Tyap is a regionally important dialect cluster of Plateau languages in Nigeria's Middle Belt, named after its prestige dialect. It is also known by its Hausa exonym as Katab or Kataf.[4][5] It is also known by the names of its dialectical varieties including Sholyio, Fantswam, Gworok, Takad, "Mabatado" (Tyap 'proper'), Tyeca̱rak and Tyuku (Tuku). In spite of being listed separately from the Tyap cluster, Jju's separation, according to Blench R.M. (2018), seems to be increasingly ethnic rather than a linguistic reality.[6]

A̱lyem Tyap
Native toNigeria
RegionKaduna and Plateau States
Native speakers
255,000 (2020)[1]
875,000 with Jju
  • Fantswam
  • Gworok
  • Sholyio
  • Takad
  • "Mabatado" (Tyap 'proper')
  • Tyecarak
  • Tyuku
Latin (Tyap alphabet)
Official status
Regulated byTyap Literacy Committee
Language codes
ISO 639-3kcg
Tyap is classified as Vulnerable by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Tyap, Tyab[3]
PersonA̱tyotyap, A̱tyotyab
PeopleA̱tyap, A̱tyab
LanguageTyap, Tyab
CountryA̱tyap or A̱byin A̱tyap
Tyap: Fantswam
CountryFantswam or A̱byin Fantswam
Tyap: Gworok, Gworog
PersonA̱tyigworok, A̱tyigworog
PeopleƏgworog, Əgwolog, A̱gworok, Oegworok
LanguageGworog, Gwolog
CountryGworog or Əbyin Əgworog
Tyap: Sholyio
CountrySholyio or A̱byin A̱sholyio
Tyap: Tyeca̱rak
CountryTyeca̱rak or A̱byin A̱tyeca̱rak
Tyap: Takad, Takat
PeopleA̱takad, Takad
LanguageTakad, Takat
CountryTakad or A̱byin A̱takad
Tyap: Tyuku, Tuku
PeopleA̱tyuku, A̱tuku, A̱tukum
LanguageTyuku, Tuku
CountryTyuku or A̱byin A̱tyuku



Native Tyap speakers are primarily found in the local government areas of Jema'a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf, although pockets of speakers are also found in Kachia and Kauru in southern Kaduna state, and Riyom (especially Takad speakers[7]) in Plateau State of Nigeria. There are also large speaking communities in Kaduna South and Chikun Local Government Areas of the state.[8] Skoggard (2014) presented the distribution of the Atyap (Katab) people in Nigeria to include: Niger, Nasarawa, Kaduna states and the FCT.[9]

Classification and dialects


Meek (1931:2) suggested that the Katab (Atyap), Morwa (Asholyio), Ataka (Atakad) and Kagoro (Agworok) speak a common tongue and may be regarded as one; and later on, McKinney (1983:290) commented that the Kaje (Bajju) should likewise be included with the above, due to the linguistic and cultural similarities shared by them.[10][11] Murdock (1959) classified Kagoro (Gworok) and other dialects comprising the current Tyap language group as "Plateau Nigerian",[12] in his "Semi-Bantu" branch of "Bantoid subfamily" of "Negritic Stock".[13][14] Tyap and Jju were placed by Greenberg (1963) under the "Plateau II" branch of the Benue-Congo language family. Later on, Gerhardt (1974) made a reconstruction of the branch, assigning it as "proto-Plateau". Again in 1989, Gerhardt placed Tyap and Jju under the South-Central subgroup, Central group, Plateau branch of Platoid, a division of the Benue-Congo languages.[5][15][16][17] Achi (2005) stated that the Atyap speak a language in the Kwa group of the Benue-Congo language family.[18] However, according to Bitiyong, Y. I., in Achi et al. (2019:44), the Kataf Group (an old classification) to which Tyap language belongs, is a member of the eastern Plateau. He went further to suggest that by utilizing a glotochronological time scale established for Yoruba and Edo languages and their neighbours, the separation of the Kataf Group into distinguishable dialects and dialect clusters would require thousands of years. Also mentioned was that,

Between Igala and Yoruba language, for example, at least 2,000 years were required to develop the distinction, while 6,000 years were needed for the differences observable in a comparison of Idoma and Yoruba language clusters

noting further that this indicates that

even within dialect clusters, a period of up to 2,000 years was needed to create clearly identifiable dialect separation and that it is thus a slow process of steady population growth and expansion and cultural differentiation over thousands of years.[19]

