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

Languages included: Ikaan [uka-ika]; Ayegbe [uka-ish].


Abiodun 1997 = Abiọdun, Michael Ajibọla. 1997. Noun and Demonstrative Classes in Ukaan. Journal of Educational Humanistic Studies, 2(3): 1-14. // A short paper on some features of Ukaan nominal morphology. Contains detailed information on the system of deictic pronouns in Ukaan.

Abiodun 1999 = Abiọdun, Michael Ajibọla. 1999. A comparative phonology and morphology of Ukaan dialects of Old Akoko division. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ilọrin, Nigeria. // A comparative description of Ukaan phonology and morphology, accompanied with a large comparative set of basic lexicon for the four major dialects of Ukaan, and an attempt at reconstructing the original phonology and root shapes of Proto-Ukaan.

Jungraithmayr 1973 = Jungraithmayr, Hermann. 1973. Notes on the Ishe dialect of Ukaan (Akoko, Western State, Nigeria). Africana Marburgensia, 6(1): 38-53. // Brief paper on the Ayegbe dialect of Ukaan, containing a list of basic lexicon collected by the author.

Salffner 2009 = Salffner, Sophie. 2009. Tone in the phonology, lexicon and grammar of Ikaan. Ph.D. Thesis, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies. // A detailed description of the tonology of Ikaan, well illustrated by examples culled from the author's own fieldwork.


1. General.

Ukaan is a cluster of somewhat distantly related dialects (or, perhaps, a "macrolanguage") spoken by approximately 18,000 people in the Ekiti state of Nigeria. Its external links of Ukaan have not been resolved to common satisfaction; the current consensus is that it constitutes a separate branch within Benue-Congo. According to [Salffner 2009: 27], the main dialects are Ikaan, Ayegbe (= Iṣẹ, Isheu), Iigau (= Iigaọ), and Iinọ (= Iyinnọ). Comparative lexical wordlists, produced in [Abiodun 1999], show that, for the most part, the number of base lexicon discrepancies between these dialects is relatively negligible; the biggest distance seems to exist between Ikaan and Ayegbe, which makes it reasonable to add at least two different wordlists for the purposes of internal comparison. A few additional discrepancies between Ikaan, on one hand, and Iigau / Iinọ, on the other, are indicated in the comments.

We use the grammatical description of M. A. Abiodun [1999] as the main source for both dialects, since it is the only published source on this language that has an extensive comparative list of basic vocabulary (including the author's own reconstructions for Proto-Ukaan). The majority of other publications concerns Ikaan as the most widespread dialect of Ukaan, including multiple works by Sophie Salffner, notably her dissertation on the complex prosody and tonal behavior of Ikaan [Salffner 2009] that we have used for corroboration of some of the data. For Ayegbe, a useful alternate source is [Jungraithmayr 1973], with the author's own list of basic lexicon for this dialect; in a few cases where the corresponding entry could not be filled in with Abiodun's data, we have to rely on Jungraithmayr instead.

2. Transliteration.

Both Abiodun and Salffner generally rely on standard IPA transcription, so all changes to UTS are cosmetic (j > y, etc.).

Abiodun distinguishes between r (trill) and ɾ (tap); the same distinction is transcribed by Salffner as [r] vs. [r̥], as if the latter were a voiceless approximant; this agrees with her setting up the voiceless approximants [w̥], [y̥] as separate phonemes as well, although, other than the comparative phonetic table in [Salffner 2009: 54], she transcribes the latter as [hʷ], [hʸ] throughout the rest of the work. We leave all of Salffner's entries graphically unchanged in this respect.

Tonal notations on Ikaan and Ayegbe entries have to be taken with a grain of salt, since actual tone in Ukaan is highly dependent on context, and elicitation of the "base" tone is a complicated affair; for details, [Salffner 2009] should be consulted.

Database compiled and annotated by: G. Starostin (last update: October 2017).