In Europe, national borders tend to be drawn around the linguistic makeup of the continent, with each major language fitting squarely into a single country. Of course, that’s a simplistic view—various minority languages exist across Europe, particularly in the Romance-speaking countries, but countries and languages line up quite cleanly across the continent. Africa is entirely different—most African countries boast dozens, if not hundreds, of indigenous languages, and many languages across the continent are spoken widely in regions of multiple countries. That’s what brings us to Kpelle, divided relatively evenly between Liberia and Guinea.
With 1.3 million speakers, Kpelle is a major language in West Africa—but it’s not native to any one single country. With roughly 500,000 speakers in Guinea and another 500,000 in Liberia, the language can’t be pinpointed to a single country. An additional 300,000 or so Kpelle speakers live in Côte d’Ivoire, which, though smaller than the populations in Guinea and Liberia, is still sizeable. But has Kpelle’s status as a major language in three African countries garnered it much recognition on the international stage? Not really—we at TranslationServices.com stand as one of the only translation agencies to present a Kpelle translation team.
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Kpelle: a transnational Mande language
Kpelle constitutes the single largest indigenous language in Liberia and ranks in fifth place in Guinea, but it’s an important language in both. In Liberia, Kpelle is taught in school, though the diverse populace is generally united under Liberian Kreyol, an English-based creole that most Liberians learn as a second language to communicate with their fellow countrymen. Kpelle is almost always written in the Latin alphabet, but it was briefly written in the Kpelle syllabary, which has since been classified as a failed script.
Kpelle belongs to the Mande branch of Niger–Congo languages, which makes it related to well-known Bantu languages like Swahili and Zulu, but Kpelle lacks the complex noun class system that Bantu languages are notorious for. Kpelle does make a distinction between alienable and inalienable nouns, however, with inalienable nouns referring to things that are an integral part of a person, such as body parts or names. Inalienable nouns must always appear in possessed form, taking a prefix to indicate whose it is. Alienable nouns come in specific and non-specific forms, similar to the distinction between “a/an” and “the” in English, but Kpelle differentiates these forms by changing the initial consonant.
We’re dedicated to high-quality Kpelle translation services.
Our mission is to consistently deliver high-quality, reliable Kpelle translation services, no matter what your specific needs are. Looking for translation from English to Kpelle? We’re here to help you connect with Kpelle speakers from all over West Africa. Seeking translation services from Kpelle to English? We can help you take your message abroad. Liberia, Guinea, and Côte d’Ivoire all speak different varieties of Kpelle, but since we’ve sourced our translators from all three countries, we can easily translate any Kpelle dialect you may need.
Our translation services also stretch across different domains, including business, academia, and literature. If you want to move your business to Kpelle, we can help you translate contracts and manuals into Kpelle as you look to hire locals. If you already run a company in Liberia, Guinea, or Côte d’Ivoire and want to take it abroad, our translators can help you snatch up a segment of the international market. In terms of academia and education, we help local scholars take their discoveries to the global stage as well as assist foreign researchers in communications with local Kpelle speakers. When it comes to literary translation, we’re passionate about converting traditional Kpelle stories for an international audience, as well as bringing great new stories from around the world to the Kpelle people.
Whatever kind of Kpelle translation services you need, we’re here to provide it. Shoot us a message to start the journey!