Mirjam Möller Nwadigo

Baa (glottocode: kwaa1262) is a minority language of northeastern Nigeria. The speakers refer to their languages as ɲā báà ‘the Baa language’. There are no recent statistics on the number of speakers, but estimations range from 5k to 10k. The Baa community is found in two villages, Gyakan and Kwah, in Lamurde LGA of Adamawa state. Smaller communities of Baa speakers are also found elsewhere in Nigeria, not least in Lagos, and Abuja.

The majority of the people in Kwah and Gyakan are farmers and fishermen as the Benue River and other smaller rivers run through their land. Different fishing tools and techniques are used by men and women. In the traditional household women earn their living from making pottery. The Baa hold a number of annual competitions and feasts related to hunting and farming to honour the most courageous hunter and the most diligent farmer. Traditional Baa religion is centred around two main deities, Gbandima and Kassimin, represented by their living successors chosen among the Baa. The last two successors died in the 1980s. A Baa custom that is particularly interesting from the linguistic perspective is the taboo on mentioning a deceased person’s name, especially in the presence of family and relatives. The person’s name is then replaced by a word referring to an event or item associated with the person.

Elisha Yunana Jerry Jakabe Dorcas Omeire Laye Nyalas

In the period of 2015-2020, Mirjam was a PhD fellow at LLACAN where she conducted her research on grammatical analysis and documentation of Baa. Before her first field trip in 2016, the only data avalaible on Baa consisted of unpublished survey fieldnotes and recordings made by Ulrich Kleinewillinghöfer in 1991 and by Dmitry Idiatov in 2011. Unfortunately, due to security restrictions Mirjam was not able to do her fieldwork in the Baa community and did it in Lagos. She was able to train community members in doing video and audio recordings. One community member, Elisha Yunana, then traveled to the Baa speaking region in Adamawa state where he worked with his community to collect data. Besides the elicited data collected by Mirjam with the speakers in Lagos, most recordings were collected by Elisha. He also did recordings with speakers in Lagos. Kaduwe Ornan, a linguistics student from a neighbouring community, Bacama, also helped in the data collection. The documentation part of Mirjam's research enjoyed support from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme as part of her Small Documentation Grant for documentation of Baa (2017–2018). This Baa corpus consists of annotated audio and video recordings with material from a wide range of speakers and different genres, such as, folktales, expository texts, and songs. In 2020, Mirjam published the first version of the Baa-English dictionary which she compiled together with the Baa community members organized in the Kwah Progressive Association in Lagos.