Löömàgòòi / Löghömàgòòi
Native toLiberia, Guinea
Native speakers
560,000 (2017–2020)[1]
  • Toma
Language codes
ISO 639-3Either:
lom – Liberian Loma
tod – Toma
PeopleLöömàgìtì [lɔːmàɡìtì] in Liberia
Löghömagiti [lɔɣɔmaɡiti] in Guinea
LanguageLöömàgòòi [lɔːmàɡòːi]
Löghömàgòòi [lɔɣɔmàɡòːi]
A Loma speaker, recorded in Liberia.

Loma (Loghoma, Looma, Lorma) is a Mande language spoken by the Loma people of Liberia and Guinea.

Dialects of Loma proper in Liberia are Gizima, Wubomei, Ziema, Bunde, Buluyiema. The dialect of Guinea, Toma (Toa, Toale, Toali, or Tooma, the Malinke name for Loma), is an official regional language.

In Liberia, the people and language are also known as "Bouze" (Busy, Buzi), which is considered offensive.

Writing systems

Today, Loma uses a Latin-based alphabet which is written from left to right. A syllabary saw limited use in the 1930s and 1940s in correspondence between Loma-speakers, but today has fallen into disuse.[2][3][4]


Loma has 21 consonants, 28 vowels, and 2 tones.[5]

Loma consonants
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labial-velar
Nasal m n ŋ
Stop voiced b d g ~ ɡ̟ ɡ͡b
implosive ɓ
voiceless p t k ~ k͡p
Fricative voiced v z ɣ
voiceless f s x
Semivowel w j
Approximant ʋ l ~ ɾ
Loma vowels
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a

Every vowel has 4 forms: Short and non-nasalized, Short and nasalized, Long and non-nasalized, and Long and nasalized making a total of 28 vowels.

Loma has 2 tones: the High Tone (˦) ⟨á⟩ and the Low Tone (˨) ⟨à⟩.


The Lord's Prayer in Loma:[6]

Yài è ga gé ɣeeai è gee-zuvɛ,
ɓaa ɣa la yà laa-zeigi ma,
yà masadai va,
è yii-mai ɣɛ zui zu è ɣɛ velei é ɣɛɛzu la è wɔ vɛ,
è zaa mii ŋenigi ʋe gé ya,
è gé vaa ʋaitiɛ zu ʋaa yɛ,
è ɣɛ velei gá ɓalaa gé zɔitiɛ zu ʋaa yɛga la gá ʋaa yega te va.
Mɛ lɛ kɛ tɛ-ga ɔ́ wo ga gíɛ,
kɛ̀ è gé wulo tuɓo-vele-yowũ nui ya.


In the 1960s several hymns composed in Loma by Billema Kwillia were recorded by the missionary Margaret D. Miller and then adopted by the Lutheran Church, first appearing in print in Loma in 1970.[7] The most widely used, 'A va de laa' was not translated to singable English until 2004; it is also translated to German.[7]


  1. ^ Liberian Loma at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
    Toma at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Everson, Michael (2010-01-21). "N3756: Preliminary proposal for encoding the Loma script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  3. ^ Everson, Michael (2016-07-22). "N4735: Update on encoding the Loma script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  4. ^ "Loma syllabary".
  5. ^ Christopher Green and Steven Moran . 2019. Loma (Liberia) sound inventory (GM). In: Moran, Steven & McCloy, Daniel (eds.) PHOIBLE 2.0. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. (Available online at http://phoible.org/inventories/view/1517, Accessed on 2023-04-25.)
  6. ^ Matthew 6:9-13 in Deʋe niinɛ [New Testament in Loma]. Monrovia: Bible Society in Liberia, 1971. This excerpt was visible at http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/JPN-loma.html, see archived version at https://web.archive.org/web/20160306074512/http://www.christusrex.org/www1/pater/JPN-loma.html.
  7. ^ a b C. MICHAEL HAWN/S T KIMBROUGH, JR. (with appreciation for information provided by Daniel W. Sopo). "Billema Kwillia." The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Canterbury Press, accessed February 24, 2021, http://www.hymnology.co.uk/b/billema-kwillia.