Laal is a poorly described language, traditionally spoken by an estimated 750 people in two (monoethnic) villages on the Chari river banks, at the border between the Chari-Baguirmi and Moyen-Chari prefectures of Southern Chad. Gori (lá in Laal) sits on the right bank of the Chari river and numbers about 390 inhabitants; it is the original Laal village, and all the Laal speakers are commonly called “Gori” by all other ethnolinguistic groups. Damtar (ɓuāl in Laal), located on the left bank of the river a few kilometers down the river, was settled about a century ago by one family from Gori, and numbers about 150 inhabitants. Many speakers can also be found in town (mainly Bousso, Sarh, and N’Djaména).
It is a heretofore unclassified language, and is very likely to be one of the very few African language isolates. The language is endangered because its speech community numbers only a few hundred people, and the younger generations tend to leave the villages to go settle in neighbouring towns, where they shift to other languages.
Laal and the neighbouring languages