also nasalized before nasal vowels; /l/ and /w/ [3]; Fongbe therefore can be argued to have no phonemic nasal consonants, a pattern rather common in West Africa.[j̃] is in free variation with [ɲ]. allophones are [ɖ] [n] and [b] [m]

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