He thereafter summarized that the implication for Tyap is that it has taken thousands of years to separate, in the same general geographical location from its about six most closely related dialects and stated that as a sub-unit, they required probably more thousands of years earlier to separate from other members of the "Kataf group" like Gyong, Hyam, Duya and Ashe (Koro) who are little intelligible to them. The stability of language and other culture traits in this region of Nigeria has been recognized.[20][19]



Tyap has a number of dialects, including:

Dialect Description
(Hausa exonym Kafanchan, Kafancan)
Spoken by inhabitants of the Fantswam chiefdom in Jema'a LGA, earlier regarded as Kagoro (of Jama'a) not until about the late 1950s were they recognized as a separate entity.[21] It is closely related to Jju, the Gworok and Tyap proper dialects.
(Hausa exonym Kagoro; Tyap proper Gwoot)
Spoken by the A̱gworok (also spelt: Oegworok), inhabitants of chiefdom bearing their name, in Kaura LGA. It seems like a 'junction dialect' between Jju and Takad and seems to be influenced by neighbouring dialects of the nearest language cluster, most notably Nikyob-Nindem and others.
(Hausa exonym Kaje, Kajji; Tyap proper Jhyo)
Listed as a separate language (with the SIL code kaj, although its grammar and morphology are similar those of a Tyap dialect, with a bit of a variation in its syntax). It is spoken by inhabitants of the Ba̱jju chiefdom in Zangon Kataf, Jema'a and Kachia LGAs. It has the greater number of speakers of any Tyap dialect, and could have been deeply influenced by Izere and Rigwe (with whose speakers the Ba̱jju lived near Chawai with, in today's Kauru by oral narrative, before migrating to their present homeland several centuries ago). Jju was also probably influenced by the dialects of its present Hyam-speaking neighbours and former neighbours, to the southwest. These contacts seem to be the leading factor in its drift from Tyap in comparison to other dialects.
(variant spellings Sholio, Sholyia̱; Hausa exonym Moro'a, Moroa, Marwa)
Spoken by the A̱sholyio (also spelt: Osholio, Aesholio, Asholio, A̱sholyia̱) people of the chiefdom bearing their name in the Kaura LGA. It seems to have been influenced by the Beromic dialect of Iten, Rigwe and Gworok; its speakers share common borders to the east and south, respectively, with the people of the aforementioned.
(variant spellings Takat; Hausa exonym Attakar, Attaka, Ataka)
Spoken by the Takad (Tyap proper A̱takat) of the chiefdom bearing their name, in Kaura LGA, Kaduna State and Riyom LGA, Plateau State. It is closely related to the Tyuku and Gworok dialects, as well as Jju. Although its speakers see themselves as brothers of the Ba̱jju (with whom the migrated from Chawai by oral narrative), Takat seems more related to the core Tyap dialects than to Jju, although has some of its special elements.
Tyap proper
(also Tyap-Central,[22] Tyap Mabatado, Tyab; Hausa exonym Katab, Kataf, Katab proper)
Spoken by the A̱tyap people of the chiefdom bearing their name, in Zangon Kataf, also found in neighbouring chiefdoms in Kaura, Jema'a and Kauru LGAs. The dialect seems to be the mother dialect from which the others evolved, and was probably influenced by other languages, causing its drift from its parent proto-Plateau language root. British colonial anthropologist, Charles Kingsley Meek in 1931, classified most of the proto-Plateau ethno-linguistic groups as part of the "Kataf (Atyap) Culture Complex", speaking closely related dialects of a possible single language.
(also spelt Tachirak, Techerak, Ticarak; Hausa exonym Kachechere, Kacecere, Kacicere; Tyap proper Tyecaat, Ta̱caat, Ta̱chaat)
Spoken by the A̱tyeca̱rak; (Tyap proper A̱tyecaat) people in the A̱tyap, A̱sholyio (Moro'a) and Gworok (Kagoro) chiefdoms in Zangon Kataf and Kaura LGAs and as far south as the Jema'a LGA.
(variant spelling: Tuku, Tukun,[23] Tyukum; Hausa exonym Atuku)
Spoken by the A̱tyuku (also Atuku, Atukum, Atyukum) people in Jema'a Local Government Area in Takat chiefdom, around the Ni̱mbyio (also spelt Nimbio) forest reserve of southern Kaduna State. The dialect is often regarded as a dialect of Takad, and seems to possess the most language drift of any Tyap dialect, second to Jju.
Other dialects Other dialects related to Tyap include Kulu (SIL code ikl, also an Adara dialect), Nghan (SIL code kcl, a Gyongic dialect) and Terri (SIL code cfd).




