A grammar of Gyeli

Nadine Grimm  


This grammar offers a grammatical description of the Ngòló variety of Gyeli, an endangered Bantu (A80) language spoken by 4,000-5,000 "Pygmy" hunter-gatherers in southern Cameroon. It represents one of the most comprehensive descriptions of a northwestern Bantu language.

The grammatical description, which is couched in a form-to-function approach, covers all levels of language, ranging from Gyeli phonology to its information structure and complex clauses.

It draws on nineteen months of fieldwork carried out as part of the "Bagyeli/Bakola" DoBeS (Documentation of Endangered Languages) project between 2010 and 2014. The resulting multimodal corpus from that project, which includes texts of diverse genres such as traditional stories, narratives, multi-party conversations and dialogues, procedural texts, and songs, provides the empirical basis for the grammatical description. The documentary text collection, supplemented by data from elicitation work, questionnaires, and experiments, are accessible in the Bagyeli/Bakola collection of The Language Archive. With additional ethnographic, sociolinguistic, diachronic, and comparative remarks, the grammar may appeal to a wider audience in general linguistics, typology, Bantu studies, and anthropology.

In 2019, the grammar received the Pāṇini Award by the Association for Linguistic Typology.



Author Biography

Nadine Grimm, University of Rochester

Nadine Grimm is an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at the University of Rochester. She defended her Ph.D. thesis at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2015. Her research takes place in a descriptive, documentary, and typological framework with a special focus on the grammatical tone, language contact, and phonetic features of plosives in northwestern Bantu languages. Nadine has worked on the Gyeli language since 2010. Previously, she studied the numeral system of Ikaan, a Benue-Congo language of Nigeria.


March 22, 2021
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Cite as
Grimm, Nadine. 2021. A grammar of Gyeli. (Comprehensive Grammar Library 2). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4737370


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)

‎ 978-3-98554-007-5

Physical Dimensions

170mm x 240mm