The Fyem Language of Northern Nigeria
Merton College, Oxford
Fyem is spoken by a small community in the Central Highlands of Nigeria. This is a region of extreme linguistic and historical complexity, few of whose numerous languages have been described. Like many small languages in Africa and elsewhere, Fyem is retreating before the spread of larger tongues such as Hausa and English. The aim of this study is to present a thorough description of the language whilst it is still in general use. The book gives clear treatments of Fyem phonology, morphology and syntax, as well as an English-Fyem dictionary, a Fyem text with analysis and translation, and a discussion of the use of the language today. There are also chapters on the history of the people and their language. Fyem belongs to the Benue-Congo branch of the Niger-Congo family. However, it also shows considerable affinities in both grammar and lexicon with the Chadic languages which are found in the area. These affinities are the result of historical interactions between the different communities. The author uses such linguistic clues in conjunction with ethnohistorical evidence to unravel the complex history of Fyem migration, trade and inter-marriage.
ISBN 9783895865190. Languages of the World/Materials 136. 112 pp. 1998.