Daka language

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Regionnorthern Nigeria
EthnicityChamba people, others
Native speakers
(120,000 cited 1992–2000)[1]
  • Nnakenyare
  • Mapeo
  • Jangani
  • Lamja
  • Dirim
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
ccg – Chamba Daka
dir – Dirim
ldh – Lamja–Dengsa–Tola

Daka (Dakka, Dekka, rarely Deng or Tikk) is one of two languages spoken by the Chamba people in Nigeria, the other being Chamba Leko.


Daka is a dialect cluster. The Chamba dialect is called Chamba Daka (or Samba, Tsamba, Tchamba, Sama, Jama Daka; also Nakanyare) and constitutes 90% of speakers. Other dialects are Dirim (Dirin, Dirrim), Lamja, Dengsa, and Tola. Dirim and Lamja–Dengsa–Tola have separate ISO coding, but Ethnologue notes that they are 'close to Samba Daka and may be a dialect' or 'may not be sufficiently distinct from Samba Daka to be a separate language', and actually lists Dirim as a dialect under Daka. Blench (2011) lists Dirim as coordinate with other Daka varieties: Nnakenyare, Mapeo, Jangani, Lamja, Dirim, suggesting that if Lamja and Dirim are considered separate languages, as in Ethnologue, then Samba Daka itself needs to be broken up into three additional languages.


Greenberg placed Samba Daka within his Adamawa proposal, as group G3, but Bennett (1983) demonstrated to general satisfaction that it is a Benue–Congo language, though its placement within Benue–Congo is disputed. Blench (2011) considers it to be Bantoid. Boyd (ms), however, considers Daka an isolate branch within Niger–Congo (Blench 2008). Blench (2011) lists Taram as a separate, though closely related, language.


  1. ^ Chamba Daka at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Dirim at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Lamja–Dengsa–Tola at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Taram–Dirim–Nnakenyare". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

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