Chika Kennedy Ajede

Dijim (glottocode: diji1241) is a Niger-Congo language of the Tula-Waja group (Kleinewillinghöfer 2014) spoken in Nigeria on the border between Adamawa and Gombe states in the northern part of the Benue River Valley. In Adamawa State, Dijim is spoken in Lamurde LGA in a place called Mwana (Tari), while in Gombe State, Dijim is spoken in Balanga LGA in Kindiyo and Mona (Bwilim). The language spoken in Kindiyo and Mona is also sometimes referred to as Cham or Chum. The name dìʤím ‘Dijim’ was coined by members of the language committee as a cover term for the three varieties. Adelberger (1989-1993) estimated the population of the Dijim people to be around 30.000 in 1990. The actual current number of speakers is not known.

The entrance to Mona

A view on Kindiyo from the hills

Before Chika Kennedy Ajede began his work on Dijim in 2020, very little was known about the language. For example, Jungraithmayr (1968-1969) cites a few dozen words from the language, Kleinewillinghöfer (2014) provides a list of 18 words collected in the early 1990s on which he based his classification of Dijim as a Tula-Waja language. Elstermann (2021) proposes a reconstruction of the noun class system of Tula-Waja where he mentions some Dijim examples. Chika’s project is funded by the by the Thèses internationales programme of CNRS.

A traditional hut in Mona (Tari)Chika with Nidu Menson (the Chief of Tari), his brother Boniface and Danladi

The description and documentation of Dijim has been enjoying support of many members of the community including but not limited to: HRH Nidu Grah, Nidu Monday Shuwa (the chief of Bwilim), Nidu Menson Boniface (the chief of Tari), Sale Maaji, Synon Musa, Mr Obadia, Jurgoi Sale, Yunusa Y. Goro, Luka Turaki, Silas Dogara, Daniel Je Likita, Emmanuel Dcham, Limbe Boniface, Danladi and many others.

Chika working with Sale Maaji from Mona A session in Kindiyo with Yunusa Y. Goro, Luka Turaki and his wifeYunusa Y. Goro showing weapons used for hunting

Chika with Danladi, Dcham and Daniel in Tari Chika with Danladi, Dcham and Daniel in Tari