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Russian linguists study four Adamawa languages

A statement from the American University of Nigeria (AUN), signed by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Daniel Okereke, said the Russians are Professor Alexander…

A statement from the American University of Nigeria (AUN), signed by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Daniel Okereke, said the Russians are Professor Alexander Zheltov, Associate Professor Anastasia Lyakhovich and a final-year student, Lora Litvinova.
Their inquiry on the languages of Mumuye, Yadang, Waka, and Gengle was prompted by the need felt at St. Petersburg to document some languages spoken in Adamawa that were yet to be captured and documented.
“This led to investigation and classification of the languages into groups. The languages were described as belonging to a “hypothetical Adamawa language family” and is called “Adamawa-Ubangi” which comprises about 25 native tongues,” said the statement.
Presenting the findings to AUN management, Zheltov said “the methods used in the research included phonetics analysis with speech analyzer, vocabulary lists of various sizes, thematic vocabularies, sociolinguistic questionnaire and preliminary grammar questionnaire.”
He said the team found, among other things, lack of grammatical descriptions and word-lists for many languages and that ‘typological comparison’ sometimes may contradict genetic comparison in languages,” notably, in ditransitive construct in Waka, Yendang, Maya, and Nyong languages.
He added that the plural forms in Nyong language, for instance, could have two suffixes, and that there existed no fixed connection for the gender of speaker in communication.
“The team also gave an account of the existence of a “special social connection between the first-born son and family, and his maternal lineage” in Nyong, Maya, Gengle, and Kagama languages.”
Responding, the Dean of SAS, Dr. Idorenyin Akpan, commended the team for the work, saying “their work in linguistics is a great contribution not only to Adamawa but to Nigeria as whole.”

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