Culture

371 Languages in Nigeria, and the states/people that speak them

Languages in Nigeria

In this post, we look at the languages in Nigeria. Here you will see the full list of Nigeria languages and the states/people that speak them.

Nigeria has around 520 languages spoken among it’s nearly 200 million people. Despite its official colonial language being English -with over 60 million people speaking Nigerian English alongside Nigerian pidgin – the multiethnicity of the nation’s populace means that there are a plethora of languages spoken across its 36 states. In terms of population, Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo are the most spoken languages in the country, with 60, 40, and 30 million native speakers spread across the nation respectively.

Read Also: Notable Languages Spoken In Kogi State, Nigeria

520 Languages in Nigeria, and the states/people that speak them
Languages in Nigeria – Photo Source: https://www.all-languages.org.uk

Fulfulde (15 million), Ibibio (10 million), Kanuri (8 million), Tiv (4 million), and Edo, Igala, Nupe, Izon and Berom, each approximately 2 million each, are also quite popularly spoken in Nigeria. Nigeria is reflective of Africa in this multilingual and multiethnic characteristic, and the country has languages from three major African language families. These languages are; Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger-Congo.

Afroasiatic languages

The Afroasiatic languages of Nigeria are divided into the Chadic, the Semitic, and the Berber languages, with the Chadic languages being more dominant. The Semitic languages are spoken predominantly in the northeast, while the Berber languages are spoken by tribes in the extreme northwest.

The Hausa language, spoken by around 60 million people, is the most popular Chadic language spoken in the country, and one of the most popular first and second languages in West Africa.

And, thus, it has emerged as lingua franca throughout much of the West African region, and, indeed, the Sahel. It is primarily associated with the Muslim/Islamic culture in Nigeria and West Africa.

Hausa is the official language in the northern part of Nigeria, and the most important dialect – an eastern dialect – is said to be spoken in Kano state, and it is also the standard variety used for official purposes.

Some dialects spoken in Zaria and Bauchi are also from the Eastern dialect, although Zaria is prominently southern.

The Western dialects are spoken in Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, and Zamfara, although Katsina is transitional between Western and Eastern dialects. Northern Hausa dialects include Arewa and Arawa.

It is worth noting that, culturally, the Hausa people have become closely integrated with the Fulani following the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate by the Fulani Uthman dan Fodio in the 19th century.

Read Also: 5 Ways to Increase Your Vocabulary in English Language

Nilo-Saharan languages

The Nilo-Saharan languages are spoken in the northeastern part of Nigeria in Borno, Yobe, Parts of Jigawa and Bauchi, as well as the northwestern Kebbi state, which is near the border of neighbouring Niger republic. The languages include; Kanuri, Kanembu, Zambara, and Dendi.

Niger-Congo languages

The Niger-Congo languages are spoken in the Central, Eastern, and southern areas of Nigeria. This language family is represented by the Mande, Atlantic, Gur, Kwa, Benue–Congo and Adamawa–Ubangi languages. The Ijoid languages are spread across the Niger Delta and include Ijaw, Kalabari, and Defaka.

The Efik languages are spoken across the coastal southeastern part of the country and include Erik, Anang, and Ibibio.

Our language is spoken in the extreme northeast, while Adamawa-Ubangian languages are spoken between Central Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

The Kwa languages are represented in the extreme northwest. Other Niger-Congo dialects are Bini – spoken in Edo state – Yoruba, Itsekiri, Igala, Igbo, Ekpeye, Ikwerre, Ukwuani, etcetera.

List of languages in Nigeria, and the states/people that speak them:

1 Abayon -Cross River

2 Abua (Odual) -Rivers

3 Achipa (Achipawa) -Kebbi

4 Adim -Cross River

5 Adun -Cross River

6 Affade -Yobe

7 Afizere -Plateau

8 Afo -Plateau

9 Agbo -Cross River

10 Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk) -Cross River

11 Akweya-Yachi -Benue

12 Alago (Arago) -Piateau

13 Amo -Plateau

14 Anaguta -Plateau

15 Anang -Akwa lbom

16 Andoni -Akwa lbom, Rivers

17 Angas -Bauchi, Jigawa, Plateau

18 Ankwei -Plateau

19 Anyima -Cross River

20 Attakar (ataka) -Kaduna

21 Auyoka (Auyokawa) -Jigawa

22 Awori -Lagos, Ogun

23 Ayu -Kaduna

24 Babur -Adamawa, Bomo, Taraba, Yobe

25 Bachama -Adamawa

26 Bachere -Cross River

27 Bada -Plateau

28 Bade -Yobe

29 Bahumono -Cross River

30 Bakulung -Taraba

31 Bali -Taraba

32 Bambora (Bambarawa) -Bauchi

33 Bambuko -Taraba

34 Banda (Bandawa) -Taraba

35 Banka (Bankalawa) -Bauchi

36 Banso (Panso) -Adamawa

37 Bara (Barawa) -Bauchi

38 Barke -Bauchi

39 Baruba (Barba) -Niger

40 Bashiri (Bashirawa) -Plateau

41 Bassa -Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Plateau

42 Batta -Adamawa

43 Baushi -Niger

44 Baya -Adamawa

45 Bekwarra -Cross River

46 Bele (Buli, Belewa) -Bauchi

47 Betso (Bete) -Taraba

48 Bette -Cross River

49 Bilei -Adamawa

Read Also: Ibibio People: History, Political System, Language, Religion, Occupations

