The main focus of this research work is a discussion of some
aspects of Yukuben Noun phrase. In this chapter, we shall look at the
historical background, socio cultural profile which include their culture,
socio-linguistics profile, occupation and religion. This chapter will also give
information on the geographical location and genetic classification of the
Yukuben people. It will also discuss about the scope and organization of study,
theoretical frame work for the analysis of our data, method of data collection
and then attempt a brief review of our chosen frame work, the Government and
BACKGROUND OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
The history of Yukuben is traced back to the time before
independence. We are told that the colonial masters enslaved people.
The Yukuben people were said to migrate from Ìdèn in the north
neighboring Cameroon due to slave trade.
The name Yukuben means “the child of a witch”. It was said
that one of the slave refused to work and was beaten, suddenly the bees started
trooping out from no where and scare the slave traders away. Because of this,
they were known to be “the child of a witch”.
colonial master created a boundary that led to the parting or division of
Yukuben speakers to Taraba State and Cameroon.
British and French shared the land through colonies and thereby we have
Yukuben in Nigeria, and Yukuben in Cameroon.
The Yukuben people are headed by king called the “Ùdèng Uchun
of Uhumkhigi land”. He is assisted by a group of chiefs called “Bàgbàn”.
The administration of Yukuben Land is pictured into village heads
who report to distinct heads and they in turn report to king, the “Ùdèng
LOCATION OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
Yukuben language is located in Takum local government area between
Katsina Ala and Gamana rivers, about 20 villages in Taraba State and also
spoken in Cameroon.
Yukuben region in Nigeria is west and central Africa which is
located within Taraba State (Benue - Plateau).
In Cameroun, it’s region is North West Province, Menchum division,
west of Furu – Awa, near Nigeria border.
The Yukuben people are surrounded by various hills with various
names: Kichi ènì Sabo, Ìyà, Kchenésìty Òlúkò, Kàlákìr, Ìtò.
The specific population of the Yukuben people cannot be
determined, but according to the population census in (1992), the population in
Nigeria is 15,000 in all countries 15,950. In Cameroon, their population was
950 (Breton 1986). Presently, their population in Nigeria is 23,000, in all
CULTURAL PROFILE OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
The socio cultural profile of the Yukuben people focuses on their
culture, how they use language in society (Socio-linguistics), occupation and
1.3.1 CULTURE OF THE YUKUBEN PEOPLE
of the Yukuben people has to do with their way of life, marriage, festival,
food and drinks, dressing and houses. All these will be discuss one after the
social institution among the people is marriage institution. They start their
marriage ceremony with the family introduction. The husband’s family will
provide palm oil in Calabash and cock to their in laws. Bush meats are also
When everything has been approved by the in laws, a date for the
wedding ceremony is now fixed. On the wedding day, the husband family have to
make their favourite wine known as Bùrùkùtù out of guinea corn and add
honey to it. Both families and well wishers drink, dance, merry and celebrate
on the wedding day.
other ethnic groups celebrate their festivals, Yukuben people also celebrate
their own festivals.
The Yukuben People celebrates series of festivals, but the most
common festival among them is the masquerade festival called “Oohgum”
when it is singular and “Eegum” when it is plural in their language.
masquerade festival is used to appease their gods. They believe that, this
masquerade protects and bless them. This masquerade festival is celebrated
annually (every year). During this period, all Yukuben speakers all over
Nigeria come home to celebrate this festival. Their local drinks called
“Bùrùkùtù” is used to celebrate this festival.
festival which is celebrated among the Yukuben people is “Khichun” festival.
This festival is celebrated annually among the hunters and farmers.
Another festival which is celebrated among Yukuben people is
called Kukyib (festival) Kamang (Circumcision) which means circumcision
festival. The age at which a child can be circumcised among the people is from
18.104.22.168 FOOD AND DRINKS
food is maize, guinea-corn, cassava, plantain, yam, rice transformed into
“Tuwo” usually called “Buna” by the people.
drink is called “Beson” usually made from guinea corn, also known as
They put on weaved cloth known as “Ukya” in Yukuben language which
is mainly put on by the women. “Ukya” is known as Aso ofì by the Yorubas.
Their men put on what is known as “Ìsáng” in their
language. This Ìsáng is made using back of the tree beaten until it become
soft and tender.
building structures of the Yukuben people is the hay and the mud buildings,
although there are some buildings made from blocks and cements but are
few in number.
1.3.2 SOCIOLINGUISTICS PROFILE OF YUKUBEN PEOPLE
Austin defines socio linguistics “as the study of language in relation to
society”. That is the study of language as it affect and is affected by
socio-relatives, how language affects the society and how the society affects
linguistics is also defined as the effects of any and all aspect of society
including cultural norms, expectations and contexts on the way language is
sociolinguistics profile of Yukuben comprises the status
of their language, what they use their language for (language
use), their alternate names e.t.c.