The Tyap alphabet (Zwunzwuo A̱lyem Tyap ji) had 39 letters, as drafted by the Tyap Literacy Committee (TLC) during the early 1990s:[24][25]

Tyap alphabet: previous basic
a b ch chy d e f g gb gh ghw ghy h hy hw i j jhy k kh kp l m n ng ny o p r s sh shy t ts u v w y z
Phonetic value
a ə b t͡ʃ t͡ʃʲ d e f g g͡b ɣ ɣʷ ɣʲ h ç ʍ i ɪ d͡ʒ ʒʲ k x k͡p l m n ŋ ɲ o p r s ʃ ʃʲ t t͡s u v w j d͡z

However, a current development as of 2018, has the Tyap Basic Alphabetical Chart reduced to 24, as follows:

Tyap alphabet: new basic
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v w y z
Phonetic value
a b t͡ʃ d e f g h i d͡ʒ k l m n o p r s t u v w j d͡z

The letter "ch" would henceforth be represented by the symbol "c", without the "h". All others remain the same.


Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Close-mid e o
Mid ə
Open a

The seven vowels of Tyap may either be short or long monophthongs sounds. The language has five (or six) diphthongs: /ei(/əi) ea əu ai oi/.[26][27][28]



The language has over 80 monographic and digraph labialized and palatalized consonant sounds, classified into fortis and lenis modifications.[29][30] The following table contains the main basic consonant sounds of Tyap:

Labial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Labio-
plain pal. plain pal.
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive p  b t  d k  ɡ k͡p  ɡ͡b
Affricate t͡s  d͡z t͡ʃ  d͡ʒ t͡ʃʲ
Fricative f  v s ʃ  ʒ ʃʲ  ʒʲ ç x  ɣ ɣʲ ɣʷ h
Lateral l
Rhotic r
Glide j ʍ  w




Tyap has the SVO constituent order type[33] as illustrated below in the first given example:









Shyimfwuo wan kyayak hu

Shyimfwuo cook.PST food DET

‘Shyimfwuo cooked the food.’









N na ngya bah

I will.MOD eat NEG

‘I will not eat.’











A̱li nung ka shyia̱ gbang

House my DET is far

‘My house is far.’



Affixes and concord


Tyap's noun-class affixes appear after its word stem. These affixes consist of prefixes, usually attached to the root of the word for pluralization. For example: a̱som (hare)—a̱yaasom (hares), bwak (hand)—mbwak (hands), a̱kwon (tree)—a̱ka̱kwon (trees), etc. Meanwhile, the CV suffixes—usually alternating, and following the noun, are usually rendered as separate words in the orthography. For example, a̱som wu (the hare), a̱yaasom ba (the hares), bwak hu (the hand)—mbwak na (the hands), a̱kwon ka (the tree)—a̱ka̱kwon na (the trees), etc. These constitute the nominal affixes and concord of Tyap.[6]



Reduplication of nouns takes place for pluralization. Usually, the first root syllable gets duplicated. For example, tyan (place)—tityan (places), a̱nyung (tooth)—a̱nyunyung (teeth), a̱kwon (tree)—a̱ka̱kwon (trees), etc.[6]

Words associated with the alphabet

Letter IPA Symbol Tyap dialects and Jju English translation
a /a/ aba̱n welcome (masculine)
/ə/ gwam ruler, king, chief
b /b/ bat wall, fence
c /t͡ʃ/ cat (tsat in Sholyio, Takad, Tyuku) want, love, need, like
cy /t͡ʃʲ/ cyat cut/thatch grass
d /d/ dam to worry
e /e/; /ɛ/ a̱lyem ( diryem in Jju) tongue, language
f /f/ faat ( fa̱rak in Fantswam, Gworok, Takad, Tyuku) to cut
g /g/ gaat ( ga̱rak in Fantswam, Gworok, Takad, Tyuku) (visitors' room)
gb /g͡b/ gbang far
gh /ɣ/ ghan to hurry
ghw /ɣʷ/ ghwang drawing
ghy /ɣʲ/ ghyang ( a̱yaan in Fantswam, Jju; a̱zang in Tyuku) another
h /h/ hyet ( hywet in Jju) arrow
hy /ç/ hyenhyiam sour
hw /ʍ/ yihwa what
i /i/ ii yes (feminine)
/ɨ/ cp twisting
j /d͡ʒ/ jem ( zem in Sholyio, Tyeca̱rak) hippopotamus
jhy /ʒʲ/ jhyi ( jyi in Fantswam, Jju) to repair
k /k/ kan medicine
kh /x/ khap cultivating
kp /k͡p/ kpa ( kpe in Sholyio; kpi in Takad, Tyuku) to pound, pestle
l /l/ li ( ryi in Jju) to see
m /m/ mup to grab
n /n/ nam ( dinam Jju) meat, flesh, muscle
ng /ŋ/ ngaan to be last
ny /ɲ/ nyam animal
o /ɔ/; /o/ long ( rong in Jju) fire
p /p/ piit nothing, to lose, to score nought
r /r/ rra̱k to enter with ease
s /s/ san to receive, to save
sh /ʃ/ shan stick, staff
shy /ʃʲ/ shyi to swear
t /t/ ta to throw
ts /t͡s/ tsang crocodile
u /u/ lyuut ( lyuruk in Fantswam, Gworok; jem in Jju) to write
v /v/ vam ( lvam in Fantswam; lwam in Gworok; rwam in Jju) body
w /w/ wan to cook
y /j/ ya ( [g]ye in Sholyio, Tyeca̱rak; [g]yi in Takad, Tyuku) to eat
z /d͡z/ za ( ze in Sholyio, Tyeca̱rak; zi in Takad, Tyuku) rain


