Bassa is a member of the Western Kru branch of the Niger-Congo language family. It is spoken mainly in cenral Liberia, and also in western Sierra Leone, by about 740,300 people (in 2020). In Liberia Bassa is spoken by about 733,000 people in the counties of Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong and Montserrado. In Sierra Leone there are about 7,300 speakers of Bassa mainly in Freetown in the Western Area Urban District of the Western Area Province.
Bassa is usually written with the Latin alphabet. Several spelling systems were created during the 20th century by missionaries and the Liberian Ministry of Education. The one shown below was developed in the 1960s by a missionary called June Hobley and was based on an orthography devised by the Rev. Percy E. Clubine in the 1930s. It has been used to print numerous works of Christian literature. The Bassa Vah script is also used to some extent, particularly by older men.
Ɖé nì-díɖí kè ɓɛ̀ɖɛ̀ìn-dyí múɛ, ɖéɛ̀ nyɔǔn-dyù séín wóɖóɛ ɓɛ́ìn wɔ̃. Ké wa ɓéɖé hwìɖìi poìn hwòɖò-dyùà kè ɖɛ múin wɔ̃́-wɔ̃́ sɔ̀ɛ̀ìn ɖé dyɔún, ké wa ɓéɖé ɓɛ́ waà nyuɖɛ̀ ké gbo muìn ɓó ɖíí kà.
Sample text by Peter Gorwor from Liberia
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 Bassa
Online Bassa dictionary
Page last modified: 14.05.21
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