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Sherbro (African people) -- Social life and customs, Sherbro language


African Languages and Societies | Applied Linguistics


We met Cyril on the wharf one foggy morning (Feb 3rd 2016) when the fishing boats were having trouble finding their way – one boat came back early in fact without catching any fish. Skunked. Cyril is an energetic man of middle age who was friendly and chatty with pretty much everyone on the beach where we met him – a voluble and gregarious guy. His English is quite good. Cyril was a schoolboy at the time of Pastor Walter Hansen’s time here but remembers him quite fondly, especially the way he delivered sermons in Bolom. That was one of the topics we broached with him. Hansen dropped dead of a heart attack in 1980 and is buried in the church cemetery. He published some linguistic analysis, as well as some proverbs and hymns in Bolom (see bibliography below). He was part of a literacy committee, which still existed (on paper) during the period of this research 2015-18. Cyril’s interview tells the story of how he got involved in fishing and why he doesn’t go out on fishing boats anymore – his boat ran into a serious storm and he had to swim for shore. He now is a middleman, buying fish from the fisherman and either selling them himself or having them smoked. Hanson, Walter R. 1979. Collected notes towards a phonology of the Sherbro language. Freetown: The Institute for Sierra Leone Languages (TISLL). ___. 1979. A guide for writing the Sherbro language. Freetown: The Institute for Sierra Leone Languages (TISLL). ___. 1979. Let God Be Blessed (Christian hymns translated into Sherbro). Freetown: Institute for Sierra Leone Languages. ___. 1980. Sɔk bunya 'A gift chicken': 50 Sherbro proverbs with an English translation and explanation. Freetown, Sierra Leone: The Institute for Sierra Leone Languages (TISLL). ___. 1980. Statement of achievement and goals. Freetown: Institute for Sierra Leone Languages.


Africa, Sierra Leone, West Africa, Fourah Bay College, Freetown


Mabel Lohr (consultant), Abdulai Bendu (researcher)


Sherbro, English

ISO 639

bun, eng

Persistent Identifier


slc0002.htm (1019 kB)
Interview text with phonetic transcription

slc0002.pdf (99 kB)
Interview transcript

slc0002_LohrMidwifery.imdi (20 kB)
IMDI transcript

slc0002-01.jpg (164 kB)
Cyril Manley photograph 1

slc0002-02.jpg (137 kB)