Jibyal language

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Native toNigeria
RegionPlateau State
Native speakers
2,000 (2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Jibyal (also known as Ankwey, a former name for the Goemai people) is a West Chadic language spoken in Plateau State, Nigeria. It was discovered by Roger Blench in 2017.[1]

Jibyal most likely belongs to the Pan cluster of languages, which includes Kofyar. Some similarities with Cakfem-Mushere have also been noted by Blench (2019).[2] Jibyal is spoken in Jibyal town, and in the hamlets of Monkwat, Lamalang, Shimər, and Dalu. Blench (2017) reports 2,000 speakers total. Jibyal speakers intermarry with Bwal speakers. Children still speak the language, but it is still threatened by Hausa.


Jibyal speakers refer to themselves as Ankwei [àŋkwéy], which was also the name that the Goemai had formerly used to refer to themselves.[2]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Jibyal is spoken in Nasarawa State, near the border with Plateau State. It is spoken in Mangu LGA, situated to the west of the Panyam-Shendam road, to the south of Mushere. Villages and hamlets are Jibyal village, and Monkwat, Lamalang, Shimәr, and Dalu hamlets. Jibyal is situated to the north of Nteng, and to the west of Jipal (a distinctive language from Jibyal, despite the similar-sounding name).[2]


Jibyal has vowel length contrast. Examples below:[2]

Jibyal Gloss Jibyal Gloss
sàr ten sáár hand
sɛ́m name sɛ̄ːn root
nānә́k electric fish bә̀lkә̀ːɾ pigeon
mīs man mīīr python
kɔ̄ŋ stream kɔ̄ɔ́ chicken
wúl to arrive yūūr breast


  1. ^ a b Blench, Roger. 2017. Current research on the A3 West Chadic languages.
  2. ^ a b c d Blench, Roger (2019). "Jibyal: an undocumented language of Central Nigeria".