Yukuben language which is also locally known as uhumkhigi is said to be
the real name of the people and it is mostly (the name) preferred in Cameroon.
The name Yukuben is derived by the people of Takum, Jukun people.
Yukuben language is used in various ways, it is used for social
activities like: Education, trade communication, entertainment (local),
greetings. It is also used in Religion, (Both in Traditional and Christianity).
Some of the social activities are enumerated below:
1. EDUCATION: They
use English language as their language of Education from Primary Level to
Senior Secondary School Level. They use English to teach their students both
written and orally.
They also use Yukuben language for education at the primary level
(Primary 1-6) and also at Junior Secondary School Level (JSS 1-3) Although, it
is an oral language, they teach their students orally.
1. TRADE: Yukuben
language is used as trade language both in Nigeria and Cameroon. In Nigeria,
they use Jukun [Jbu], Kuteb [Kub], or Hausa [hau]. In Cameroon, they also use
Jukun Takum [dyu] or Cameroon Pidgin [wes].
2. COMMUNICATION: Yukuben
language is used for communication among the people. They use it for
communication in the family (at home) and also among other people (the
3. ENTERTAINMENT: Yukuben
language is also used locally for entertainment among the people. It may be
during festival, marriage, party (especially at primary school level) and so
4. GREETINGS: Yukuben
language is also used for greeting among the people.
5. Religion: Yukuben
language is used in traditional Religion and in Christianity.
Religion: Yukuben language is a language of incantation, to worship
their gods, to pray or make request from their gods, to praise their gods etc.
2. Christianity: Yukuben
language is used in the church for various purposes. It is used to praise God,
used to conduct their church service, used for announcement, used to pray and
STATUS OF THE LANGUAGE
Yukuben language is a language, it is not a dialect. It is not a written
language, but an oral language. The language is not a bedroom language, that
is, the speakers have the privilege of speaking it anytime.
Yukuben speakers are said to be multilingual in nature, apart from
Yukuben, they also speak other languages like Jukun and Hausa. Few people that
are educated among them speak English (in Nigeria). Yukuben speakers speak
Yukuben among themselves but when they come in contact with the Jukun’s, they
speak Jukun and also if they come in contact with the Hausa’s, they speak Hausa
Yukuben language is also said to have dialectal variants known as
“Líssà,” Shìbong” “Fété.
Yukuben alternate names both in Nigeria and Cameroon is Ayìkiben,
Balaabe, Balaaben, Borítsu, Gohum Nyìkobe, Nyìkuben, Unhum, Ochum, Uuhum-Gigi,
Yukuben people strongly belief in respect for elders, they are always treated
with due courtesy from the young ones. They are friendly and they also
The Yukuben people do not have group identification (e.g tribal
mark) used to identify them from other people e.g Jukun and Hausa, unlike the
Kanuri people, ̣Òyó, Òndó and other ethnic group, which have group
There is inter marriage among the people, that is, they can marry
from any ethnic group.
There is no economic factor like good roads, pipe borne water and
major occupation among the Yukuben people is Farming. Apart from the educated
people among them who are involve in commercial activities like Banking,
teaching and so on. The Yukuben people are mainly farmers. They produce cash
crops such as groundnuts and cotton. Crops such as maize, rice, millet,
sorghum, cassava, guinea-corn and yam are also produced.
secondary production (that is changing of raw materials into finished goods)
they produced soya beans, palm oil, palm wine and honey. They export crops and
sell to other parts of Taraba State.
Yukuben people also involve in livestock production activities like poultry
production, rabbit breeding and pig farming. Other occupations such as cloth
weaving, carpentry, bricklaying, mat-making, carving, and blacksmithing are
also carried out among the people.
Before the advent of European missionaries, Yukuben people were idol
worshippers. At the advent of the European missionaries, a great number of them
Presently, the major religion among the people are Christianity and
Traditional. For the Christians among them, they have different churches, for
example E.C.W.A, Catholic, Deeper life, C.R.C.N and so on are present in their
they worship traditionally is known as “Idola masquerade”. Other idols of the
people are “Oohgum” which they belief it protects against witchcraft, “Khima”
is said to be “the god of thunder” and it is used against thieves, and also
“Bahmbre” which is also used against witchcraft and thieves.
Yukuben people did not embrace Islam, there is no Muslim among the people
talk less of having a mosque.
1.4 GENETIC CLASSIFICATION OF YUKUBEN LANGUAGE
Genetic classification of language is based on the assumption that
languages are originated from a common ancestor. The essence of the genetic
classification of Yukuben language is to trace the origin of the language and
show its relationship to other languages.
Yukuben language belongs to the Jukunoid Phylum. The Jukunoid is a
sub-family of the Benue-Congo which originated from Niger-Congo phylum of the
Niger-Kordofanian language family.