Bena-Yungur

Dmitry Idiatov & Mark Van de Velde

Bena-Yungur (glottocode: bena1260), is a language from the Bena-Mboi group traditionally classified as a subgroup of Adamawa, in which it occupies an isolated position according to Kleinewillinghöfer (to appear). Bena-Yungur is primarily spoken in Song LGA of Adamawa State to the northwest of the state capital Yola. The speakers refer to their languages as ẽ́ː ɓə́nā(ː) ‘the Bena language’. The name Yungur is originally an exonym, but today it is regularly used by the Bena themselves when speaking in other languages. Since speakers of the Lala varieties of the Bena-Mboi group identify themselves as Bena as well, Kleinewillinghöfer (1993) proposes to use Bena-Yungur as the name of the language, a convention we follow.

We gathered initial data with about ten speakers in the village of Dumne during a pilot study in Adamawa State in 2011. Due to the insecurity in the region, we subsequently invited native speaker consultants to come and work with us in Kwara State for periods in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Our main consultants are Bitrus Andrew and Sabeta Musa Bukta. Their variety of Bena-Yungur is the Pra (pə̯́rá) dialect of Dumne, also our reference dialect

An overview of basic phonology and morphosyntax of Bena-Yungur can be found in Van de Velde & Idiatov (2017) and Idiatov & Van de Velde (forthcoming). An overview of some interesting phonetic features of Bena-Yungur in relation to its influence on the L2 English as spoken by the Bena-Yungur can be found in Idiatov (forthcoming).

We are happy to present the first version of the Bena-English dictionary app (Idiatov, Van de Velde, Bonnet 2017) that we produced in collaboration with the project LR-4.11 “Automatic paradigm generation and language description” of Labex EFL.

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