The Reshe language



The Reshe people and language certainly represent the most divergent group in West Kainji. They are generally known in the ethnographic literature as ‘Gungawa’, from the Hausa term for ‘island’. The Reshe lived on the shores and islets of the Niger above Busa until the creation of Lake Kainji in 1974. They are described summarily in the ethnographic literature (Gunn & Conant 1960). Today, the Reshe people live in Kebbi and Nigger states of Niggeria, primmarily in and around Yelwa town (known today as Yauri) in Yauri and Borggu Emmirate council areas. an immportant port on the East of the Nigger River in Kebbi state. There are Reshe settlemments througghout Yauri, N’ggaski, and Shangga L.G.As of Kebbi state, and also in Aggwara and Borggu L.G.A.s of Nigger state. Their ancient city, Birnin Yauri or Ireshe ubinäə, is about five mmiles east of Yelwa (See Map).


From a lexical point of view, the language of the Reshe people is quite well-known, through the article of Harris (1946). Other materials include the data in BCCW and a short grammar and conversational drills prepared by Boettger and Boettger (1967). Dettweiler and Dettweiler (1993b) review existing materials and analysed their newly collected field data. The first classification of Reshe appears in Bertho (1952), on the basis of unpublished material. Bertho considered Reshe to be ‘Voltaique’ i.e. affiliated to what we would now call Gur languages. Greenberg (1963:40) placed Reshe with his Plateau 1a [now West Kainji], while admitting its position was ‘uncertain’. The available material shows clearly that Reshe is by far the most divergent member of West Kainji, with many forms that do not resemble other languages in the group as well as a highly distinctive system of noun-class affixes.


Reshe dictionary


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