1 diagram, 1 transcription table
Text language: French
Fon, together with Ewe and Ge, is ascribed to Kwa, a sub-grouping of the Niger Congo language family. Origin and distribution of Fon and its speakers centered in the former kingdom of Dahomey, now part of the Republic of Benin. Because the Fon expanded so dramatically, their language nowadays is one of the major languages used in Benin, with 40 to 45% of the inhabitants speaking Fon either as a native, secondary or vehicular language.
Outside of Benin, Fon is an important lingua franca in Westafrica and is spoken in Southwestern Nigeria, but also widespread in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo. In Southern Benin Fon is the major lingua franca, its speakers amount to about 1.7 million people.
The Fon-French dictionary uses the standard orthography of Fon with an additional representation of five different levels of tone (high, low and middle, falling and rising). The pronunciation of each entry is given in square brackets, according to the rules of the Association Phonétique Internationale (API). A valuable bonus to the about 8,000 entries of the dictionary itself is provided by the approximately fifty pages dealing with Fon grammar, a complete if condensed grammar detailing all aspects of Fon language structure.