Journal of the International Phonetic Association

Short Communication


Bruce Connell a1, Firmin Ahoua a2 and Dafydd Gibbon a3
a1 York University, Toronto & SOAS, London
a2 Université de Cocody, Abidjan
a3 Universität Bielefeld, Bielefeld


Ega is an endangered language spoken in the south-central region of Côte d'Ivoire, in Divo Department. The precise number of speakers is not known at present; the 14th Ethnologue (Grimes 2000) reports 291 to 3,000, and notes that ‘the ethnic group is growing, but they are shifting to the Dida language because of intermarriage and other influences’. Our own preliminary and impressionistic work suggests the number of Ega speakers to be closer to the upper end of this range, perhaps around 2,000, but we note that Ega now serves a decreasing number of sociolinguistic functions, to the extent that in at least some villages Dida has replaced Ega as the primary language of daily use. It is also clear that the degree of intergenerational transmission is low in many, if not all, Ega villages.