Nigerian Language – All You Need To Know

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Language refers to the method of communication either spoken or written. People of different ethnic group, culture and background can only communicate when they understand each other. Nigeria is a linguistically diverse nation with lots of tribes and over 300 ethnic groups. Nigerian language which is over 520 comes in 3rd place in the list of countries with the most spoken language. The official language is English a former colonial language chosen to ease the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. In the urban communities of the country communicating in English is more popular than in the rural areas. The country contains languages from three major African lingual families; Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo.

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Most Common Languages Spoken In Nigeria

The major languages spoken in Nigeria are Pidgin English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Urhobo, Ibibio, Fulfulde and Kanuri.

Hausa

The Hausa language is a branch of the Afroasiatic family standing as the most spoken language in sub-Saharan Africa.  Spoken as a first language by about 35 million people from Northern Nigeria (Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Bauchi, Zamfara, Jigawa as well as Gombe). 15 million Nigerians also speak Hausa as their second language. Because of this, International stations like BBC broadcast using Hausa. Hello means Sannu in Hausa.

Igbo

HELLO= Nnoo!

The Igbo language belongs to the Niger-congo family and Kwa sub-family. Spoken by 24 million people, Igbo language comes as the second most populous language. Abia, Imo, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi state are predominantly Igbos. Notwithstanding parts of Akwa Ibom (Ika LGA), Delta (Oshimili, Aniocha and Ndokwu LGA) and Rivers State (Bonny and Ikwere) also speak Igbo.

Yoruba

With over 15 dialects ( Ikale, Idanre, Ijebu, Okun, Ijesha), approximately 18.9 million people speak the Yoruba language. States that speak this language in Nigeria include Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Kwara, Lagos and some parts of Kogi states. The people of Benin Republic, Togo as well as Nigerian immigrants in UK and USA also speak Yoruba. This language belongs to the Niger-congo family. Same combinations of vowels and consonants have different meanings depending on the pitch of the vowels makes the Yoruba language a tonal language. Hello= Pele o

Fulfude

Fulfude, Fulani or Fula belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. In Nigeria, 1.7 million Fulfude speakers occupy parts of Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Jos Plateau, Sokoto and Maiduguri. The dialects include Bororo, Kano-Katsina, Adamawa Fulfudeand Benin-Togo.

Ibibio

The Ibibio language closely related to Efik is native language to about 4.5 million people in Akwa Ibom state. The different dialects include; Anaang, Ekit, central Ibibio, Itak and Nsit.

Pidgin English

HELLO= HOW FAR?

Pidgin or broken English blends in the official English language and the native dialects of the Nigerian people. Whether on the streets, marketplace or rural area this Nigerian-made English comes in handy for easy communication. Spoken mostly by people in the Niger Delta region of the country.

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LANGUAGESPEAKERS
HausaBauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Niger etc
YorubaOgun, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos
IgboAbia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu
FulaniBorno, Adamawa, Nassarawa, Taraba, Yobe, Sokoto
IbibioAkwa Ibom
IjawBayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Ondo, Akwa Ibom
KanuriYobe, Borno, Jigawa
TivBenue, Taraba, Plateau
EdoEdo
EfikCross River
UrhoboDelta
NupeNiger, Kogi, Kwara, Abuja, Benue, Nassarawa
IdomaBenue
GeomaiPlateau
ItsekiriDelta
EbiraKwara, Kogi, Plateau, Edo
Gun-gbeLagos (Badagry area)
AnaangAkwa Ibom
JjuKaduna

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