Common phrases and sentences

Tyap English (Shong)
A nyia̱ ni? How are you?
N shyia̱ ka̱nɡka̱ra̱ng, n gwai. I am fine, thank you.
A neet a̱ji ni/wa? Where are you from?
N neet a̱mali kya. I am from home.
Á̱ ngyei ang a̱nyan a? Who are you called? (What is your name?)
Á̱ ngyei nung Kambai A̱ka̱u. I am called Kambai A̱ka̱u. (My name is Kambai A̱ka̱u.)
Bai a ya kyayak. Come and eat.
N cat a̱lyem nung ka. I love my language.
A̱nienzi̱t ba neet di̱ fam Kwararafa hwa. The Nienzit people are from Kwararafa.
A̱gwaza gu nang ang/nyin nda. OR, A̱gwaza gu nang nda ang/nyin. God bless you (sing.)/(plur.).


Comparison of dialects


Comparing the cognate percentages between Kaje (Jju), Katab ("Mabatado" Tyap) and Kagoro (Gworok) on the Swadesh wordlist consisting of 118 items of core basic vocabulary, Wurm (1971), in his remark stated that, the cognate percentages indicate that the three ethnic groups speak dialects of the same language.[34]

84% Katab
83% 91% Kagoro

Percentages of cognates on the Swadesh wordlist: Wurm (1971).

With a further comparison of their kinship terminologies, McKinney (1983:291), after comparing 174 entries between the above three found only eight to be non-cognate.[35]

83% Katab
83% 90% Kagoro

Percentages of kingship cognate terms: McKinney (1983:291).

[8] Below are comparisons made by Akau (2020) between the seven Tyap core dialects and Jju.

