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Gula Iro language

Gula Iro
Native toChad
Native speakers
(3,500 cited 1991)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3glj

The Gula Iro language (autonym kùláál) is a Bua language spoken by some 3,500 people (in 1991) north and east of Lake Iro in southern Chad, between the Bola and Salamat rivers. It has four dialects, according to Pairault:

  • 350 páṭóól, the northernmost and the least comprehensible to speakers of the other dialects, spoken in and around Badi;
  • 2,000 pòŋààl, by the north shore of the lake, spoken in and around Boum Kabir, Boum Sarher, and Tordjigel;
  • 730 tɩ́ààlà, spoken east and south of the lake, including Kouré, Bouni, Tormorhal, and Masidjanga;
  • 200 tííṭààl, the easternmost, spoken in various villages west of Tamba;

to which Ethnologue adds a fifth, 170 Korintal, spoken in Tieou.[1]

Gula Iro is very closely related to Zan Gula and Bon Gula, but they are not mutually comprehensible.


The consonants, in with their orthography, are:

Bilabial Labiodental Apico-dental Postalveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosives p t k
Fricatives f s h
Liquids w l y
Nasal m n ñ ŋ
Trills r

The vowels are: a, e, i, o, u, ɛ, ɩ, ɔ, ʋ. Nasalization (only on a, e, o) and length are both contrastive, and diphthongs can be formed. Tone is phonemic; each vowel must carry high or low tone.


Typical word order is subject–verb–object. The basic subject pronouns are: ñó I, you (sg.), á he/she/it, pʋ́ we (exclusive), én we (inclusive), í you (pl.), ʋ́ they.


  • P. Boyeldieu. "La formation du pluriel nominal en kulaal (Tchad): essai de systématisation des documents publiés par C. Pairault". Afrika und Übersee, 1986, n° 69, vol. 2, p. 209-249.
  • C. Pairault, Documents du parler d'iro: kùláál du Tchad. Langues et Littérature de l'Afrique Noire V. Klincksieck: Paris 1969.


  1. ^ a b Gula Iro at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gula Iro". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.