Mungaka (Fall 2014)

Me and my language

Elise in Northwest Cameroonian Outfit

English and French are official languages of Cameroon, a heritage of Cameroon’s colonial past as both a colony of the United Kingdom and France from 1916 to 1960. The nation strives toward bilingualism, but in reality, very few Cameroonians speak both French and English, and many speak neither.

Mungaka is a language spoken by the people of Bali Nyonga. Bali Nyonga is located in the Northwest Province of Cameroon and lying about 20km southeast of the Northwest Provincial capital, Bamenda, Bali Nyonga is the home of about 85,000 residents. Bali Nyonga got its name from Princess Na’nyonga, who founded it in the early 19th century.

Map of Bali Nyonga Sub-Division

Bali Nyonga is steeped in a rich history and possesses a strong cultural heritage which contributes to its uniqueness within Cameroon. As the home of the earliest Basel Missionaries in the Grassfields, Bali Nyonga hosts an array of architectural treasures such as the Presbyterian Church in Ntanfoang built by the missionaries in 1902. The Basel Mission School and Cemetery constructed by the German missionaries were also the first built in the Grassfields region of Cameroon.

Bali Nyonga’s rich culture and tradition is reflected in its social organization language, rites, rituals and other cultural ceremonies. Bali people are very friendly, welcoming and respectful.


Name: Elise Ngati
Preferred language name(s): Mungaka
Alternative names: Bali
Language classification: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Bantoid, Southern, Wide Grassfields, Narrow Grassfields, Mbam-Nkam, Nun
Geographical areas where spoken:
Approximate number of monolingual speakers: 63,000
Other languages spoken in the area/country: English, French, Hausa, lingua franca
Official language(s) in your country: English, French
Does your language have a widely accepted writing system? No
If yes, what materials are written?  There is a Bible written in Latin script.

Language Background
What have other sources said about your language?

Reported # of speakers      Vitality Assessment        not listed                                50,100                        Vigorous (6a)                               No info

at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa