ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD ‘LAZHIN’
The etymology of the Nupe word Lazhin, for morning, is quite interesting and revealing.
Lazhin is in fact a very ancient Nupe word. It is most probably an Old Nupe word. But it might as well have been a Middle Nupe word. In any case this ancient Nupe word, Lazhin, have had a change in meaning with the passage. In Old or Middle Nupe the meaning of the word Lazhin is different from the meaning it has today. In other words even though the word Lazhin in Modern Nupe today refers to the morning, it have referred to a different thing in ancient Nupe.
In Old or Middle Nupe the word Lazhin have actually referred to the night!
Lazhin is a compound of Ela and Ezhi. Ela is an ancient Nupe prefix used to refer to a thing. And Ezhi is also an ancient Nupe word meaning, in a sense, Black. This is such that ‘Ela-Ezhi’ will directly translate as ‘Black-Thing’ since Ela is thing and Ezhi is Black.
So, Ela-Ezhi; Ela-zhi; Ela-zhin, or, simply, Lazhin, literally translated as ‘Black thing’ or ‘The Black One’ which was the Old Nupe word for the ‘Night’.
So, and in very ancient times, the Nupe people referred to the night as Lazhin!
It is quite ironic that this same word Lazhin which was used in Old Nupe to refer to the night is today used in Modern Nupe to refer to the morning.
In Old Nupe the dawn is refer to as ‘Lazhin funyi’ which directly translates as ‘The whiteness of the night’ whereby ‘funyi’, in ancient Nupe, meant ‘whiteness’.
With time the ‘funyi’ in ‘Lazhin funyi’ was gradually dropped and the morning became referred to as ‘Lazhin’ instead of the full ‘Lazhin funyi’.
This was as the night was more frequently being referred to as ‘Yeshi’ which is another ancient Nupe word for the night.
‘Fafa’ is also not the Nupe word for morning. Fafa was also, incredibly enough, another ancient Nupe word that, in a sense, referred to the night.
Fafa was an Old Nupe word for ‘sleep’ much the same way that we use ‘Lele’ in Modern Nupe for sleep today.
The question that now begs for an answer is: What was the ancient Nupe word for ‘morning’?
The ancient Nupe word for morning is ‘Lafun’. Period!
This Old Nupe word ‘Lafun’ is virtually lost to Modern Nupe as we don’t see it anywhere in Modern Nupe and even if we excavate it from Old Nupe we see that Modern Nupe is at a lost at deciphering its true meaning.
But in Old Nupe the meaning of the word ‘Lafun’ as referring to ‘morning’ is very clear. We readily see that the Old Nupe word Lafun is a compound of ‘la’ and ‘efun’ whereby ‘la’ mean ‘the’ or ‘one’ and ‘efun’ means ‘white’ or ‘light’ so that ‘La-Efun’ or ‘Lafun’ will simply means ‘The White One’ or ‘The Light One’ which directly refers to the morning.
We actually see remnants of this very ancient Nupe word ‘Lafun’ for ‘Morning’ among the older and more pristine Nupe subtribes of the Kakanda, the Dibo, Gupa, and others.
To this very day the Kakanda, a purer and older form of the Nupe people, refer to the morning as ‘Lavunfun’ or, simply, as ‘Lafun’.
The Dibo, another older and purer Nupe people, also refer to the morning as ‘Nabunfun’ or, simply, as ‘Nabun’.
Of course the Dibo ‘Nabun’ is the same as the Kakanda ‘Lavun’ or ‘Lafun’ since the linguistic phonemes ‘l’ and ‘n’ are one and the same and ‘v’ and ‘f’ are also one and the same.
This simply means that that words ‘Lavun’, ‘Labun’ and ‘Lafun’ are all one and the same and all refer, in old Nupe dialects and subtribes, to the ‘Morning’.
Interestingly we also noice the fact that ‘Lavun’ or ‘Labun’ or ‘Lafun’ which means ‘Morning’ in Old Nupe is actually the direct opposite of ‘Lazhin’ which means ‘Night’ in Old Nupe.
In conclusion we see that in Old Nupe ‘Lazhin’ actually referred to the ‘Night’ while ‘Lafun’ referred to the ‘Morning’.
The Nupe language have changes drastically over the years such that some Modern Nupe language words actually have meanings directly opposite to their meanins in Old Nupe language.
We have always said that if we are to look for the origins and purer forms of the Nupe language and Nupe culture in general we will have to go back to studying the so-called ‘Nupe subtribes’ including the Dibo, Kakanda, Gbagyi, Gupa, Kame, and even Oyo Yoruba, Bassan Nge, and so on and on.