Brief History

 

TIV LANGUAGE


One of the most distinctive features of Tiv cultural heritage is found in their singularity of language. The Tiv language is spoken by over 6 million people in Nigeria, with some speakers in Cameroon. Most Nigerian Tiv speakers are found in Benue State of Nigeria. The language is also widely spoken all over Nigeria. There is a single Tiv language intelligible to all, although regional dialects allow one to distinguish the area from which a person comes. The language is classified as the only example of its subdivision (on the same level as Bantu languages) of the Niger-Congo Language Family.



GREETINGS- ISHUGHUN


Good Morning               Under vee?

Good Afternoon             U pande vee?

Good evening                U pande-iyange-vee?

Good night                    Yav dedoo

How are you?                U ngu nena? 

I am alright                   M ngu dedoo

Thank You                     M sugh u

Thank you very much     M sugh u kpishi

Welcome                        M sugh u za van

Safe Journey                   Za dedoo



PERSONAL PRONOUNS


I                                      M

We                                   Se

Him                                 Un    

Her                                  Un

Me                                   Mo

You                                  Ne/We

He                                    A

She                                   A

They                                 Ka/Mba

Them                                Ve

It                                      Ka

His                                   Na/Nav

Us                                    Se

Your                                 Wough

Their                                U ve

Mine                                 U wam

Ours                                 U wase



FAMILY


​​Mother                               Ngo/Mama
Father                                Ter/Baba
Sibling                              Abgbian (could include, uncles, aunties cousins)
Husband                             Nom
Wife/Female                       Kwase
Child/children                     Wan/mbayev
Baby                                 Wan u sha ikyum/wan-ikundan
Grandmother                      Ngo u vesen/ Aya
Grandfather                        Baba/ Ter u vesen
Motherinlaw                       Ngo kem
Father-inlaw                       Ter kem
Daughter/ Son                     Wan u kwase or wan u nomso

Inlaw                                 Won

“This is my mother”
“Ka mama wam je ne”
“This is my father”
“Ka Baba wam je ne?”



CLOTHING


Cloth                                       Ikyondo
Shirt                                        Sheti
Blouse                                      Liga
Trousers                                   Wondo
Shoes                                       Abada
Head tie                                   Adipko

Under Wear                               Ikyondo i ker a to

Socks                                       Ijubu

Brazzier                                    Kor atemba

Hat                                           Idyer



DAYS OF THE WEEK


Monday                                       Hiitom
Tuesday                                      Tom ahar
Wednesday                                  Tom atar
Thursday                                    Tom anyiin
Friday                                        Tom ataan
Saterday                                     Sati
Sunday                                       Lahadi



AT HOME- HEN YA


House                                            Iyou

Door                                              Hunda

Window                                         Wondor

Wall                                               Kpekpe

Key                                                Makuri

Box                                                Akwati

Mirror                                             Jingi

Mattress                                           Katifa

Bed                                                 Gambe

Blanket                                            Bologo

Pillow case                                       Ikpa Pilo

Comb                                               Ayali

Watch                                              Agogo

Lamp                                              Imenger

Body cream                                      Mkurem ma shighen

Soap                                                Chahul

Stool                                                 Kujira

Chair                                                Ikonough



AT SCHOOL- KE MAKARANTA


School                                                Makaranta

Teacher                                               Ticha
Student(s)                                            Wanye/Mbayev makaranta

Table                                                   Tebu

Paper                                                   Pipa

Pencil                                                  Kwaghngeren

Black Board                                         Kpande



AT THE MARKET- KE KASUA


Market                                                  Kasua

Buy                                                      Yam

Sell                                                      Tee

Money                                                  Inyaregh

Change                                                 Changi

Pay                                                      Kimbir

Price                                                    Ishe

Business                                                Kpenga

Borrow                                                 Gba injo

Bank                                                     Bam

Town                                                    Geri



AT CHURCH- KE ADUA


Pastor                                                    Ortese

Pastors wife                                            Atese

Priest                                                      Fada
Choir                                                      Mbaastamev
Church members                                       Ale

Bible                                                       Bibilo

Hymes                                                     Atsam

Church building                                       Iyou-adua



COMMON PHRASES


I am                                                          M ngu

We are                                                       Se mba

She/he is                                                    Ngu

They are                                                    Ve mba

You are                                                      U ngu

It is                                                            Ka/Ngu

I will                                                          Me va

We will                                                       Se va

She/He will                                                 Una va

Come here                                                   Va hen

Go                                                                 Za

Sit down                                                      Tema nya

Stop it                                                         De kwagh la

Give me                                                       Nam

Tiv Alphabets

 

