The Development of a Standard and Practical Orthography for Tiv Language

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Charles Iornumbe


Tiv orthography was first developed by Rev. W. A. Malherbe who was a member of a religious group, the Dutch Reformed Christian Mission (DRCM). In his Tiv – English Dictionary (1931) he adapted the English orthography to produce an orthography for the Tiv language. Over the years, many people and groups have contributed to the development of the orthography. Some were linguists while others just had a zeal for writing the language. Thus, we have different versions of the orthography. The Tiv Language Studies and Development Association was established to take care of Tiv language matters and has a vested interest in the development of the language. This paper revisits the Tiv orthography as proposed by the National Language Centre, the NKST’s Committee, Aper Aku’s Committee, Kpamor J. T. Orkar among other scholars to throw more light to the direction of the study. The paper revisits these versions of the orthography and recommends that a standard and acceptable orthography can only emerge after a meeting of all individuals and groups that claim to have an interest in the development of the language.

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How to Cite
Iornumbe, C. (2020). The Development of a Standard and Practical Orthography for Tiv Language. Journal of the Nigerian Languages Project, 2. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Charles Iornumbe

Department of Languages and Linguistics
Benue State University, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria


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