Duala language

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Native to Cameroon
Ethnicity Douala, Mungo
Native speakers
unknown (90,000 cited 1982)[1]
2 million L1 and L2 speakers in Douala (2013)
Duala proper
Oli (Ewodi, Wuri)
Mongo (Muungo)
Language codes
ISO 639-2 dua
ISO 639-3 dua
Glottolog dual1243[2]
Native to Cameroon
Region around Douala
Native speakers
Douala-based pidgin
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Douala (also spelled "Duala Diwala, Dwela, Dualla, and Dwala) is a dialect cluster spoken by the Duala and Mungo peoples of Cameroon. The song "Soul Makossa", as well as pop songs that repeated its lyrics, internationally popularized the Duala word for "(I) dance", "makossa".[1] The song Alane by artist Wes Madiko is sung in Duala and reached #1 position in over 9 European countries.

Douala belongs to the Bantu language family, in a subgroup called Sawabantu. Maho (2009) treats Douala as a cluster of five languages: Douala proper, Bodiman, Oli (Ewodi, Wuri), Pongo, and Mongo. He also notes a Douala-based pidgin named Jo.


  1. E. Dinkelacker, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Hamburg, 1914.
  2. Paul Helmlinger, Dictionnaire duala-français, suivi d'un lexique français-duala. Editions Klincksieck, Paris, 1972.
  3. Johannes Ittmann, edited by E. Kähler-Meyer, Wörterbuch der Duala-Sprache, Dictionnaire de la langue duala, Dictionary of the Duala Language, Dietrich Reimer, Berlin, 1976. The preface evaluates ref. 1 above as terse, but good, while ref. 2 has missing and erroneous tone marks.


  1. Douala at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Duala". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online

External links