(autonym: bàsàrə̀n dà jàlààbè̩
), also known as Cèntûm
or Cen Tuum
, is an extinct language
of northeastern Nigeria
(Loojaa settlement in Balanga
Local Government Area, Bauchi State
), of uncertain origins, apparently a language isolate
. The Jalabe
(as descendants of speakers of the language are called) speak the Bwilim dialect of the Dikaka language
. It is possible (but unconfirmed) that some remembered words have been retained for religious ceremonies, but in 1992 only a few elders remembers words that their parents had used, and by 2010 there may not even remain any such rememberers.
The Jalabe are said to have come to Loojaa from an area a few miles south within the Muri Mountains, where they had shared a settlement with Tso and Kwa clans. (The name of this settlement, Cèntûm or Cùntûm, is used as a name for the language in some sources. Jalaa elders differ in whether they believe Jalaa or Centum/Cuntum was their original name for themselves.) Later, during the nineteenth century, the Dikaka
arrived in the area, fleeing attacks from the larger Waja
to the north; the Cham intermarried with the Jalabe, and the Jalabe began to adopt the Dikaka language. Read more...