English (Shong) "Maba̱ta̱do" (Tyap 'proper') Jju Gworok (Gworog) Sholyio (Sholyia̱, Sholio) Tyeca̱rak Fantswam Takad (Takat) Tyuku
1 Come and eat. Bai a ya kyayak. Ba a ya kyangya. Bai u ya kyayak. Bai a gye kyayak Bai a gye kyayak. Bai a ya kyangya. Bai u gyi kyangyi. Bai u gyi kyangyi.
2 Let us rise with strength. Yok zi̱ doot yong ma̱ng cet. Ryok zi drok ryong bu cet. Yok zi̱t durok yong bi̱ cet. Yok zi̱ durok yong ma̱ng tset. Yok zi̱ durok yong ma̱ng cet. Yok zi̱ durok yong bi̱ cet. Yok zi̱ durok yong bi̱ tset. Yok zi̱ durok yong bi̱ tset.
3 I am not going to the wedding. N na nat la̱p nyeang (nyi̱yang) hu bah. N ni nat rop nyreng a ba. N na nat la̱p nyi̱rang ku dak. N na nat la̱p nyi̱rang hu bah. N na nat la̱p nyi̱rang hu bah. N na nat la̱p nyi̱rang ku dak. N li nat la̱p nyi̱rang hu dak. N li nat la̱p nyi̱rang hu dak.
4 The people are hungry. Á̱niet ba fwuong zong. Ba̱nyet ba pfong zong. Á̱niet ba tswuong jong. Á̱niet be fwuong jong. Á̱niet be fwuong zong. Á̱nyet ba tfwuong zong. Á̱niet bi fwuong zong. Á̱niet bi fwuong zong.
5 The child was walking, and fell down. Nggwon ka ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Ka̱won ka ncong, ka̱ yin kpa ka̱byen. Nggwon ka ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Nggwon ke ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Nggwon ke ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Nggwon ka ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Nggwon ki ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin. Nggwon ki ncong, ka̱ si̱ kwa a̱byin.
6 The pot is here. A̱la̱n ka shyia̱ a̱ji. Ka̱ra̱n ti shyi aki. Ula̱n ka shyio a̱ji. A̱la̱n ke shyia̱ a̱zi. A̱la̱n ke shyia̱ a̱ji. Ka̱la̱n ti shyia a̱ji. Ula̱n ki syia̱ a̱zi. Ula̱n ki syia̱ a̱zi.
7 They are too mouthy. God will help them. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwaza/A̱za na beang mba. Ba̱ ra̱u byi ka̱nu. Ka̱za ni mba brang. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwaza/Uza na beang mba. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwaze/A̱ze na beang mbe. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwaze/A̱ze na beang mbe. Ba̱ la̱u byia ka̱nu. Gwaza/Ka̱za na beang mba. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwazi/Uzi li beang mbi. Ba̱ la̱u byia̱ a̱nu. A̱gwazi/Uzi li beang mbi
8 Kuyet went to the forest with me to get water. Kuyet nwuo a̱yit ka ma̱ng a̱nung a̱ bwuo a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwa ka̱yit ka ba̱ nzuk a̱ bvwa ba̱shekwot. Kuyet nwuo uyit ka bi̱ nung a̱ bvwuo a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwuo ka̱yit ke ma̱ng a̱nung a̱ bwuo a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwuo a̱yit ke ma̱ng a̱nung a̱ bwuo a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwua ka̱yit ka bi̱ nung a̱ bwua a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwuo uyit ki ba̱ a̱nung a̱ bvwuo a̱sa̱khwot. Kuyet nwua uyit ki ba̱ a̱nung a̱ bvwua a̱sa̱khwot.
9 Who is home? A̱nyan wa a̱ nshyia̱ a̱mali ka? A̱nyan a̱mi a̱ nshyi ka̱ryi ka? A̱nyan a̱ a̱ nshyia̱ buli ka? A̱nyan a a̱ nshyia̱ a̱mali ke? A̱nyan a a̱ nshyia̱ a̱mali ke? A̱nyan a a̱ nshyia ka̱li ka? A̱nyan a a̱ nsyia̱ buli ki? A̱nyan a a̱ nsyia̱ buli ki?
10 It is above. A̱ shyia̱ tazwa ka. A̱ shyi tazwa ka. A̱ shyio tuza ka. A̱ shyia̱ tanzwe ke. A̱ shyia̱ tanzwe ke. A̱ shyia tazwa ka. A̱ syia̱ tuzi ki. A̱ syia̱ tuzi ki.
11 Will you drink? A na swuo a? A ni fwa a? A na swuo a? A na swuo a? A na swuo a? A na fwua a? U li swuo a? U li swuo a?
12 They said some children came here today. Ba̱ nyia̱ mman á̱ghyang bai a̱ji a̱fwun ka. Ba̱ yya na̱won ka̱yaan ba aki ka̱pfwun ka. Ba̱ nyio nuwan á̱ghyang bai a̱ji utswun ka. Ba̱ nyia̱ mman á̱ghyang bai a̱zi a̱fwun ke. Ba̱ nyia̱ mman á̱ghyang bai a̱ji a̱fwun ke. Ba̱ nyia mnuwan á̱yaan bai a̱ji ka̱tfwun ka. Ba̱ hyia̱ mman á̱ghyang bai a̱zi ufwun ki. Ba̱ shyia̱ mman á̱zang bai a̱zi utswun ki.
13 Eight of us. Nzi̱t a̱ni̱nai. Njit a̱ninai. Nzi̱t unaimbwag. Nzi̱t a̱ri̱nai. Nzi̱t a̱ri̱nai. Njit a̱naimbwak. Nzi̱t unaimbwak. Nzi̱t unaimbwak.
14 Let us unite. Zi̱ tung ndung. Zi tung ndung. Zi̱t tung ndung. Zi̱ tung ndung. Zi̱ tung ndung. Zi̱ tung ndung. Zi̱ tung ndung. Zi̱ tung ndung.


  • 0: gum/piit/sa̱khat
  • 1: a̱nyiung (also nyiung, jhyiung)
  • 2: a̱feang (also feang, sweang)
  • 3: a̱tat (also tat, tsat)
  • 4: a̱naai (also naai, nyaai)
  • 5: a̱fwuon (also fwuon, tswuon)
  • 6: a̱taa
  • 7: a̱natat
  • 8: a̱ni̱nai (or a̱ri̱nai)
  • 9: a̱kubunyiung

10 to 100


The numbers 11 to 19 are created by adding 1–9 to 10 with the middle ma̱ng (often shortened in pronunciation to ma̱ and the next a̱, e.g. in a̱fwuon, being silent) to the adjoining number, but usually each word is written in full: e.g. swak ma̱ng a̱fwuon (15).

