Baa Group or Kwa Group

Baa (Kwa)

(Ulrich Kleinewillinghöfer 2011)

a.  Baa of Djakan (Gyakan)
b.  Baa of Kwa

Nyaa Báà, language of the Baa, also known as Kwa, is spoken in Kwa, a village on a hill in the floodplains at the northern bank of the Benue and in Djakan (also spelled Jakan, Gyakan on maps) a village some miles to the northwest, at the foothills of the southern ridge of the Muri Mountains. The varieties spoken in the two settlements differ mainly in phonology.

Pronouns and numbers

Baa wordlist 100


Baa is distinct from all the other Adamawa languages and thus forms a group of its own. A comparison of basic vocabularies shows, however, a higher number of cognates with the Longuda cluster than with any other Adamawa group. It remains open if this is genetically relevant or else the result of a recent contact situation. Typologically Baa has more in common with languages of the Bikwin-Jen Group: no noun class system, nominal plurals are marked by a prefix.

Williamson & Blench 2000 and the Ethnologue (Lewis 2009) list Kwa or Baa as an Adamawa Branch of its own.


Kleinewillinghöfer, Ulrich. 1996. Die nordwestlichen Adamawa-Sprachen - Eine Übersicht. In: Seibert, Uwe (ed). Afrikanische Sprachen zwischen Gestern und Morgen. Frankfurter Afrikanistische Blätter, 8: 80-103.

Lewis, M. Paul (ed). 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version:

Williamson, Kay & Roger Blench. 2000. Niger-Congo. In: Heine, Bernd & Derek Nurse (eds). African Languages. An Introduction. Cambridge Unversity Press. pp. 11-42.