A language of Nigeria

Alternate Names
Bariba, Busa-Bokobaru, Bussanchi, Bussawa

62,000 (2012 R. Jones). 10,800 in Kaiama, 51,200 in surrounding villages.


Kwara state: Kaiama LGA, some in Baruten LGA; 35 villages.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).


Kaiama, village Bokobaru. Kaiama dialect speakers and those in other villages have good mutual inherent intelligibility. Distinct from Boko [bqc] of Benin or Busa [bqp]. Lexical similarity: 86% with Boko [bqc], 91% with Bisã [bqp], 62% with Kyanga [tye], 54% with Shanga [sho], 50% with Bisa [bib] of Burkina Faso and Ghana.


SOV; genitives before noun heads; articles, adjective, numerals, relatives after noun heads; question word initial or final; 4 suffixes; word order distinguishes subject, object, indirect object; postpositions; person, number, aspect included in subject pronouns; tone changes some verb aspect; passives; CV, CVV, CCV; tonal.

Language Use

Used by all. Positive attitudes. Also use Baatonum [bba], English [eng], Hausa [hau], Nigerian Fulfulde [fuv], Yoruba [yor].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 10%. Literacy materials available. Low motivation. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2005.


Latin script [Latn], used since 2007.

Other Comments

Ethnic autonyms, often used interchangeably: Bokobaru, especially for Kaiama town people, and Zogben, peasant, for village people. The Hausa call several groups of people (Boko, Bokobaru, Busa, Bariba) Bussawa, while the Yoruba call them all Bariba. Glossonym: Bussanchi by the Hausa. Muslim, traditional religion.

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