Guere language

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Native to Ivory Coast
Region Dix-Huit Montagnes, Moyen-Cavally
Native speakers
320,000 (1998–1999)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
gxx – Central Gere (Southern Wee)
wec – Neyo (Western Wee)
Glottolog guer1240[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Guéré (Gere), also called (Wee), is a Kru language spoken by over 300,000 people in the Dix-Huit Montagnes and Moyen-Cavally regions of Ivory Coast.


The phonology of Guere (here the Zagna dialect of Central Guere / Southern Wè)[3] is briefly sketched out below.


The consonant phonemes are as follows:

  Bilabial Labiodental Labial-velar Alveolar Palatal Velar Labialized velar
Stops p b   k͡p ɡ͡b t d c ɟ k ɡ ɡʷ
Implosives   ɓ            
Nasals   m       n   ɲ    
Fricatives   f v   s z      
Lateral approximant         l      
Approximants           j     w

Allophones of some of these phonemes include:

  • [k͡m] is an allophone of /k͡p/ before nasal vowels
  • [ŋ͡m] is an allophone of /ɡ͡b/ before nasal vowels
  • [ŋʷ] is an allophone of /w/ before nasal vowels
  • [ɗ] is an allophone of /l/ in word-initial position
  • [r] is an allophone of /l/ after a coronal consonant (alveolar or palatal)

In addition, while the nasal consonants /m, n/ and contrast with /ɓ/ and /l/ before oral vowels, and are thus separate phonemes, before nasal vowels only the nasal consonants occur. /ɓ/ and /l/ do not occur before nasal vowels, suggesting that historically a phonemic merger between these sounds and the nasals /m, n/ may have occurred in this position.


Like many West African languages, Guere makes use of a contrast between vowels with advanced tongue root and those with retracted tongue root. In addition, nasal vowels contrast phonemically with oral vowels.

  Oral Nasal
Front Back Front Back
Close (ATR) i u ĩ ũ
Close (RTR) ɪ ʊ ɪ̃ ʊ̃
Mid (ATR) e o   õ
Mid (RTR) ɛ ɔ ɛ̃ ɔ̃
Open (RTR)   a   ã


Guere is a tonal language and contrasts ten tones:

Tone IPA Example Gloss
Low  ˩ ɡ͡ba˩ "to scatter"
Mid  ˧ ɡ͡ba˧ "to destroy"
High  ˦ mɛ˦ "to die"
Top  ˥ ji˥ "full"
Low–high rising  ˩˦ ɡ͡bla˩˦ "hat"
Low–top rising  ˩˥ k͡plɔ̃˩˥ "banana"
Mid–high rising  ˧˦ ɓlo˧˦ "wall"
High–top rising  ˦˥ de˦˥ "younger brother"
High–low falling  ˦˩ ɡ͡ba˩a˦˩ "goat"
Mid–low falling  ˧˩ sre˧˩ "penis"

See also[edit]

  • Wobe AKA Northern Wè


  1. ^ Central Gere (Southern Wee) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Neyo (Western Wee) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Guere". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Paradis, Carole (1983). Description phonologique du guéré. Abidjan: Institut de Linguistique Appliquée, Université d'Abidjan.