family of central Africa, with members in the Central African Republic
, and adjoining areas of Nigeria
(Kinshasa), and Congo (Brazzaville). Its name comes from the Adamawa Massif
, a mountainous region between Cameroon and Nigeria, and the Ubangi
River, the southern border of the CAR.
There are no well-known members of the family; main national languages include Gbaya and Banda in the Central African Republic and Zande in Congo (Kinshasa), and the Central African lingua franca called Sango. The (over-precise) Ethnologue database distinguishes 157 Adamawa-Ubangi languages. There are perhaps 4 million speakers altogether.
The group was proposed by Joseph Greenberg in his classification of African languages of around 1960, under the name Adamawa-Eastern, pas a branch of the pan-African Niger-Kordofanian superfamily. In 1971 Samarin proposed the name Adamawa-Ubangi, which seems to be accepted now.
Typology: SVO or SOV, prepositional, NG (GN in one), NA (AN in some Ubangi).