Bangime (=Bangeri Me) (ISO 639-3: dba; Glottolog code: bang1363) 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.

  • Bara (bàrà): N 14 48.30 x W 03 45.47
  • Bounou (bùⁿ): N 14 47.91 x W 03 45.61
  • Dieni (jíjé): N 14 47.14 x W 03 45.75
  • Digari (dígárù): N 14 47.60 x W 03 46.84
  • Dogo (dɔ́rɔ́): N 14 49.36 x W 03 46.84
  • Due (dyé): N 14 48.35 x W 03 46.83
  • Niana (ɲàrⁿà): N 14 48.24 x W 03 46.76

For additional information click on the "geography" tab above. For images click on "photos" tab 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.

Abbie Hantgan, then a graduate student in Indiana University's linguistics program, 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.

After Abbie's departure in early 2013 for a post-doc at SOAS, Jeffrey Heath took over the Bangime language work. A reference grammar, and an article on the tone system, both by Heath & Hantgan, are now pending with publishers and cannot be disseminated here.

In July 2016 we hosted at our Sevare base Hiba Babiker, a graduate student in genetics at Max Planck Institute for the Study of Human History (Jena, Germany). She proceeded to collect saliva samples from Bangande (i.e. Bangime-speaking) and other villages and towns in the area (Dogon, Songhay, Bozo-Jenaama, and Fulbe). The resulting analysis will shed considerable light on population relationships in the area.

Click on the links below for the latest lexical spreadsheet, some recently processed texts, and images of Bangime villages.

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