  • 10: Swak
  • 11: Swak ma̱ng a̱nyiung
  • 12: Swak ma̱ng a̱feang
  • 13: Swak ma̱ng a̱tat
  • 14: Swak ma̱ng a̱naai
  • 15: Swak ma̱ng a̱fwuon
  • 16: Swak ma̱ng a̱taa
  • 17: Swak ma̱ng a̱natat
  • 18: Swak ma̱ng a̱ni̱nai
  • 19: Swak ma̱ng a̱kubunyiung

The numbers 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90 are formed by replacing the prefix 2 to 5, affixed to the "swak" (ten) with n-, with the swak itself taking the prefix n- throughout:

  • 20: Nswak nfeang
  • 30: Nswak ntat
  • 40: Nswak nnaai
  • 50: Nswak nfwuon
  • 60: Nswak a̱taa
  • 70: Nswak a̱natat
  • 80: Nswak a̱ni̱nai (or nswak a̱ri̱nai)
  • 90: Nswak a̱kubunyiung

Other numbers are formed by adding 1–9, similar to the teens:

  • 91: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱nyiung
  • 92: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱feang
  • 93: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱tat
  • 94: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱naai
  • 95: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱fwuon
  • 96: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱taa
  • 97: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱natat
  • 98: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱ni̱nai
  • 99: Nswak a̱kubunyiung ma̱ng a̱kubunyiung



Note that what could be termed as the "ancient" counting system used for 1-5 is usually used from 100 until infinity. 1 becomes jhyiung, and no more a̱nyiung. Same thing the 2,3,4 and 5 placed immediately after cyi, the word for hundred.

  • 100: Cyi jhyiung
  • 200: Cyi sweang
  • 300: Cyi tsat
  • 400: Cyi nyaai
  • 500: Cyi tswuon
  • 600: Cyi a̱taa
  • 700: Cyi a̱natat
  • 800: Cyi a̱ni̱nai (or a̱ri̱nai)
  • 900: Cyi a̱kubunyiung
  • 479: Cyi nyaai ma̱ng nswak a̱natat ma̱ng a̱kubunyiung



Hayab (2016:66-67) in his research on Hyam, a related language to Tyap found out that the original word for number 10 is "kop"/kwop, and that the present word used for ten was the de facto word used for twelve or a dozen is "shwak" (in Hyam) or swak (in Tyap). Due to the growing Hausa/English influence, undoubtedly before 1920 (because Thomas (1920:59) cited an example with Kagoro (Gworok) which, unlike its neighbours the Nungu, Ninzam, S. Mada and Mama, was not using as of then, the duodecimal system[36]), the counting system has taken the shape of the Hausa/English decimal style and the word "kop/kwop" became almost extinct, while the "swak" took its place and misplaced its original meaning, which is twelve, to now mean ten. With this in mind, when one considers the number "1,000" or cyi kwop jhyiung ("cyi kwop" is spelled one word), one can say that it literally means "hundred ten one" or "100 X 10 X 1".

Below are the modern Tyap Counting style in thousands:

  • 1,000: Cyikwop jhyiung
  • 2,000: Cyikwop sweang
  • 3,000: Cyikwop tsat
  • 4,000: Cyikwop nyaai
  • 5,000: Cyikwop tswuon
  • 6,000: Cyikwop a̱taa
  • 7,000: Cyikwop a̱natat
  • 8,000: Cyikwop a̱ni̱nai
  • 9,000: Cyikwop a̱kubunyiung
  • 2,018: Cyikwop sweang ma̱ng nswak ma̱ng a̱ni̱nai
  • 10,000: Cyikwop swak
  • 100,000: Cyikwop cyi jhyiung

Larger numbers

  • 1,000,000: Milyon or cyikwop cyikwop jhyiung or simply Cyikwop a̱ka̱feang jhyiung
  • 1,000,000,000: Bilyon or Cyikwop cyikwop cyikwop or simply Cyikwop a̱ka̱tat jhyiung
  • 1,000,000,000,000: Trilyon or cyikwop cyikwop cyikwop cyikwop or simply Cyikwop a̱ka̱naai jhyiung.[8]



Tyap has three ways of writing units 1-5. This is because concord in Tyap is brought down to only lower numerals and a few adjectives. The 'direct-copy' or 'echo' type of agreement in which the numeral has the same prefix as the noun it is in agreement with, is being followed here.[6][37] For example, a̱ka̱sa (houses)—a̱ka̱sa na (the houses)—a̱ka̱sa a̱feang (two houses)—a̱ka̱sa a̱feang na (the two houses), nkyang (things)—nkyang na (the things)—nkyang nfeang (two things)—nkyang nfeang na (the two things), and nywán (fowls)—nywán ji (the fowls)—nywán sweang (two fowls)—nywán sweang ji (the two fowls). For the second example, an "n-" prefix is added to the lower unit when used with a plural noun carrying the "hu" singular like kyang (thing).

