Bade language

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Native toNigeria
RegionYobe State, Jigawa State
Native speakers
250,000 (2007)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3bde

Bade (also spelled Bede, Bedde, or Bode) is a West Chadic language spoken by the Bade people in Yobe State and Jigawa State, Nigeria. Their traditional ruler is the Emir of Bade. Similar to many other Western African languages, Bade is a vulnerable language at great risk of extinction.[3] With 250,000 speakers,[4] the language and the culture of the Bade people have suffered over the last several years. As the language continues to fade, the culture and historic value associated with the language perishes as well. The local dialect is shifting from Bade to Hausa.[4] Across West Africa, the impact on local communities through the loss of the indigenous tongues will be significant. The endangerment of the Bade language represents the worldwide language diversity that is at risk.[5] Many African languages have only received little linguistic attention, impacting these African languages.[6]


Bade is classified under the following categories: Afro-Asiatic, Chadic, West, B, B.1, Bade Proper.[4]

History of Bade[edit]

Bade is an African language that is currently spoken in Nigeria. While historical information about the Bade language is limited in scope, many words in the Bade language take root in the Kanuri language.[7] The Kanuri language is primarily spoken in West Africa, including: Nigeria and Chad. Bade and Ngizim have borrowed a number of words from the Kanuri language.[7] The Bade language itself originates from the Badr of Yemen and the Prophet Muhammad purportedly drove the Bade people out after a failure to pray.[7] Currently, as one of the many Nigerian endangered languages, bade serves as a local dialect. In general, Nigerian languages comprise the wealth of linguistic diversity that exists in the country.[8] Over the years, colonization has also played a role in the deteroriation of local languages.[9]

Geographic distribution[edit]

The speakers of the Bade language are centered in Nigeria. It is spoken in the northern part of Yobe State, Nigeria.[10]

Official status[edit]

The language is not the official language of Nigeria or any other country.


There are three dialects of the Bade language that coincide with regions, including the following:[4]

  • Gashua Bade (Mazgarwa)
  • Southern Bade (Bade-Kado)
  • Western Bade (Amshi, Maagwaram, Shirawa)

Phonology of Bade[edit]

Most West Chadic languages have a similar consonant inventory separated into eight major groups: labialized laryngeal, laryngeal, labialized velar, velar, lateral, alveopalatal, alveolar, and labial.[11] In the Bade/Ngizim languages, the glottal stop plays no role, but the vowel hiatus relies on elision and coalescence. The sounds also feature a "yawning" and has a shift from fricative to stop.[11]


The grammar for the Bade language is consistent with the Ngizim language.[11]


The Bade/Ngizim languages slightly differ from other Chadic languages.[11] Bade and Ngizim have long vowels in closed syllables. Mid vowels also have a restricted use compared to other vowels. Mid vowels will rather appear as loanwords from other languages.[11] The language preserves diphthongs in both native and loanwords.


The Bade language has a strong root in the Kanuri langage. There are many loanwords from Kanuri to West Chadi languages, including Bade.[12] Bade is commonly grouped with the Ngizim language. As an example, the word 'healthy' is 'nga' in the Kanuri language and 'ngā' in the Ngizim language.[12] More recently, the Hausa language has influenced the Bade language.[13]

Writing System[edit]

The Bade language uses a Latin script writing script.[4] The Latin script is the most widely used writing system in the world, serving as the system for the English language as well.[14]


  1. ^ Bade at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bade". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Blench, R (2007). "Endangered Languages". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Enthnologue Bade".
  5. ^ Whalen, D.H. (2012). "Endangered language families". Language. 88: 155–173. doi:10.1353/lan.2012.0012.
  6. ^ Lupke, Friederike (2009). "At the margin - African Endangered Languages in the Context of Global Endangerment Discourses". African Research & Documentation: 15–41.
  7. ^ a b c Schuh, R.G. (2003). "The linguistic influence of Kanuri on Bade and Ngizim" (PDF). Maiduguri Journal of Linguistic and Literary Studies: 55–89.
  8. ^ Conrad Max Benedict, B (1993). "Democratisation of Language Use in Public Domains in Nigeria". The Journal of Modern African Studies: 639. doi:10.1017/s0022278x00012283.
  9. ^ Novak, Amy (2008). "Who speaks? Who listens?: The problem of address in two Nigerian trauma novels". Studies in The Novel: 31.
  10. ^ Schuh, Russell (2009). "Yobe Languages Research Project".
  11. ^ a b c d e Schuh, Russell (2002). "Overview of Bade/Ngizim of Phonology" (PDF).
  12. ^ a b Schuh, Russell (2002). "The Phonology and Morphology of Bade and Ngizim".
  13. ^ Schuh, Russell (1997). "Changes in Obstruent Voicing in Bade/Ngizim" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Latin".

Further reading[edit]

  • Schuh, Russell G. (1977). "Bade/Ngizim determiner system". Afroasiatic Linguistics. 4: 1–74.

External links[edit]