This chapter Introduces the language and its speakers, other issues in the chapter includes the historical background, socio-cultural profile, geographical location, genetic classification, scope, and organization, theoretical framework, data collection, data analysis, a brief review of the chose theoretical framework and the literature review.


Crystal (2008:283) defines linguistics as “the scientific study of language”.This means that linguistics is the scientific study of natural language as everything concerning language is undertaken in linguistics. This project work is on the aspect of morphology of Yiwom language.

The speakers of the Yiwom language are estimated to be 14,100 in the year 2000. The Yiwom people are also known as Garkawa, Gerkanchi, Gerka, and Gurka. The speakers call themselves Yioum instead of Yiwom and they will be referred to as Yiwom in this project.


Hiel-Yioum is what they call their town, but the Fulani people call them Garkawa. It is a unit in the southeast corner of the present Mikang local government of Plateau states in Nigeria. The unit consists of an undulating county slightly rising from south to the Garkawa hills in the extreme North. The Yiwom people have been in their present home for upwards of two hundred years (200 years). The Pitop came to the area first and provided itself a stockaded town at a place called Hakbap. The Rohta followed second and settled in Kiel-Hiel at Rohta-Hills, north of Hiel-Yioum. Other families arrived in large detachments one after the other, and took refuge at Kiel-Hiel. Rohta rock was fortified and was capable of withstanding a siege.

About the middle of the nineteenth century, the families came from their hills to live in their present homes. Yiwom was once divided into two distinct sections which are the Hill and Plain, the former which is the Hill at Rohta, the latter which is the plain at Pitop. According to legends preserved by both sections, their ancestors sprang from the grounds. The Rohta maintain that they are from river gulnam in the hills, while the Pitop says that their ancestors emerged from the earth. The word “Yioum” in Yiwom dialect means leave. The analogy being: as trees grow out of the ground, so their ancestors came into being. The name “Garkawa” was given to them by Fulani/Hausa traders owing to their military prowess and stubbornness. The name derived from “gagararru”, which in the occurrence of the time became “Garka and Ba Garko and finally, Garkawa”. History shows the Yiwom people to have been a formidable tribe. Legend points to the fact that all the families mentioned and who call themselves Yiwom are of Jukun stock that migrated after the breakup of Kwararrafa Empire (West of Bukundi) and wandered about until they found their present home. Until now, they kept very much to themselves and are good agriculturalist.  Yiwom is regarded by the British as one of the “unconquered tribes” living near or along the trade routes. Source Dabup (2009:67-73)


The home of the Yiwom speakers is situated in the southeast of Mikang local government in Plateau State, Nigeria. It is found in coordinates 9000 north, 9035 East, and 90 North, 9.5830 easts. It covers an area of approximately 739km2 which is 285.3 square meters, its time zone is WAT (UTC + 1). It is bounded in the North and East by the Lantang section of Yergam, southeast by the way to Dampar, south by Inshar and West by the Lalin section of Montol.


Yiwom is a Chadic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoke by the Garkawa people of Plateau state, Nigeria. They have several clans such as Rohta, Killah, Balbro, Pitop Talim, Lahl, Pensong, Gwar-Gimjim, Bal’Nlah, Longkrom and Wai. Each clan has its own priest called Bangkrom-Krom and its own traditional religion.

1.4.1        Religion

The Yiwom speakers practice all kind of religion including Christianity, Islam and animism. In the olden days, the speakers of the language were mainly practicing animism but over the years, Christianity has taken over and a few practice Islam.

1.4.2        Ceremonies

A lot of ceremonies go on in the Yiwom culture which includes marriage, burial ceremony.    Naming Ceremony

Yiwom speakers do not celebrate naming ceremony. It is the father side that names a child and it is done immediately or at most after three of five days after the child had been given birth to. There is no celebration a lady is not given the chance to name a child even though a mother can name a child, it has to be with the consent of the father but it is usually the father side that gives the child a name.




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