Tiv languageTiv is a Southern Bantoid language spoken in some states in North Central Nigeria, with some speakers in Cameroon. It had 4 million speakers in 2015. Most Tiv speakers are found in Benue State in Nigeria. The language is also widely spoken in the Nigerian states of Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa and Cross River as well as the FCT Abuja. It is by far the largest of the Tivoid languages, a group of languages belonging to the Southern Bantoid branch of Benue–Congo.
DialectsTiv has no dialects. Tiv speakers can understand each other across their territory. However, accents (ham) exist.
The accents of Tiv are as follows:
History and classificationThe first reference to the Tiv language (dzwa Tiv) was made by Koelle (1854) from liberated slaves from Sierra Leone. Johnston (1919) classified it as a peculiar language among the Semi-Bantu languages, and Talbot (1926) concurred. Abraham (1933), who has made the most complete linguistic study of Tiv, classifies it as Bantu, stating that its vocabulary is more similar to the East African Nyanza group of Bantu languages than to Ekoi or other neighbouring languages. Malherbe (1933) agrees with Abraham that Tiv is essentially Bantu.
All material on Tiv seems to point to a recent expansion, perhaps as late as the 18th century.