The Mel languages are a branch of Niger–Congo languages spoken in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The most populous is Temne, with about two million speakers; Kissi is next, with half a million.
|Southern (West) Atlantic [reduced]|
|Guinea-Bissau through Liberia|
Mel has traditionally been classified as the bulk of a southern branch of a West Atlantic branch of Niger–Congo. However, these are geographic and typological rather than genealogical groups; Segerer (2010) shows that there is no exclusive relationship between Mel and the other southern languages, Sua (Mansoanka), Gola and Limba.
Fields (2008:83) proposes that the homeland of Proto-Mel is located in the north-central highlands of Sierra Leone just to the south of the Lesser Scarcies River, rather than on the coast. The homeland of Proto-Highlands is located along the middle stretches of the Konkoure River in Guinea, just to the northeast of Conakry (Fields 2008:85).
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mel". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Fields, Edda L. Before "Baga": Settlement Chronologies of the Coastal Rio Nunez Region, Earliest Times to c.1000 CE. In: The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2004), pp. 229-253. Boston University African Studies Center.
- Fields-Black, Edda L. 2008. Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora. (Blacks in the Diaspora.) Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
- Guillaume Segerer & Florian Lionnet 2010. "'Isolates' in 'Atlantic'". Language Isolates in Africa workshop, Lyon, Dec. 4
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