Gbano language

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RegionSóñ Sòn island, Shohuan
ExtinctJuly 8, 1974
Language family
CWS code

The Gbano language was a language last spoken in 1974 by Sûk Jiáñ. The language was noted for being one of the last of the Pre-Vaniuan languages. The language's inventory was noted for having doubly articulated consonants in most syllables while also claiming to have a distinction between /k͡p/ and /k/.


The Gbano language is believed to have been spoken by some 14,750 in an 1814 on Sóñ Sòn island off the coast of Shohuan. At the time it was a large population for the then mostly left alone island but as industrialization as well as assimilation programs began, most of the inhabitants adopted Shohuanese for trade purposes as it also was seen as a language of the higher classes.

The language's total speaking population dropped significantly to 250 by 1940 with most being above 50 years of age. As soon as the Great Ekuosian War broke out, only some 45 Gbano speakers remained as speaking a non-Shohuanese language was seen as supporting disorder and sabotage within the country. After the war, an attempt to revive the language failed and attempts to get a dictionary of the language's inventory failed as the last speaker, whose name was anonymous by choice, refused to cooperate with authors and publishers.


It is assumed that the language had five vowels: /æ/ /ɛ/ /i/ /o/ /u/; and twelve consonants: /m/ /p/ /b/ /t/ /d/ /ɟ/ /c/ /ŋ/ /k/ /k͡p/ /g͡b/ /w/. However, it is unknown as to whether the language had features added to the vowels or consonants. The few sample words such as the «Gbanou» /g͡bænou/ show little of the stress features or phonotactics but it is assumed that Gbano was a CCV language.