ALPHABETS


Letter                                   Tiv Pronounciation

A                                            aa

B                                            ba

C                                            cha

D                                            da

E                                             ee

F                                             fa

G                                            ga

H                                            ha

I                                              ii

J                                              ja

K                                             ka

L                                             la

M                                            ma

N                                             na

O                                             oo

P                                              pa

Q  

R                                             ra/la

S                                              sa

T                                              ta

U                                              uu

V                                              va

W                                             wa

X

Y                                              ya

Z                                              za

Body Parts

 

BODY PARTS

Body                                                 Iyol

Head                                                Ityough

Fore-head                                          Ichul

Eye(s)                                               Ishe (Ashe)

Ear(s)                                            Tough (Ato)

Cheek(s)                                   Hengegh (Ahenge)

Nose(s)                                       Ihinga (Ahenga)

Chin                                                 Gbem

Face                                                  Ishigh

Heart                                                Ishima

Chest                                                 Vanger

Hand(s)                                           Wegh(Ave)

Breast(s)                                     Ityumba(Atumba)

Arms(s)                                              Wegh

Nail(s)                                   Ikyughur (Akughur)

Knee(s)                                            Inyu(Anu)

Stomach                                           Iyav/Gbor

Armpits                                           Kutsaha

Back                                                  Ijime

Waist                                                 Iwenge

Buttocks                                             Ato

Toes                                             Ahorangahar

Leg(s)                                        Nguhar(Angahar)

Finger(s)                                 Ho-we (Ahoravegh)

Hair                                                    Ice

Womb                                                 Sar

Eye lid                                          Kughur-ishe

Tooth/ Teeth                                  Inyigh/Anyi

Jaw(s)                                       Zeghlegh(azegher)

Gums                                                   Ikio

Tongue                                              Nombul

Lips                                                Kuur-zwa

Brain                                                Mhirinim  

Skull                                          Igbondo-ityough

Vien(s)                                           Gbera(Igbira)

Bone(s)                                          Kuhe(Akuhe)

Neck                                                    Mon

Throat                                                Ikyer

Tiv Greetings

 

Greeting

“Hi”                                                              “Msugh” Fun Fact: Msugh means, Hi, sorry, thank you, welcome and lot's more in Tiv. If you don't know what to say to a Tiv person just say Msugh! You can't go wrong with Msugh.



"Hi, my name is Terver.                                      “Msugh, Iti yam er Terver.”


 "It's a pleasure to meet you, my name is Sedoo".       “Msugh, mo mba yerem er                                                                                                  Sedoo.”


“Good Afternoon?”                                             “U pande ver?”


“How is your day going?”                                     "U pande nena?"

"How do you do?"                                               "U ngu nena?"


“I am well, thank you”                                         “M ngu dedoo, msugh”


"What is your name?"                                           “Iti yo ka nyi?”


“Good Morning”                                                  “U nder vee?”


“How is your morning going?”                              “U nder nena?”


“My name is Kwaghdoo.”                                     “Iti yam er Kwaghdoo”


Good bye                                                              Zadedoo

Numbers

 NUMBERS

1                                                        Mom

2                                                        Uhar

3                                                         Utar

4                                                        Unyiin

5                                                         Utaan

6                                                        Ateratar

7                                                   Utaan-kar-Uhar

8                                                      Anigheni

9                                                 Utaan-kar-unyiin

10                                                         Pue

11                                                 Pue-kar-mom

12                                                 Pue-kar-uhar

13                                                 Pue-kar-utar

14                                                Pue-kar-unyiin

15                                                Pue-kar-utaan

16                                               Pue-kar-ateratar

17                                     Pue-kar-utaan-kar-uhar

18                                            Pue-kar-aniegheni

19                                   Pue-kar-utaan-kar-unyiin

20                                                      Ikundu

21                                              Ikundu-kar-mom

22                                              Ikundu-kar-uhar

23                                               Ikundu-kar-utar

24                                           Ikundu-kar-unyiin

25                                              Ikundu-kar-utaan

26                                          Ikundu-kar-ateratar

27                                 Ikundu-kar-utaan-kar-uhar

28                                        Ikundu-kar-aniegheni

29                               Ikundu-kar-utaan-kar-unyiin

30                                                 Ikundu-Gber

40                                                  Akundu-ahar

50                                             Akundu-ahar-gber

60                                                  Akundu-atar

70                                             Akundu-atar-gber

80                                                 Akundu-anyiin

90                                         Akundu-anyiin-gber

100                                                     Deri-mom

1000                                                   Dubu-mom

100,0000                                     Dubu-deri-mom 

Tiv Names

 

