Ron languages

The Ron, Ronic or Ron–Fyer languages, group A.4 of the West Chadic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family, are spoken in Plateau State, north-central Nigeria.

Mangu LGA, Plateau State, Nigeria
Linguistic classificationAfro-Asiatic
  • Ron
  • Fyer
West Chadic Languages.jpg
West Chadic per Newman (1977)
Main Chadic-speaking peoples in Nigeria

The Ron languages have undergone extensive influence from Tarok.[1]


The Ron languages, and their tentative relationships, are:[2][3]


Blench (2019)[4] groups the following in the (Central) Ron/Run dialect cluster: Bokkos, Mbar, Daffo–Butura, Manguna, Mangar, Sha.

While noting that Ron is in fact a complex linkage, Blench (2003) rejects two of the connections proposed in Seibert (1998) [Sha with Mundat–Karfa and Mangar with Kulere/Richa]:[5]

Names and locationsEdit

Below is a comprehensive list of Ron language names, populations, and locations from Blench (2019).[4]

Language Cluster Dialects Alternate spellings Own name for language Other names (based on location) Other names for language Exonym(s) Speakers Location(s)
Fyer Fier 1,500 (1970); 10,000 (Blench 1999) Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Karfa Kerifa 800 (SIL 1973) Nasarawa State, Akwanga LGA
Kulere Tof, Richa, Kamwai: the latter includes Marahai (Marhai) Akande (Kamwaĩ, Àkàndí (Tof), Kande (Richa) Tof, Richa, Kamwai Korom Ɓoye 6,500 (1925 Meek); 4,933 (1943 Ames); 8,000 (1973 SIL) Plateau State, Bokkos LGA
Mundat Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Shagawu Shagau Nafunfia, Maleni 20,000 (SIL) Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Tambas Tembis 3,000 (SIL) Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Run cluster Run Bokkos and Daffo–Mbar-Butura are more closely related than Sha Ron Run Challa, Cala, Chala, Challawa 13,120 (1934 Ames); 60,000 (1985 UBS) Plateau State, Bokkos LGA
Run Bokkos Run Bokkos, Baron Lis ma Run Bokos Challa, Cala
Run Daffo–Mbar-Butura Run Daffa, Mbar, Butura Ron Alis I Run Batura Mbar-wuh Challa
Manguna Run Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Mangar Run Plateau State, Mangu LGA
Sha Run 500 (SIL); about 1,000 (1970 Jungraithmayr) Plateau State, Mangu LGA


Reconstruction ofRon languages

Since the Ron languages form a diverse linkage, Ron reconstruction is not straightforward due to the lack of neat sound correspondences. There are many borrowings from neighbouring Niger-Congo Plateau languages that Ron had assimilated or been in contact with.[3]

Proto-Ron reconstructions by Roger Blench are as follows.[2]

No. English Proto-Ron
1. person *naaf
7. friend **mwin
19. name *sum
45. flesh *lo
46. head *hay
49. bone *kaʃ
53. ear *kumu
54. nose **atin
57. mouth *fo
59. tongue *liʃ
61. tooth *haŋgor
62. molar *ɓukum
64. chin *njumut
69. throat *goroŋ
72. breast (female) *fofo
73. chest *cin
79. navel **mutuk
83. elbow *kukwat
91. thigh *for
107. saliva, spittle *lyal
110. urine *sar
190. I *yin
238. crocodile **haram
1072. blow (mouth) *fuɗ
1089. call (summon) *lahyal
1157. fall *fur
1218. land **nɗoro
1241. meet *tof
1249. open (door) *ɓwali
1276. put *kin


Plurals of nouns in Ron languages are typically formed with -a- infixes.[6]


  1. ^ Longtau, Selbut (25–26 March 2004). Some Historical Inferences from Lexical Borrowings and Traditions of Origins in the Tarokoid/Chadic Interface. International Symposium on Endangered Languages in Contact: Nigeria’s Plateau Languages. Hamburg: Asien-Afrika-Institut, Universität Hamburg.
  2. ^ a b Blench, Roger. Comparative Ron wordlist.
  3. ^ a b Blench, Roger M. 2003. Why reconstructing comparative Ron is so problematic. In Wolff, Ekkehard (ed.), Topics in Chadic linguistics: papers from the 1st biennial international colloquium on the Chadic language family (Leipzig, July 5–8, 2001), 21-42. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
  4. ^ a b Blench, Roger (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.
  5. ^ Seibert, Uwe. 1998. Das Ron von Daffo (Jos-Plateau, Zentralnigeria): morphologische, syntaktische und textlinguistische Strukturen einer westtschadischen Sprache. (Europäische Hochschulschriften: Reihe XXVII: Asiatische und Afrikanische Studien, 66.) Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang
  6. ^ Blench, Roger. 2021. The erosion of number marking in West Chadic Roger Blench. WOCAL, Leiden.

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