The Myene varieties

Nkomi

The Nkomi variety is spoken around the Fernan Vaz laguna. Our documentation of this variety contains a night-long recording of the epic of Oreniga narrated by Antoinette Omanda.
Oreniga’s older brother, Ogoula, is rich, but still single, which is socially unacceptable for a man of his age and stature. In order to save his brother’s reputation, Oreniga sets off to find him a wife. He leaves his home in the coastal area and enters the inland forests in order to go and marry a girl called Ngwanga, whose beauty is famous throughout the country. (Note that traditionally wives could be transfered between brothers.) Ngwanga’s father, however, has imposed such strict conditions, that all suitors have failed to meet them. With the help of his family and friends Oreniga courageously takes up the challenge and triumphantly passes all the tests imposed on him.
Georgina Omanda (left) et Odette Ambouroue

Adyumba

Adyumba is spoken by a restricted number of elderly speakers in and around the town of Lambaréné. Younger members of the Adyumba community shifted to French.
Enenga

Enenga

Of all Myene varieties, Enenga is most severely threatened with immediate extinction. According to many reports, the variety had completely disappeared since at least two decades, but we found one elderly speaker, Marie-Françoise Essongue. Until last year she and her husband were the only inhabitants of the island village of Simati, which they too have now left. Older members of the Enenga community typically shifted to the Galwa variety (with French as a second languages). Younger speakers (18 years and under) tend to speak French only.
Galwa

Galwa

So far we have documented Galwa mainly with Galwa speakers of the Enenga community. We have also documented children and adolescents, noting that the youngest understand some Galwa, but are unable to answer in the language, whereas older teenagers speak with difficulty. Their speech is marked, among other things, by a breakdown of the noun class agreements.
Mpongwe

Mpongwe

The Mpongwe variety is traditionally spoken in and around the Gabonese capital Libreville. We have not documented this variety yet, but plan to do so in the near future.
Orungu

Orungu

The Orungu variety is spoken in and around the city of Port Gentil. Since it is the mother tongue of two members of the project, Odette Ambouroue and Marjorie Mbengoue Ompouma, all interviews with Myene speakers are taken in the Orungu variety.