ISBN 978-3-89645-774-5

A Descriptive Study of the Tiv Nominal Morphology

A Tivoid Language of North-Central Nigeria

Author: Michael Terhemen Angitso. Series edited by: Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig †, Bernd Heine.

Series: GA Grammatical Analyses of African Languages Volume 64

4th quarter 2023
18 pp. Roman, 280 pp.
3 colour maps, 1 language tree model, numerous diagrams, tables and charts
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
670 g
Price is not fixed yet.

This study describes and analyzes the nominal morphology of the Tiv language. Nominal morphology focuses on how languages distinguish features such as case, humanness, number, animacy, and gender of nouns, as well as (intra-)location. These features form the bases for the grouping or classification of nouns in many languages of the world, more relatedly, Niger-Congo languages. Generally, Allan (1977) identifies four classifier systems: concordial, numeral, predicate and intra-locative. In concordial classifier systems (i.e., noun class systems), ‘classifying formatives are affixed to nouns, their modifiers and predicates’. In numeral classifier systems, certain elements obligatorily occur with the noun to express quantity. In predicate classifier systems, certain verbs-like verbs of motion co-occur with classifying elements that vary based on certain obvious traits of the object. In intra-locative classifier systems, nouns bear certain classifying formatives based on visual locative notions, such as ‘going out of view, out of view, coming into view, in view, and invisible.’

Within the Benue-Congo subgroup of Niger-Congo, Tiv is a central Tivoid language of the Southern Bantoid group of Bantu languages. Tiv is a West African language spoken in Nigeria and Cameroon. It is difficult to estimate the current number of Tiv and/or Nigerian language speakers. According to the WorldAtlas (2018), Tiv is Nigeria’s eighth most populous ethnic group, with 3.5% of the country's population speaking the language. According to Kretowicz (2009), there are over 5.6 million Tiv speakers. The Ethnologue (2018) and the Joshua-Project (2016), say Tiv speakers in Nigeria are roughly 4 million.

In Nigeria, they can be found in the states of Benue, Nassarawa, Plateau, Taraba, and Cross-River. Of all these places, they are concentrated in Benue State, occupying 14 of the 23 Local Government Areas (henceforth, LGAs) of the state. The LGAs are: Logo, Ukum, Katsina-ala, Kwande, Tarka, Gwer-West, Gwer-East, Guma, and Makurdi, as well as Gboko, Buruku, Vandeikya, Ushongo, Tarka and Konshisha, from where the data used for this study is collected (§1.9). In Cameroon, they are found in the southwest region in the Manyu division, Njobo, and northeast of Akwaya along the Nigerian border (Ethnologue 2018). The Joshua-Project (2016), states 1,600 Tiv speakers in Cameroon and 4,289,600 speakers in the world.

Under these links you will find descriptions of further Nigerian languages and studies of nominal morphology in various African language families:

Accompanying material:


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