Kamwe language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from ISO 639:hig)
Jump to: navigation, search
Native to Nigeria
Region Adamawa and Borno States
Native speakers
530,000 not counting Psikye  (2009)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 higinclusive code
Individual code:
kvj – Psikye

Kamwe, also known as Higgi, is a Chadic language spoken in Adamawa State, Borno State in Nigeria and North Western Cameroon. Dialects include Nkafa, Dakwa, Krghea (sometimes called Higgi Fali), Fwea, Humsi, Modi, Sina, and Tilyi; Blench (2006) considers Psikye to be another.[2] other named dialects of Kamwe are: Tlowou; Ghea; Ndou; Hwuro; Midla; Kali; Mampe; Mitta. The Kamwe people were said to have migrated from the Middle East most probably from the present day Israel/Palestine around the 900 AD. The first ancestor of the Kamwe people who left Nchokili was called Glemai. They first camped in a place Wudilee in present day Ethiopia for a long time before proceeding to Gazawa in Cameroon, Sukur, Ghe and Nkafamiya over a long period of time.


About 80 percent of the Kamwe people are found in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State Nigeria, a substantial number of them are also found in the local government areas of Mubi North, Hong, Gombi, Song and Madagali in Adamawa State. The Kamwe people are also found in Borno State, especially in the Askira/Uba local government area.

Of the many dialects of the Kamwe language, Nkafa is well understood by all and is widely spoken, being the main language of administration and commerce. The Nkafa dialect is literary developed with the Holy Bible translated in the dialect with a lot of written books. The Nkafa dialects are classified into the clans of Kwache, Kwaga, Kwabe and Kwaghe. Other subgroups are Kwabuge and Kwaha. The Nkafa clans were said to brothers from the same mother who migrated to Nkafamiya together from Ghe. The other dialects of Kamwe are also classified into clans like Tlowou, which is also classified into these clans: Mbammi; Nyahuo; Nka; Zharawa; Towoo; Ngulvi and Mihalyi. Most Kamwe identify themselves with Michika (Mwe-ci-ka) which is the ancestral home of all Kamwe people. Kamwe literally means people of the "Heavenly realms or people of the Rocks and Hill". The founder of Michika (Mwe-ci-ka) was said to be one Kwada Kwakaa who was a prince from Kuli in Nkafamiya one of the ancestral villages of the Kamwe people on the hills in Michika. Kwada Kwakaa was said to be a warrior hunter who could hunt lions just by himself. When his father who was the chief in Nkafamiya got to know that Kwada was 'kwa' 'kaa', he mandated Kwada to be the chief in the present day Michika.


  1. ^ Kamwe at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Psikye at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Blench, 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages: Classification and Reference List (ms)


  • Roger Mohrlang. 1972. Higi Phonology. Studies in Nigerian Languages 2. Zaria: Institute of Linguistics and Centre for the Study of Nigerian Languages.