An extinct dialect called Luri was possibly dialect of Polci as well, but it is not well attested.
History of scholarship
There have been several attempts to clarify the linguistic situation in the southern and southwestern part of Bauchi State, Nigeria, of which the Polci cluster and Polci language are a part.
In 1971, John Ballard, working with the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Ibadan, did an extensive linguistic survey of the Nigerian Middle Belt published Historical inferences from the linguistic geography of the Nigerian Middle Belt. As a result, it came to light that there was a narrow corridor occupied by the speakers of Chadic languages in the southwest of Bauchi.
In the same year, Neil Campbell and James Hoskison from the Summer Institute of Linguistics carried out a linguistic survey of the Bauchi area. The survey, Bauchi Area Survey Report and published in 1972, listed the names, location and population of twenty four Chadic languages, which are very closely related to each other and are spoken to the south and west of Bauchi. They also collected word lists. However, no detailed analysis of linguistic data or language classification was included in either of these surveys.
Also in 1971, C. Hoffman published Provisional Check List of Chadic Languages, which contained 17 languages divided into two sub-groups. This list was revised and amplified by Kay Williamson in a document handed out to students at the University of Ibadan, titled Chadic languages of Nigeria in 1972, to include 21 languages classified into three subgroups.
With this information, K. Shimizu set out in 1974 to list the languages belonging to the Southern Bauchi Group, to examine their geographical distribution, and to use valid linguistic data to come up with sub-classifications. The survey, published in 1978 and titled A survey report of The South Bauchi Group of Chadic Languages came to the conclusion that not all languages listed under the dialect continuum of the South Bauchi Group belonged there and came up with a much more extensive, new classification. This is also the work from which the Barawa subgroup name came from, which was found to be the term used locally in this area to denote the speakers of this dialect continuum. Much of the research done on Barawa languages, the Polci cluster, and Polci itself use this survey as an important reference.
In 1999, Ronald Cosper published Barawa lexicon: A wordlist of eight South Bauchi (West Chadic) languages: Boghom, Buli, Dott, Geji, Jimi, Polci, Sayanci and Zul. It considered most of the languages to be endangered and found that most individuals who spoke any of these languages were also bilingual in Hausa, which may have had influence on their lexicons and grammars. The book contains a lexicon of 852 words from the different Barawa languages. The words are organized based on semantic and syntactic categories. Semantic noun categories are followed by adjectives, numerals, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and a number of categories of verbs. However, Cosper's work was seriously defective.
Since then, the majority of the research on South Bauchi West (B.3) languages has been conducted by Bernard Caron, a faculty member at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, LLACAN. Caron’s research has focused on South Bauchi West and Polci cluster languages in particular. Many of his papers are available online and include topics such as linguistic classification, syntactic structures such as conditionals, and noun classes such as pronominal and number systems.
Polci contains 35 consonant phonemes.
/ɓ/ and /ɗ/ are implosive consonants, which are common in the languages of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Polci contains six vowels qualities, which can be pronounced as short or long.
Short vowels: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /ə/, and /u/
Long vowels: /aː/, /eː/, /iː/, /oː/, /əː/, and /uː/
Polci is a three-tone language: Lo = à; Mid = a; Hi = á.
Polci, being a South Bauchi West language, does not possess grammatical gender or nominal classes and as a rule, few nouns form a plural (morpho-lexical plural). The plural inside the NP (noun phrase) is expressed through the noun modifiers. There is no agreement between the verb and its arguments. However, plurality appears in the verb phrase in two places: (i) the formation of the imperatives (ii) a verbal derivation forming what has come to be called pluractionals.
|1st Person Singular||ám|
|2nd Person Singular||kí|
|3rd Person Singular||tí|
|1st Person Plural||mì|
|2nd Person Plural||kì|
|3rd Person Plural||wún|
|1. nɨ̀m||21. zì rop ɬiyè ni nɨ̀m|
|4. wupsɨ̀||24. zì rop ɬiyè ni wupsɨ̀|
|5. nə̀mtəm||25. zì rop ɬiyè ni nə̀mtəm|
|10. zup||30. zì miyèn|
|11. zup ɬiyè nɨ̀m||40. zì wupsɨ̀|
|12. zup ɬiyè ròp||50. zì nə̀mtəm|
|13. zup ɬiyè miyèn||60. zì maɣà|
|14. zup ɬiyè wupsɨ̀||70. zì wusɨ̀rmìyen|
|15. zup ɬiyè nə̀mtəm||80. zì wɨsɨpsɨ̀|
|16. zup ɬiyè maɣà||90. zì nàtoropsɨ̀|
|17. zup ɬiyè wusɨ̀rmìyen||100. zì zup|
|18. zup ɬiyè wɨsɨpsɨ̀||200.|
|19. zup ɬiyè nə̀topsi||1000.|
|20. zì rop||2000.|
Conditionals generally are assumed to share their structure with topics. However, in Chadic South Bauchi West languages, such as Polci, conditionals share their structure with focus, not topic. In Polci specifically, focused constituents and conditional clauses appear on the left periphery marked by the identifying copula /kŒn/, ‘it is’. ].
- Shimizu, K. 1978: The Southern Bauchi Group of Chadic Languages: A Survey Report. In: Africana Marburgensia, Spec. iss. 25-49.
- Polci at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
Luri at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Nyamzak". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Blench, 2006. The Afro-Asiatic Languages: Classification and Reference List (ms)
- Cosper, R. 1999: Barawa lexicon: A wordlist of eight South Bauchi (West Chadic) languages: Boghom, Buli, Dott, Geji, Jimi, Polci, Sayanci and Zul. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa.
- Caron, B. 2005: Polci languages.. Paper Presented at 3rd Biennial International Colloquium on the Chadic Languages, Villejuif.
- Caron, B. 2011: Number in South-Bauchi-West Languages.. Paper Presented at Number in Africa and Beyond: Grammar, Semantics and Social Deixis, Cologne.
- Kraft, 2007. Polci Number System
- Caron, B. 206: Condition, topic and focus in African languages: why conditionals are not topics. ZASPiL, Berlin, 2006, 46, 69-82.
- Caron, B. 2003: Barawa: The pronominal system of South-Bauchi West Chadic languages. Paper presented at CIL 17, Prague.
- Caron, B. 2009: Documenting linguistic varieties of the South-Bauchi group. Towards polylectal grammars of African languages. Hamburg, Germany.
- Cosper, R. & Gital, G. 2004: Genitive Constructions in South Bauchi (West Chadic) Languages, Zul and Polchi, with Comparisons to Ancient Egyptian. Egyptian and Semito-Hamitic (Afro-Asiatic) studies: In memoriam W. Vycichl. Leiden: Brill.