Roger Blench: East Benue-Congo subgroups



The name Benue-Congo has had a rather chequered history. Originating with Westermann’s Benue Cross-Fluss, it became the usual term to refer to the noun-class languages of east-central Nigeria, reified in the Benue-Congo Comparative Wordlist. During the 1980s, the evidence for remnant noun classes in former Eastern Kwa, Yoruboid etc., seemed persuasive enough to merge the two into an enlarged Benue-Congo. This framework still appears in many reference texts. However, the linguistic, as opposed to typological evidence for this was always slight. I now consider that we should revert to the original definition, which I have called ‘East Benue-Congo’ provisonally. The languages west of the Niger, with none or fragmentary noun-classes, I now group together in a branch called ‘Volta-Niger’ which includes these languages plus Gbe. Bantu and Bantoid languages wold also constitute a branch of Benue-Congo, but these are given their own pages.


Overviews or general materials




Comparative East Benue-Congo


Benue-Congo Comparative Wordlist

New version


Subgroups of East Benue-Congo



Cross River







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