Eveling Villa

Nyesam, commonly known as Kpasham (glottocode: kpas1242), is spoken in a number of villages on the southern side of the Benue River in Demsa LGA of Adamawa State close to the border with Taraba State. Kpasham is in fact the name of one of the villages where Nyesam is spoken. The speakers refer to their languages as ɲé sàm 'the language of Sam'. The speakers expressed their preference for the use of the name Nyesam for their language in English. Speakers of Nyesam refer to themselves as the Isam [ísàm], inhabitants of Asam [ásàm] the area which extends from the original mountain settlement to the current villages of Kpasham, Dakli, and Dem, among others.

Nyesam storytelling event

Julius Philip Giroh David Tiyina Left to right: Julius P. Giroh, Markus Zakke (chief of Dem), and a member of the elder's council from Dem Markus Kaifas

In the period of 2017-2022, Eveling was a PhD fellow at LLACAN where she conducted her research on grammatical analysis and documentation of Nyesam. The start of Eveling's research on Nyesam in 2017 was strongly facilitated by the contacts established with the Nyesam community during the Adamawa Language Survey in July 2016 by Tope Olagunju and Bitrus Andrew. Tope and Bitrus also collected some basic lexical data that helped Eveling to start her work even before going to the field. In Kpasham, Eveling was kindly hosted by a member of the honorable elder’s council, Francis Gayus Ngalato, his wife Naomi Ngalato, and his closest relatives Nicholas Ndatuwong and Sihiyona Maigaskiya. She also had the pleasure to work alongside Julius Phillip Giroh as a primary consultant. Without his learning curiousity and deep understanding of his language, the advancements on the project would have been more difficult.

Eveling Villa and Francis Ngalato Kpasham area Rose Thomas

Thanks to the generosity and the hospitality from the community who organized various traditional festivals displaying major events of the village life, Eveling was able to gather anthropologic and ethnographic data in addition to the relevant linguistic material. Eveling also participated in outreach activities that involved the community at large. These events took place on a weekly bases in the vicinity of several churches and further areas of the village. In addition to that, Eveling had the chance to gather data from neighboring villages, Dem and Dakli, where the language is also spoken.

Part of the elders council Funeral rite scene Children and Eveling

The documentation of Nyesam produced by the project can be consulted through the Endangered Languages Archive.