Names for other languages


Some Tyap names for neighbouring and other languaɡes are as follows:

Language Classification Tyap name
Adara Northern Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Á̱niet Tswaywan
Atsam Piti-Atsam, Eastern Kainji, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Tsamyio
Berom Beromic, Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Kuut, Kuruk
English West, Germanic, Indo-European Shong; Nggi̱li̱t
Fulfulde, Fula Central, Eastern Fula, Fulani-Wolof, Sene-Gambian, Northern, West Atlantic, Atlantic-Congo Fa̱taa
Hausa A.1, A, West Chadic, Afro-Asiatic Kpat
Hyam Hyamic, Northwestern, Western Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Daa
Igala Yoruboid, YEAI, Volta-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Ga̱ra
Igbo Igbo, Igboid, YEAI, Volta-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo A̱kum-a̱cyi; Igbo
Iten Beromic, Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Tyen
Kanuri Western, Nilo-Saharan Á̱niet A̱tyin, Ka̱nuri, Ba̱reba̱re
Kulu Northern Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Sunkurum
Nigerian Pidgin Krio, Atlantic, English Creole Shong Kaswuo
Nɡhan Ninzic, Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Byoot, Byorok
Nikyob A, Southwestern, Western Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Kuu
Rigwe Southcentral, Central Plateau, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Á̱nietza̱fan
Tiv Tivoid, Southern Bantoid, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Zi̱ya, Zi̱tya; Tivi
T'kurmi Kauru, Northern Jos, Eastern Kainji, Benue-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo Wai
Yoruba Edekiri, Yoruboid, YEAI, Volta-Conɡo, Atlantic-Congo A̱ghwangkpang; Yoruba



A research list called the "Swadesh 100-word List" presented by Shimizu (1975:414) shows that Tyap (Katab) shares the following cognate percentages with fellow Plateau languages and Jukun beginning from the highest to the lowest: 72% with Izere (Izarek), 66% with Rigwe, 50% with Chara, 49% with Berom, 42% with Tarok, 41% with Pyem, 41% with Ninzam, 39% with Kuche, 39% with Eggon, 38% with Ibunu, 37% with Rindre and 34% with Jukun.[38]

Cognate Percentages Shared by fellow Plateau languages and Jukun with Tyap
Languages percent

Endangered status


Research has shown that the Tyap language is classified as one of the endangered languages vulnerable towards extinction.[39]

Language is the key to the heart of a people. If we lose the key, we lose the people. A lost language is a lost tribe, a lost tribe is a lost culture, a lost culture is a lost civilization a lost civilization is invaluable knowledge lost. The whole vast archives of knowledge and experience in them will be consigned to oblivion.

— Centre for Endangered Languages (1996).

A study by Ayuba (2014) showed that Tyap is endangered and that the Hausa language and the non-transmission of Tyap by the older generation of Atyap to the younger generation largely accounted for the endangerment of Tyap.

The study recommended, among other measures, that the Atyap Community Development Association (ACDA) should set up a committee to create awareness on the need for Atyap to rise up and save their language and another to work towards establishing vacation schools where older adults would provide pre-school child care where Tyap children could be immersed in the language.[40]

