|bàsàrə̀n dà jàlààbè̩|
|Region||Loojaa settlement in Balanga Local Government Area, "Bauchi State|
(200 cited 1992)|
moribund, probably extinct (2014)
Jalaa (autonym: bàsàrə̀n dà jàlààbè̩), also known as Cèntûm, Centúúm or Cen Tuum, is an "endangered language of northeastern "Nigeria (Loojaa settlement in "Balanga Local Government Area, "Bauchi State), of uncertain origins. It is nearly extinct and the Jalabe (as speakers of the language are called) often use the Bwilim dialect of the "Dikaka language in daily life, and the few remaining speakers of Jalaa, all elderly, are much more fluent in Dikaka than Jalaa.["citation needed]
The Jalabe are said to have come to Loojaa from an area a few miles south within the Muri Mountains, where they had shared a settlement with Tso and Kwa clans. (The name of this settlement, Cèntûm or Cùntûm, is used as a name for the language in some sources.) Later, during the nineteenth century, the Cham arrived in the area, fleeing attacks from the larger Waja to the north; the Cham intermarried with the Jalabe, and the Jalabe began to adopt the Cham language.
The Jalaa lexicon is also strongly influenced by Dikaka (which it has in turn influenced); some similarities are also found with the nearby "Tso. However, most of its vocabulary is extremely unusual. In Kleinewillinghöfer's words, "The major part of the lexicon seems to differ entirely from all the surrounding languages, which themselves represent different language families."
Both Dikaka and the Tso traditionally avoided using names of the dead. When those names were also words of the language, as often happened, this forced them to change the word, sometimes by replacing it with a word from a neighboring language. Kleinewillinghöfer regards this as a motivation for certain cases of borrowing from Jalaa into Dikaka.
The numerals 1-6 in Jalaa are:
Above 5, the numerals are almost identical to Dikaka. The numerals 2 through 5 are almost identical with Tso, while "one" has no clear cognates.
Jalaa morphology (at least in its present form) is almost identical to that of "Cham. The main differences in the "noun class system are two of the plural suffixes: Jalaa -ta versus Cham -te̩ and (for humans) Jalaa -bo, -ba versus Cham -b(e̩).
Jalaa was mentioned in the "NCIS episode ""Better Angels." It is mentioned that terrorist cells in the area were using Jalaa to communicate secretively, much in the same way that "Navajo was used during "World War II by "code talkers. In the episode, a Marine Sergeant of Nigerian heritage served as a translator for the United States government.