Names in Tiv Society

In Tiv society, the day of the native week does not matter to them in giving names but rather names are given based on circumstances and religious expression.  
Traditionally, Tiv people sometimes bear the names of their ancestors, that is their grand parents or parents before them. The bearers of such name are believed to have a very strong relationship with their namesakes. Iti is name in Tiv language. There are parents that give the name “Tiv” to their children. It remains one of the great ancestor of the entire Tiv people. “The children then serve as the line of association between their living fathers and the deceased.   The most ancient of all names in Tiv society are  Aondo (God), Takuruku and Tiv. These names were often given to children, and are still given in the most remote part of Tar Tiv. In some Tiv mythologies, Aondo (God) was the direct bodily progenitor of Tiv people who became deified. Other names associated with ancestors are:
Terhide – father has returned 
Ngohide – mother has returns
Names associated with death in Tiv society are many and vary. Ku is death.
Ku kaa – Death has passed 
Ku hemba – Death is greater
Ku wua – Death has killed 
Ku kase – Death has surrounded 
Ku yila – Death has called 
Ku too – Death has taken
Kukiigh – Death has come to an end
Ku yange – Death has prevented
Kuyima – Death has saved

Here are some more modern Tiv names for you…
A
Achia
Adoo
Afa
Akaeer
Ako
Aluamo
Aluher
Aluper
Anase, Ana
Aondoaseer
Aondodoo
Aondohemba
Aondover
Aondona
Ashi
Ashiamar
Ati
Ato
Atiiseer
Aver
Awashima
Awase
Awuese
Ayila

B
Bem, Bemgba
Bunde

C
Cham
Chile
Chia

D
Denen
Deve
Dese
Doo
Doobee
Doom
Doofan
Doose
Doosuur
Dondo
Dooshima
Dooyum
Doowuese

E
Erdoo
Ernan
Eli
Ereen
Ember

F
Famaren
Fanen
Fanan
Faeren
Faga
Fater

G
Gaadi
Gande
Gandepuun
Gesa
Gemashima

H
Hemba
Hembasoon
Hembadoon
Hemen, Hemense
Hiidoon
Hom

I
Ier
Iember
Ina
Ikuma
Iorna
Iyorumun
Iortyom
Iordzwa
Iordza
Iornum
Iwanger
Iwuese
Iyua, Iyuadoo, Iwua

J
Jando
Jirjir

K
Kamdoon
Kashimana
Kwaghdoo
Kwaghfan
Kersha
Kenger
Keetor
Kpilakaa
Kumam
Kumator
Ku kaa – Death has passed 
Ku hemba – Death is greater
Ku wua – Death has killed 
Ku kase – Death has surrounded 
Ku yila – Death has called 
Ku too – Death has taken
Kukiigh – Death has come to an end
Ku yange – Death has prevented
Kuyima – Death has saved

L

Lahadi
Luper
Luter
Liamdoo
Liambee

Lianater

M
Masefan
Mchivir

Mfa
Mfedoo, Mfe
Mimidoo, Mimi
Memshima
Member
Mnenger
Mngohol
Mnena
Msugh, Msughter
Msendoo
Msuur
Msoo
Mtsor
Mrumun
Mker
Mvande
Mwuese
Mzahan
Mzehemen

N
Nenger, Nenge, Nengen
Ngohide, Ngohile
Ngunan
Ngufan
Nguor
Nguseer
Ngusen
Nguyilan
Nguher
Nguper
Nguavese
Nguamo
Ngi
Nguungwan
Ngusha
Ngutor
Nguper
Nguoron
Nguwasen
Ngodoo

O
Ordooter
Ordue
Orngu
Orkuma
Orpine
Oryiman
Orseer

P
Pase
Pine
Pever

R

S
Saater
Sedoo
Sesugh
Serumun
Seumbur
Sewuese
Sefa
Sedondo
Sekaav
Sesoo
Shagba
Shidoo
Shima
Shimakaa
Shipinen
Shabem
Suursha, Suur, Suurshater, Suugh

Suughnen

T

Tavershima

Tarfa
Terfa
Tertindi
Terver
Terna
Terhemen
Terhemba
Terhide

Terkimbir
Terkuma
Terkura
Terkumbur
Terngu
Terlumun
Ternenger
Ternese
Tertsua
Terseer
Tersuur
Tersoo
Tertsor
Tertsegha Tertsea
Terwase
Terdzungwe
Teryima
Tesen
Tivna
Torkula
Torkwase
Torkuma
Torva

U
Uke

Ukeyima
Udoo
Ufa
Ushafa

V
Vanger
Vandefan
Vihishima
Veruun
Verem
Verse
Vershima
Verashe
Ver
Veyima

W
Wandoo
Wasem
Wuese

Y

Yadoo

Yana

Yuadoo

Yima

Yina

Z
Zahemen

Zakaa
Zanzan

Zasha

​Zungwem

Tiv Proverbs

Some Tiv Proverbs and their Meaning

 Of all the Tiv verbal art forms, Tiv proverbs are the most consistently used in everyday situations. Proverbs are used by elders and the young alike in  everyday conversation. They can be  used by the older folks to to prevent young listeners from understanding what they are talking about. Tiv proverbs  are used as  a device  to shame a person, or to get out of difficult situations without losing face.  There are also proverbs for  praising someone or showing appreciation. Here are some Tiv proverbs that are commonly used.



