Lameen Souag at Jabal al-Lughat has a post about a language hitherto unknown to me (and almost everyone):

A tantalizingly brief note of 1931 in the Gold Coast Review describes an ethnic group called the Mpre, found only in the village of Butie in central Ghana (8° 52′ N, 1° 15′ W) near the confluence of the White and Black Voltas, apart from a few emigrants in Debre. According to the author’s description, the Mpre people, once more widespread, were reduced to a single village in the course of comparatively recent wars with the Asante. Noting that their language was “different to that of the surrounding tribes”, he lists 106 words of Mpre. This short vocabulary appears to be the only existing record of the language, which is believed to be extinct. The gap is all the more unfortunate because Mpre turns out to be of some taxonomic significance. It is not closely related to any of its neighbors, and Heine and Nurse (2000) treat it as unclassified. A friend of mine’s paper dealing partly with this will be appearing sometime soonish, but I won’t spoil the surprise.
You might think, given all this, that it was impossible to retrieve any information on its grammar. However, you would be wrong! Fellow language geeks may find it an interesting exercise to try their hand at extracting grammar information from the wordlist, which Blench gives a copy of [actually he says they’re “available from the author at”], before reading on…

You can go to Lameen’s post for the details; Wikipedia has a brief article on Mpre, with citations.


  1. Thanks for that. Just thought you might like to know that Wikipedia is now inaccessible to those of us who are in China as it has been blocked by the Chinese government.

  2. I’m sure it’s for your own good, loyal worker!

  3. Here’s the Wiki article for ya, bathrobe!
    Mpre language
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Mpre is a language spoken or once spoken in the village of Butie (8°52? N 1°15? W) in Ghana, near the confluence of the Black and White Voltas. It is known only from a 70-word list given in a 1931 article. It bears no close resemblance to its neighbours; it may be a Niger-Congo language, or a language isolate.
    Painter (1967) briefly states that “?p??? has died” and that the ethnic group (“the Nnyamase-mpr?”) have “become Nnyamase-Gonja”; he appears to regard it as having been a dialect of Gonja.
    Cardinall, A.W. 1931. “A survival”. Gold Coast Review, V,1:193-197.
    Painter, Colin. 1967. “The Distribution of Guang in Ghana, and a Statistical Pre-Testing on Twenty-Five Idiolects,” The Journal of West African Languages, Vol. 4, No. 1, Cambridge University Press, Ibadan, pp. 25-78.
    External link
    Blench, Roger (1999) Recent Field Work in Ghana: Report on Dompo and a note on Mpre. (

  4. Thanks!

  5. I was wondering if you could assist me? I need a site or reference point to find common linguistic challenges for someone originally from Greece but speaking American English.

Speak Your Mind