Ega language

Ega, also known as Egwa and Diés, is a West African language spoken in south-central Ivory Coast. It is of uncertain affiliation and has variously been classified as Kwa or an independent branch of Niger-Congo.

Native toIvory Coast
Regionnear Gly or Gli, Sud-Bandama region
Native speakers
2,500 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ega

Ega has the full noun class system for which the Bantu languages are known.


Ega is spoken in 21 villages near Gly in Diés Canton, Gôh-Djiboua District, Ivory Coast (Bole-Richard 1983: 359).[3] Some villages are Broudougou, Gly, Dairo, Didizo, and Douzaroko.[4]

The Ega people are increasing in number, though some are shifting to Dida through intermarriage.


Ega is possibly a divergent Western Kwa language within the Niger–Congo language family spoken in Ivory Coast. It does not appear to belong to any of the traditional branches of Niger–Congo. Though traditionally assumed to be one of the Kwa languages, Roger Blench (2004) conservatively classified it as a separate branch of the Atlantic–Congo family, pending a demonstration that it is actually related to the Kwa or Volta–Niger languages. However, Blench (2017) classified Ega as a fully Western Kwa language that has borrowed from Kru, Gur, and Mande.[4]


Ega has twenty-seven consonants. Its stops have a three-way contrast between voiceless, voiced, and implosive.

Consonant phonemes[5]
Labial Alveolar Dorsal
front plain labial
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
implosive ɓ ɗ ʄ ɠ ɠɓ
voiced b d ɟ ɡ gb
voiceless p t c k kp
Fricative voiced v z
voiceless f s x
Approximant l j w

There are nine vowels, with ATR contrast: /i̙/, /i̘/, /u̙/, /u̘/, /e̙/, /e̘/, /o̙/, /o̘/, and /a/.

There are three tones: high, mid, and low.


  1. ^ Ega at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ega". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Bole-Richard, R. 1983a. Ega. In: Atlas des langues Kwa de Côte d’ivoire, Vol 1. ed. G. Herault. 359-401. Abidjan: ILA.
  4. ^ a b Blench, Roger. 2017. The Ega language of Cote d'Ivoire: how can it be classified?
  5. ^ Connell, Bruce and Ahoua, Firmin and Gibbon, Dafydd. 2002. Illustrations of the IPA: Ega. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 32. 99–104. Cambridge University Press.