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Niger-Congo languages

The Niger–Congo language family is the largest group of Africa (and probably of the world) in terms of the number of languages. One of its salient features is an elaborate noun class system with grammatical concord. The vast majority of languages of this family are tonal such as Yoruba and Igbo, Ashanti, and Ewe language. A major branch of Niger–Congo languages is the Bantu family, which covers a greater geographic area than the rest of the family put together.

The Niger–Kordofanian language family, joining Niger–Congo with the Kordofanian languages of south-central Sudan, was proposed in 1950s by Joseph Greenberg. Today, linguists often use "Niger–Congo" to refer to this entire family, including Kordofanian as a subfamily. One reason for this is that it is not clear whether Kordofanian was the first branch to diverge from rest of Niger–Congo. Mande has been claimed to be equally or more divergent. Niger–Congo is generally accepted by linguists, though a few question the inclusion of Mande and Dogon, and there is no conclusive evidence for the inclusion of Ubangian.

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