Annotated Swadesh wordlists for the Akpes group (Benue-Congo family).

Languages included: Akunnu Akpes [akp-aku], Ekiromi Akpes [akp-eki].


Agoyi 1997 = Agoyi, T. O. The category of number and the genetic classification of Èkiròmì. Paper presented in the departmental seminar series, Department of linguistics and Nigerian languages, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. // A synchronic and diachronic discussion of the nominal morphology (plural formation, class system) of the Ekiromi dialect of Akpes. Contains some lexical material, including a brief 66-item comparative wordlist on the different varieties of Akpes.

Ibrahim 1989 = Ibrahim-Arirabiyi, Femi. A comparative reconstruction of Akpes lects. Akoko North, Ondo state. M.A. thesis, Department of linguistics and African languages, University of Port-Harcourt. // An attempt at a reconstruction of the phonology of Proto-Akpes. Contains a large list of Proto-Akpes etyma with reflexations in daughter languages (dialects).

Ohiri-Aniche 1999 = Ohiri-Aniche, Chinyere. Language diversification in the Akoko area of Western Nigeria. In: Archaeology and Language IV. Language Change and Cultural Transformation. Ed. by Roger Blench and Matthew Spriggs. London: Routledge, pp. 79-94. // Sociolinguistic and comparative notes on several small linguistic groups of Western Nigeria, focusing on Ukaan, Akpes, and Akokoid. Contains three somewhat shortened Swadesh-type wordlists on Ikakumo Ukaan, Akunnu Akpes, and Arigidi Akokoid.


1. General.

The Akpes dialect cluster in the Ekiti state of Nigeria, spoken by approximately 10,000 people, is very poorly described. It is generally recognized that it consists of at least five to ten distinct dialects, and a first attempt at reconstructing the phonology of Proto-Akpes on the basis of data from several of them has been published as [Ibrahim 1989]. However, no dictionaries or even representative wordlists for any of these dialects have been made public as of yet. The current wordlists, scrambled together from several different available sources, have to be regarded as preliminary.

For the Akunnu dialect, the primary source is a brief wordlist in [Ohiri-Aniche 1999], identical in many points with the Swadesh list but, unfortunately, still containing gaps. The only other dialect for which it makes sense to offer a separate wordlist is Ekiromi (= Ikorom) Akpes, whose grammar is partially described in [Agoyi 1997] and illustrated with numerous examples of nouns, as well as accompanied by a 66-item wordlist that allows to add some verbal material as well.

Some of the most painful gaps in both sources can be remedied by using the comparative materials in [Ibrahim 1989], although conflating this source with Ohiri-Aniche's and/or Agoyi's data is somewhat risky, since there seem to be certain subdialectal discrepancies between all of them. Even so, the resulting wordlist for Ekiromi currently contains only 64 items; Akunnu fares much better, with 85 out of 110 required items. Hopefully, future research will allow to rectify this situation.

2. Transliteration.

Most of the sources employ IPA for transcription, with occasional deviations that are typical for Africanist tradition (e. g. Ohiri-Aniche marks nasalization of vowels under the symbol rather than over it: , , etc. > UTS , ). As such, most of the recoding concerns the usual UTS/IPA discrepancies, e. g. conversion of affricates and fricatives: ʃ > š, tʃ > č, > ǯ.

It should be specially noted that the transcription in [Ibrahim 1989] is rather confusing, as it is often hard to distinguish nasalization (ã, ĩ, etc.) from mid tone (ā, ī, etc.), except in those cases where both diacritics are superimposed (ã̄, ĩ̄, etc.), because of the poor quality of the print. In some cases, it is necessary to make a "best guess" based on various types of context (thus, as a rule, nasalized vowels in Akpes arise when adjacent to nasal consonants or when nasal consonants elide altogether, leaving vowel nasalization behind as a trace).

Database compiled and annotated by: G. Starostin (last update: May 2015).