Cipu language

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Not to be confused with Eastern Acipa language.
Cipu
Western Acipa
Native to Nigeria
Region Kebbi State, Niger State
Native speakers
20,000  (1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 awc
Glottolog cici1237[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Person Cipu
People Acipu
Language Cicipu

Cipu (Cicipu), or Western Acipa, is a Benue–Congo language spoken by about 20,000 people in northwest Nigeria. The people call themselves Acipu.

Like most Benue–Congo languages, Cipu has a complex noun class system.[3] It has a fairly complex phonology with lexical and grammatical tone, vowel harmony, and nasalisation.

Cipu speakers virtually all speak the lingua franca Hausa. Many also speak other nearby languages.

Classification[edit]

Cipu is part of the Kambari cluster of the West Kainji family of the Niger–Congo languages.

The most recent published classification[4] has Cipu as part of the Kamuku group of West Kainji along with Eastern Acipa. However more detailed studies[5][6] have shown this to be unlikely.

Alternative names[edit]

The Ethnologue currently lists Cipu as 'Western Acipa'. However the name 'Western Acipa' is no longer used outside the Ethnologue, and a request has been made to change the entry.[7] In Hausa the language is referred to as Acipanci and the people as Acipawa.

Geographic distribution[edit]

Cicipu is spoken in Nigeria by approximately 20,000 people,[8] split between Sakaba Local Government Area, Kebbi State, and Kontagora Local Government Area, Niger State.

Dialects/Varieties[edit]

The Acipu themselves recognise seven distinct varieties of Cicipu. The dialect names are as follows (with the corresponding Hausa names in brackets):

  • Tirisino (Karishen)
  • Tidipo (Kadonho)
  • Tizoriyo (Mazarko)
  • Tidodimo (Kadedan)
  • Tikula (Maburya)
  • Ticuhun (Kakihum)
  • Tikumbasi (Kumbashi)

Phonology[edit]

The most common syllable type in Cicipu is CV, although there are fairly strong arguments for N and CVN. A small number of noun and verb roots begin with a V syllable. Lexical tone contrasts are found in nouns e.g. káayá ‘house’ and káayà ‘bean’, but not in verbs (although grammatical tone is important for verbs).

Vowels[edit]

Cicipu has an asymmetric six-vowel system. All vowels can be long or short, and all have nasalised counterparts. There are four diphthongs: /ei/, /eu/, /ai/ and /au/.

Monophthongs Front Central Back
Close i, iː   u, uː
Close-mid e, eː   o, oː
Open-mid     ɔ, ɔː
Open   a, aː  

Consonants[edit]

Consonant length is contrastive in Cicipu, e.g. yuwo 'fall' vs. yuwwo 'turn around'. Any consonant may be lengthened.

Consonant phonemes
  Labial Dental or
alveolar
Postalveolar
or palatal
Velar Glottal
Plain Labialized Palatalized Plain Labialized
Plosives
and
affricates
Voiceless p t k ʔʲ ʔ ʔʷ
Voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
Implosive ɓ ɗ
Fricatives Voiceless s h
Voiced v z
Nasals m n
Rhotic ɾ
Approximants l j w

Vocabulary[edit]

A large number of Cicipu words are borrowings from the lingua franca Hausa. The pronunciation of many of these loanwords has changed to fit in with Cicipu phonology, in particular with respect to vowel harmony.

Writing system[edit]

Cicipu is not currently written, although a preliminary orthography proposal has been made, and a small number of trial books has been circulated.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cipu at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Cicipu". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ McGill, Stuart. 2007. The Cipu noun class system. Journal of West African Languages, 34(2), 51-90.
  4. ^ Williamson, Kay and Roger M. Blench. 2000. Niger–Congo in African languages: an introduction, 11-42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  5. ^ Dettweiler, Steve and Sonia Dettweiler. 2002. Sociolinguistic survey (level one) of the Kamuku language cluster [Originally written in 1992]..
  6. ^ McGill, Stuart. 2007. The classification of Cicipu. Unpublished manuscript..
  7. ^ The name of the Cicipu language
  8. ^ CAPRO Research Office. 1995. Kingdoms at war. Jos: CAPRO Media.


External links[edit]