Wapan language

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Not to be confused with Jukun language.
Native to Nigeria
Region Taraba State, Plateau State, Nassarawa State
Native speakers
100,000 (1994)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 juk
Glottolog wapa1235[2]

Wapan or Jukun Wapan, also known as Wukari after the local town, is a major Jukunoid language of Nigeria.

Wapan and other Jukunoid languages are interesting in the development of asymmetrical patterns of nasal and oral consonants in West Africa, where one could posit that voiced oral stops become nasal before nasal vowels, sometimes at the expense of having more nasal than oral vowels (which is typologically odd), or that nasal stops denasalize before oral vowels, which is also typologically odd. In Wapan, the asymmetry is as follows: Oral vowels are only allowed in syllables like ba, mba and nasal vowels in bã, mã. Historically, however, the consonants nasalized: *mb became **mm before nasal vowels, and then reduced to *m, leaving the current asymmetric distribution.[3]

allophonic Ṽ next to N   *mã *mãm *mba *mbãm *ba *bãm
*mb → *mm/_Ṽ *mã *mãm *mba *mmãm *ba *bãm
*mm → *m *mã *mãm *mba *mãm *ba *bãm
loss of final C mba ba


  1. ^ Wapan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Wapan". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Larry Hyman, 1975. "Nasal states and nasal processes." In Nasalfest: Papers from a Symposium on Nasals and Nasalization, pp. 249–264