The Lower Fungom region of Northwest Cameroon is one of the most linguistically diverse parts of the Cameroonian Grassfields, itself a part of the world already known for its exceptional concentration of languages.
Located in the Grassfields’ northwest periphery, the core inhabited area of Lower Fungom stretches roughly ten kilometers north to south and east to west. Seven languages, or small language clusters, are spoken in its thirteen recognized villages, and four of these languages are restricted to a single village. While the languages are all reasonably classified as Bantoid, five of them do not have any established close relatives outside of the region, nor can they be straightforwardly shown to be closely related to each other.
Starting in 2004 with funding provided by the Department of Linguistics at MPI EVA, there has been ongoing research on the languages of Lower Fungom and nearby areas, with follow-up funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme. This research focuses on linguistic documentation and description as well as ethnographic and historical analysis and is specifically oriented towards understanding not only the grammars of the individual languages of Lower Fungom but also their areal dynamics.