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Languages in Nigeria

Languages in Nigeria

Languages in Nigeria include Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba. There are really more than 300 languages spoken in Nigeria, I hope to tell you about all of them in the next few paragraphs.

Imagine a world without languages. Have you ever given a thought about these? My answer- I guess we all will be like walking zombies, boring and a disaster.

Languages determine who we are, our identities, culture and total way of life.

From one continent to another, from one racial group and totality of humans, language is the determining factor in our existence and relationships. Langauge makes all the spheres of life to blend together.

This takes me to my mother’s land, the languages that are spoken in Nigeria.

History of Languages in Nigeria

The Nigeria Languages dates back to more than a thousand years. The evolution and migration which results in New language and modification of already existing ones had been a peculiar characteristic of the Nigerian languages over time. It is very much known that languages differ in spellings and intonations but with the same meanings.

The Major Languages in Nigeria

Over time due to economic, numeric and political values and strengths, these three language has been placed on top of the summit ladders of languages spoken in Nigeria and these are not in any particular order but just for organization purposes:

1. The Yoruba Language
2. The Igbo Language
3. The Hausa language

All others are sadly referred to as minority languages in Nigeria. You will find a list of major ethnic groups in Nigeria and their languages below.

We now take a better look into these Major languages

The first will be

The Igbo language in Nigeria

Igbo Is a very distinct language that has been spoken in Nigeria for more than 2000 years.

About one-third of Nigerian states are dominated by the Igbo speaking people of Nigeria. These states include Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Rivers, Delta, and Lagos.

Igbo speaking Nigerians are found all over the country just because of their love for trade and search for greener pasture. You can read more about the >> Igbo Tribe

Yoruba Language

The Yoruba language is believed to have originated from mecca.

Its originator oduduwa is said to be a prince from Saudi Arabia. The tale has it that he moved with his people to the country which was not known as Nigeria then and established himself in a place now known as ife in Osun state Nigeria.

The language runs through the southwestern part of Nigeria states of Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Lagos state.

Just like the Igbo language they are well entrenched in all parts of the country.

The last of the major languages is the

Hausa language.

The Hausa language is not just spoken in Nigeria, there are other African countries that also speak the Hausa language – making it the most spoken language in Africa.

The Northern states are dominated by Hausa speaking Nigerians, with the only exception being the north-central part of Nigeria.

According to the international bureau of statistics, Hausa is the second most spoken language in Africa and the most spoken language in Nigeria.

Other popular languages spoken in Nigeria include the Urhobo, Itsekiri, Efik, Ibibio, Egbe and igala languages.

I have made a list of some of the popular ethnic groups in Nigeria and their languages.

Langauges States Spoken
Hausa Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Kebbi, sokoto, jigawa, Gombe
Igbo Imo, Abia, Anambra, Rivers, Ebonyi, Enugu.
Kanuri Gombe, Borno, Yobe, Jigawa.
Yoruba Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos
Fulfulde Sokoto, Jos, Zaria, Maiduguri, Borno and Sokoto
Ijaw Bayelsa, Ondo, Rivers, Delta and Ekiti
Tiv Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa.
Ibibio Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers
Edo Edo, Ondo and Delta
Ikwerre River state
Urhobo Delta State
Efik Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom state
Igala Kogi, Benue, Delta, Anambra and Ondo
Ebira Niger and Benue states
Nupe Abuja, Kwara, Kogi and Niger
Isoko Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers
Annang Akwa Ibom
Igbanni River State
Gwari Niger and Kaduna state
Idoma Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa and Cross River


There are more than 200 other Nigerian languages not included in the list above, some of them are either extinct or spoken by a very few people in Nigeria.

How many languages do we have in Nigeria?

There is no standard measure or statistics for the actual number of Languages we have in Nigeria but according to revelings and probable statistics Nigeria is said to be a country with over 250 tribes and over 400 spoken languages.

Quite a big one for this country of ours. But we do have what we consider an official language of Nigeria. Actually guys we still have one language which nows seems to supersede all indigenous language and it is referred to as

What is the Official Language of Nigeria

The Nigerian official language, official in the sense that it is regarded as the standard to be used in communication in every sphere of the country. Nigeria’s official language is “English.” The English language came with the colonization of the country by the British government in the year 1861. It was officially declared with the amalgamation of the country In 1914 by the governor-general and leader of the government lord Lugard as the official language and it has been well adopted in contemporary Nigerian society.

In conclusion, we have neglected unfortunately our own languages for it. I say chai in Igbo language, o ga o in Yoruba language and shege in Hausa language. We can make our languages to become a vital tool in balancing interrelationships between economic, political and population climes of our society.

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