Plateau languages

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Linguistic classification Niger–Congo
Glottolog benu1248[1]
The Central Nigerian AKA Platoid languages (yellow) in Nigeria

The forty or so Plateau are a tentative group of Benue–Congo languages spoken by 3.5 million people on the Jos Plateau and in adjacent areas in Central Nigeria. The original formulation, now called Platoid or Central Nigerian, included the Jukunoid, Kainji languages, and later the Dakoid languages. (See Benue–Congo.) Defining features of the Plateau family have only been published in manuscript form (Blench 2008). Many of the languages have "fearsomely complex" phonologies that make comparison with poor data difficult.


Little work has been done on the Plateau languages, and the results to date are tentative. The following classification is taken from Blench (2008). Most of the branches are discrete constituents, though Central is a residual grouping and there are doubts about some of the purported Ninzic languages. Plateau languages as a whole share a number of isoglosses, as do all branches apart from Tarokoid.


Tarokoid (5)



Eggonic (2)

Jilic (2–4)

Ndunic (Ahwai) (1–3)

Alumic (4)

Ninzic (13–14)

East (2–3)

? Central (20)

Beromic (4)

Yukubenic (6)


Only some of the languages have nominal classes, as the Bantu languages have, where in others these have eroded. The large numbers of consonants in many languages is due to the erosion of noun-class prefixes.

Adjectives and possessive forms generally follow the noun.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Benue–Congo Plateau". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 


External links[edit]