Dogon and Bangime Linguistics

Stefan Elders (dec. 2007) Abbie Hantgan with Bangime assistant (2009)
Stefan Elders (deceased 2007) Abbie Hantgan with Bangime assistant (2009)


Bangime (=Bangeri Me) (ISO 639-3: dba) is an apparent language isolate with no demonstrated genetic relatives. It is of great potential interest to African linguistics as a possible pre-Niger-Congo remnant similar to Basque in Europe. Alternatively, it could represent a population displacement from farther east in Africa. It is spoken in a small cluster of villages (the largest being Bounou) that are located in a canyon in the inselbergs northeast of Mopti-Sevare. The nearest market towns on the highway from Mopti to Gao are the villages of Sambere (market on Sunday) and Kona (market on Thursday).

While the existence of a very distinctive "Dogon" language in this village cluster has been known for some time, Roger Blench deserves credit for visiting the area and making his information, including a short lexicon and a literature review, available to scholars on his website.

Blench gives the coordinates for Bounou as N 14:47:50 x W 3:45:40. GPS Coordinates recorded by Heath for the various Bangime-speaking villages are as follows (the Bangime name in transcription is given in parentheses), given in degrees, minutes, and decimal fractions of minutes.

For additional information click on "geography" above. For images click on "photos" above and scroll to geography images.

Intensive study of Bangime was begun by Dutch linguist Stefan Elders in September 2006 as part of this Dogon project. He died tragically in Mali after a brief illness on February 19 2007. At the age of 41 he had already built an important career as a West Africanist, and this was a great loss to the field as well as to our project.

Indiana U Linguistics Grad student Abbie Hantgan resumed work on Bangime, again as part of this Dogon project, with a stay in Bounou during summer 2008 and annual trips since. She received additional support from Indiana University. She also works on Kindige, part of the Najamba-Kindige group. See the lexicons page for Abbie's Bondu-So (aka Najamba-Kindige) lexicon and word list.

See also Abbie's work on Tiefo, a severely endangered Gur language of SW Burkina Faso at her personal webpage:

Below are links to materials we were able to salvage from Stefan's fieldwork, and to Abbie's working drafts.

Abbie Hantgan:

Stefan Elders:

Abbie Hantgan presentations:

©2005-2013 Jeffrey Heath