See also



  1. ^ Tyap at Ethnologue (26th ed., 2023)  
  2. ^ Glottopedia article on Tyap language.
  3. ^ Blench, R. (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.
  4. ^ Meek, C. K. (1928). "The Katab and Their Neighbours: Part I". Journal of the Royal African Society. 27 (106): 104–126. JSTOR 717082. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b McKinney, N. P. (April 1990), p. 255.
  6. ^ a b c d Blench, Roger M. (2018). Watters, John R. (ed.). East Benue-Congo: Nouns, pronouns, and verbs (Niger-Congo Comparative Studies 1) [Nominal affixes and number marking in the Plateau languages]. Berlin: Language Science Press. pp. 128–129. ISBN 9783961101009. Retrieved 13 December 2023.
  7. ^ "Riyom Local Government Area". Plateau State Government. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Akau, K. (2020). [Untitled work]. Unpublished raw data.
  9. ^ Skoggard, I. A. (2014). "Culture Summary: Katab" (Online). eHRAF. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  10. ^ Meek, C. K. (1931), p. 2.
  11. ^ McKinney, C. (1983), p. 290
  12. ^ Smith, M. G. (1982). "Cosmology, Practice, and Social Organization among the Kadara and Kagoro". Ethnology. 21 (1): 1–20. doi:10.2307/3773702. JSTOR 3773702. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  13. ^ Murdock, G. P. (1959). Africa: Its Peoples and Their Culture History. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 91. ISBN 0070440522.
  14. ^ Smith, M. G. (1960), p. 138.
  15. ^ Gerhardt, L. (1974). Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Sprachen des nigerianischen Plateaus (mimeographed) (in German). J.J. Augustin. ISBN 9783870300623.
  16. ^ Gerhardt, L. (1989). Bendor-Samuel (ed.). Kainji and Platoid. In The Niger-Congo languages (1 ed.). University Press of America.
  17. ^ Greenberg, J. H. (1963). "The languages of Africa". International Journal of American Linguistics. 29 (1). The Hague: Mouton.
  18. ^ Achi, B. (2005). Philips, J. E. (ed.). Writing African history [Local History in Post-Independent Africa] (Print book). University of Rochester Press. p. 375. ISBN 9781580462563.
  19. ^ a b Achi, B.; Bitiyonɡ, Y. A.; Bunɡwon, A. D.; Baba, M. Y.; Jim, L. K. N.; Kazah-Toure, M.; Philips, J. E. (2019). A Short History of the Atyap. Tamaza Publishinɡ Co. Ltd., Zaria. pp. 9–245. ISBN 978-978-54678-5-7.
  20. ^ Fagg, B. (1959). The Nok Culture in Prehistory. Journal of Historic Society of Nigeria, 1:4. pp. 288–293.
  21. ^ Smith, M. G. (1960), p. 143.
  22. ^ Akau, K. T. L. (2014), p. xxi.
  23. ^ "Atuku language". Global Recordings Network. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  24. ^ Haruna, D.; Follingstad, C. & J. (n.d.), p. 74.
  25. ^ Follingstad, C. (1992). Zhwunzhwuo A̱lyem A̱ Tyap (in Tyap and English). Tyap Literacy Committee & Nigeria Bible Translation Trust. pp. 4–43.
  26. ^ A̱lyiat A̱gwaza na di̱n Tyap: A̱li̱ka̱uli A̱fai (2015), p. vii.
  27. ^ McKinney, N. P. (April 1990), p. 256.
  28. ^ Akau, K. T. L. (2014), pp. xxv-xxvi.
  29. ^ Akau, K. T. L. (2014), p. xxiv-xxix.
  30. ^ Haruna, D.; Follingstad, C. & J. (n.d.), pp. 72-73
  31. ^ A̱lyiat A̱gwaza na di̱n Tyap: A̱li̱ka̱uli A̱fai (2015), p. viii-ix.
  32. ^ McKinney, N. P. (April 1990), p. 257
  33. ^ "Language Gworok". WALS Online. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  34. ^ Wurm, S.A. (1971). Sebeok, T.A. (ed.). "Papuan Linguistic Situation" [Current Trends in Linguistics]. Linguistics. 8. The Hague: 541–657. doi:10.1515/ling.1975.13.147.31.
  35. ^ McKinney, C. (1983). "A Linguistic Shift in Kaje, Kagoro, and Katab Kinship Terminology". Ethnology. 22 (4): 281–293. doi:10.2307/3773677. JSTOR 3773677. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  36. ^ Thomas, N. (1920). "32. Duodecimal Base of Numeration". Man. 20: 56–60. doi:10.2307/2840036. JSTOR 2840036. Retrieved 16 December 2020.
  37. ^ Follingstad, Alison J. (1991). Aspects of Tyap Syntax. Arlington: University of Texas MA thesis. p. 71.
  38. ^ Shimizu, Kiyoshi (1975). "A Lexicostatistical Study of Plateau Languages and Jukun". Anthropological Linguistics. 17 (8): 413–418. JSTOR 30027577. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  39. ^ Ndimele, Ozo-Mekuri; Byat, Grace Caleb; Bivan, Amos D. (2015). "Language Endangerment: Globalisation & the fate of minority languages in Nigeria" [Towards the Preservation of the Tyap language]. The Nigerian Linguists Festschrift Series (12): 99–106. ISBN 9789785412727. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  40. ^ Ayuba, Y. (2014). "Language Endangerment and the Survival of Tyap: Implications for Transitional Bilingual Education (MA Thesis)" (PDF). Ahmadu Bello University. Unpublished. Retrieved 13 December 2023.

Further reading

Books and manuscripts