Bamum language is member of the Eastern Grasslands branch of the Bantoid language family. It is spoken mainly in central and northwestern and western parts of Cameroon. In 2005 there were an estimated 420,000 speakers of Bamum, which is also known as Bamoum, Bamoun, Bamum or Shupamem
Until the 1930s, Bamum was written with a syllabic script known as the Bamum Syllabary, which was invented by King Ibrahim Njoya in 1896. After Cameroon became a French colony in 1919, the teaching of this script in schools was banned, and many books and other materials, as well as the printing press set up by King Njoya, were destroyed. Since Camroon became independent in 1960, efforts have been made to preserve materials in the script.
Bamum is written with a version of the Latin alphabet these days, however since 2007 there has been a movement to revive the use of the Bamum Syllabary.
Download script charts for Bamum (Excel)
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Pe nâ mvé gú puen nyütu pô te mbe kú ghét ngam pua ngúenengúe mbe te wûme nsebe pua pa mféékêt. Pen â ntúm te mbe kú rem ngam pua fabshe ngam, a nshi njîr’ap ne yi nshâne ngétne nga shap pô te wupme pontâ.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Bamum
Page last modified: 13.05.21
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