THE MIYA LANGUAGE

Miya is spoken in Bauchi State, Nigeria, in Miya town and surrounding farming villages. It is one of the nine known members of the North Bauchi group of West Chadic Languages, the others being Diri, Pa'a, Kariya, Mburku, Tsagu, Siri, Jimbu, and Warji. The Ethnologue mentions a tenth, Aja, said to be extinct. These languages are most fully documented as a group in wordlists in Skinner (1977). Warji is by far the largest, but population figures are probably unreliable for any of these languages. Here are the population figures listed in Skinner (1977) and the Ethnologue as of 2010:

Research on Miya

I worked on Miya in 1982-1983 while teaching at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Nigerian Languages. I spent probably a total of about six weeks in data collection, including three field trips to Miya town and one visit of a couple of weeks by Vaziya Ciroma to my home in Zariya.

Acknowledgments

Work on Miya was supported in part by a grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. Neil Skinner suggested to me that Miya would be a good language to work on and Miya town would be a good place to work. He was right, and I am grateful for his suggestion! I would like to thank Yakubu Sarkin Miya, Malvu Miy, who welcomed me and was continually helpful in facilitating my research.  In addition to his willingness to let me work among his people, he narrated immensely valuable historical and ethnographic texts. Thanks also to Haladu Soja, in whose home I stayed during my visits to Miya, for his hospitality and friendship, and thanks to his family for putting up with a stranger in their midst (especially to Haladu’s younger brother, whom I displaced from his room!). My greatest debt is to Vaziya Ciroma Tilde Miya, my principal informant, who also became a good friend.  He was the ideal person to work with in all respects—perceptive, patient, dependable, and indefatigable.  Besides providing me with nearly all my elicited Miya data, Vaziya saw to all my arrangements in Miya town.

Vaziya Ciroma Schuh and Vaziya, 1983 Haladu Soja Yakubu Sarkin Miya