 Agbo ka awa tso inya I pav!
Literal translation: When the water yam grows and gets bigger the ground will break and give space for it.
Meaning:  Don't bother about how big the problem is, when push comes to shove there must be a way out of it. 


 Or iwan veren aver pe timin nguhar ga.
Literal translation: A crippled person does not chose when to act crippled

Meaning: You can not change who you are.


 Kwagh u been a bee hembe.
Literal translation: The replica is always more extreeme than the original.

Meaning:


Ahi nga hian orapireshe atsenge ahar ga 

Literal translation: A blind person can not burn two pans of roasted nuts.

Meaning: One bitten twice shy.



Bagu kun a tsuwe a pase ahu.

Literal translation: When a Monkey jumps , he must let go of the tree branch

Meaning:



Kawe alu hi kpe mnger, u tuhwan ambe ga.

Literal translation: When by the river you do not insult am alligator.

Meaning:



Kawe a yaan ishwa u tsughuun jonduu

Literal translation:

Meaning:



Bua u alu a tsa ga, ka Aondo a hulen wen iji ye.

Literal translation: A cow that has no tail depends on God to chase flys off of him.

Meaning: It is  God that takes care of the helpless.



Hanma igo ka ilu ii tugh .

Literal translation:

Meaning:


 

Or u nan yav a ityô i agher yô nana nder a wegh ku human
Literal translation: He who goes to bed with an itchy anus will wake up with a smelly hand.

Meaning:
People who commit evil in secret hoping that nobody will know shall be exposed with time.


Gbenda u zan he ya u hur or ngu gbe cha ga.
Literal translation: The road to a good friend‘s house can never be too long.
Meaning: Where there is a will, there is a way.


Hungwaja soo ka ityo ki kame.
Literal translation: The cricket loves its head to be pressed.
Meaning: You have to press a crickets head before it will stop biting you.
Application:
When a stubborn person only responds to punishment.  It is used on both adults n kids 


 

Ka awau shin ityô adoo ga yô, u teman ken ikyoosu.

Literal translation: If you have a problem with your backside, you should be using your hip to sit.

Meaning:When you have a problem you find a way around it.

APPLICATION: The Tiv use this saying to advise those who are unqualified for certain positions in life to stand down or seek other lesser positions. It often times operates as a principle of distributive justice. For example, an illegitimate child should not agitate for the same share of inheritance as what is due to the legitimate one.



 Ibumegh ki a chigh ga.
Literal Translation: There is no cure for foolishness.

Meaning: Foolishness can not be cured.


 Ortom Kuma inja

Literal translation: the worker deserves his wages


Aluer hyev mula ake yo kwaghyan seer a aseer kpatema.
Literal translation: When the rat is afflicted with swollen testis, it means more food for the cat.

Meaning One person's plight is another person's gain.



 Ka Or duun iyough tseegh a fe mnyion u soho man mnyoho u zaa yough ye. 

Literal translation: Only the bee keeper can explain the pain of the stings and the  sweetness of the honey. 

Meaning: Only the person going through the situation know the true pain and sweetness of that situation.


 

Ican-or kpa kenger nyinya.

Literal translation: Even a poor man should be free to admire/look at a horse.
Meaning: We all have certain rights as humands


Among the Tiv of the Pre-Colonial era, the economy was such that horses were prized and luxurious possessions that only the rich and powerful could afford to have. Horses were, economically and socially, as valuable as the luxury cars of today. This saying originated from the fact that even though the poor could not buy horses, they at least had the privilege of admiring them (whether such horses were in a private stable, on parade in a public gathering, or on display in the market square. But it has a deeper meaning as stated below.

 Even the poor have certain unalienable rights and privileges which must be acknowledged, and respected.


Ka we a lu a kyondo ga u de ave sha ikyogh.

Literal translation: When you don't have cloths , you  keep your hands away from the cloths line.

Meaning: Don't wish for things that you can not afford.


 Tim tyo u or saan she ga. 

Ones labour is not in vain.

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