Duli – Gewe (Gueve, Gey)

Ulrich Kleinewillinghöfer, revised April 2015

Duli and Gewe (Gueve) are settlements situated on opposite banks of the upper Benue in the wider area where Mayo Kebbi (Kebi/Kabi) joins River Benue. Probably the oldest map showing the positions of these two places is the one of Petermanns 1854 which illustrates and combines the information of the journeys by Barth, Vogels, Overweg propped up with data extracted from the reports of Denham & Clapperton.

Duli and Gey or Gewe are/were also the names referring to the languages formerly spoken in these settlements. The only data published on these languages appear to be the lexical entries for  "Duli (Gewe)" in Strümpell 1922/23 (as a part of his comparative wordlists), and the numbers from 1-10 for Duli and Gewe presented in Baudelaire 1944. The numbers in Baudelaire clearly correspond to the equivalent numbers cited by Strümpell. While Strümpell seems to equate Gewe and  Duli (linguistically), Baudelaire's data and information about the sites where Duli and Gewe are/were spoken rather indicate that Duli and Gewe refer to distinct (local) groups, who spoke closely related lects, probably variants of a single language. As regards the Guéwé and the Douli Beaudelaire (1937: 17) notes: "Il s'agit de deux races, aux dialectes voisins, mais qui sont, comme les Niam-Niam il y a quelques années ... en voie d'extinction." (Quoted from Mohammadou 1983:76):

Nowadays, neither Duli nor Gewe or Gey appear to be spoken any more. Duli is reported as extinct in the Ethnologue. It is listed as a member of the Duru Group, with the comment that it may be the same as Gey. The classification of Duli follows Boyd (1989:184) who presents Duli as one of the three branches of his Duru Group. Gey (Gueve, Gewe) on the other hand is listed in the Ethnologue as a separate group of Adamawa which only contains the extinct language Gey.

However, based on the lexical items presented in Stümpell 1922/23, the extinct Duli - Gewe (Gey) language unit does not appear to be part of Samba-Duru nor its Duru subgroup, though it probably links up to the same 'Central Adamawa' branch within Adamawa-Gur.

 

References:

Baudelaire, H. 1944. La numération de 1 à 10 dans les dialectes Habé de Garoua, Guider, Poli et Rey Bouba. Bulletin de la Société d'Études Camerounaises 5: 23-30.

Baudelaire, M. 1937. Eléments d'une notice sur la Subdivision de Garoua.

Boyd, Raymond. 1989. Adamawa-Ubangi. - in: Bendor-Samuel, John. (ed.) The Niger-Congo languages. Lanham - New York - London: Summer Institute of Linguistics; 178-215.

Lewis, M. Paul, Gary F. Simons, and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2013. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Seventeenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: http://www.ethnologue.com.

Mohammadou, Eldridge.1983. Peuples et royaumes du Foumbina. Institute for the Study of Langugages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Tokyo.

Petermann, Augustus. 1854. Map of Part of Central Africa showing the routes of the expedition performed under the sanction of H.M. Government by Messrs Richardson, Barth & Overweg in the years 1851 and 1852. In: Petermann, Augustus. An account of the progress of the expedition to Central Africa in the years 1850, 1851, 1852, and 1853, under Richardson, Barth, Overweg and Vogel, consisting of maps and illustrations with descriptive notes. London and Gotha.

Strümpell, F. 1922/23. 'Wörterverzeichnis der Heidensprachen des Mandaragebirges', Zeitschrift für Eingeborenensprachen, 13: 47-75, 109-149.

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