50 Bille -Adamawa

51 Bina (Binawa) -Kaduna

52 Bini -Edo

53 Birom -Plateau

54 Bobua -Taraba

55 Boki (Nki) -Cross River

56 Bkkos -Plateau

57 Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa) -Niger

58 Bole (Bolewa) -Bauchi, Yobe

59 Botlere -Adamawa

60 Boma (Bomawa, Burmano) -Bauchi

61 Bomboro -Bauchi

62 Buduma -Borno, Niger

63 Buji -Plateau

64 Buli -Bauchi

65 Bunu -Kogi

66 Bura -Adamawa

67 Burak -Bauchi

68 Burma (Burmawa) -Plateau

69 Buru -Yobe

70 Buta (Butawa) -Bauchi

71 Bwall -Plateau

72 Bwatiye -Adamawa

73 Bwazza -Adamawa

74 Challa -Plateau

75 Chama (Chamawa Fitilai) -Bauchi

76 Chamba -Taraba

77 Chamo -Bauchi

78 Chibok (Chibbak) -Yobe

79 Chinine -Borno

80 Chip -Plateau

81 Chokobo -Plateau

82 Chukkol -Taraba

83 Daba -Adamawa

84 Dadiya -Bauchi

85 Daka -Adamawa

86 Dakarkari -Niger, Kebbi

87 Danda (Dandawa) -Kebbi

88 Dangsa -Taraba

89 Daza (Dere, Derewa) -Bauchi

90 Degema -Rivers

91 Deno (Denawa) -Bauchi

92 Dghwede -Bomo

93 Diba -Taraba

94 Doemak (Dumuk) -Plateau

95 Ouguri -Bauchi

96 Duka (Dukawa) -Kebbi

97 Duma (Dumawa) -Bauchi

98 Ebana (Ebani) -Rivers

99 Ebirra (lgbirra) -Edo, Kogi, Ondo

100 Ebu -Edo, Kogi

101 Efik -Cross River

102 Egbema -Rivers

103 Egede (lgedde) -Benue

104 Eggon -Plateau

105 Egun (Gu) -Lagos,Ogun

106 Ejagham -Cross River

107 Ekajuk -Cross River

108 Eket -Akwa Ibom

109 Ekoi -Cross River

110 Engenni (Ngene) -Rivers

111 Epie -Rivers

112 Esan (Ishan) -Edo

113 Etche -Rivers

114 Etolu (Etilo) -Benue

115 Etsako -Edo

116 Etung -Cross River

117 Etuno -Edo

118 Palli -Adamawa

119 Pulani (Pulbe) -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa , Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi , Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, etc.

120 Fyam (Fyem) -Plateau

121 Fyer(Fer) -Plateau

122 Ga’anda -Adamawa

123 Gade -Niger

124 Galambi -Bauchi

125 Gamergu-Mulgwa -Borno

126 Qanawuri -Plateau

127 Gavako -Borno

128 Gbedde -Kogi

129 Gengle -Taraba

130 Geji -Bauchi

131 Gera (Gere, Gerawa) -Bauchi

132 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Plateau

133 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Bauchi

134 Gingwak -Bauchi

135 Gira -Adamawa

136 Gizigz -Adamawa

137 Goernai -Plateau

138 Gokana (Kana) -Rivers

139 Gombi -Adamawa

140 Gornun (Gmun) -Taraba

141 Gonia -Taraba

142 Gubi (Gubawa) -Bauchi

143 Gude -Adamawa

144 Gudu -Adamawa

145 Gure -Kaduna

146 Gurmana -Niger

147 Gururntum -Bauchi

148 Gusu -Plateau

149 Gwa (Gurawa) -Adamawa

150 Gwamba Adamawa

151 Gwandara -Kaduna, Niger, Plateau

152 Gwari (Gbari) -Kaduna, Niger, Abuja, Plateau

153 Gwom -Taraba

154 Gwoza (Waha) -Borno

155 Gyem -Bauchi

156 Hausa: -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna,Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Niger,Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara etc

157 Higi (Hig) -Borno, Adamawa

158 Holma -Adamawa

159 Hona -Adamawa

160 Ibeno -Akwa lbom

161 Ibibio -Akwa lbom

162 Ichen -Adamawa

163 Idoma -Benue, Taraba

164 Igalla -Kogi

165 lgbo: -Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi,Enugu, Imo, Rivers

166 ljumu -Kogi

167 Ikorn -Cross River

168 Irigwe -Plateau

169 Isoko -Delta

170 lsekiri (Itsekiri) -Delta

171 lyala (lyalla) -Cross River

172 lzondjo -Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo, Rivers

173 Jaba -Kaduna

174 Jahuna (Jahunawa) -Taraba

175 Jaku -Bauchi

176 Jara (Jaar Jarawa Jarawa-Dutse) -Bauchi

177 Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa) -Bauchi, Plateau

178 Jero -Taraba

179 Jibu -Adamawa

180 Jidda-Abu -Plateau

181 Jimbin (Jimbinawa) -Bauchi

182 Jirai -Adamawa

183 Jonjo (Jenjo) -Taraba

184 Jukun -Bauchi, Benue,Taraba, Plateau

185 Kaba(Kabawa) -Taraba

186 Kadara -Taraba

187 Kafanchan -Kaduna

188 Kagoro -Kaduna

189 Kaje (Kache) -Kaduna

190 Kajuru (Kajurawa) -Kaduna

191 Kaka -Adamawa

192 Kamaku (Karnukawa) -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger

193 Kambari -Kebbi, Niger

194 Kambu -Adamawa

195 Kamo -Bauchi

196 Kanakuru (Dera) -Adamawa, Borno

197 Kanembu -Borno

198 Kanikon -Kaduna

199 Kantana -Plateau

200 Kanuri -Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno, Kano,Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe

201 Karekare (Karaikarai) -Bauchi, Yobe

202 Karimjo -Taraba

203 Kariya -Bauchi

204 Katab (Kataf) -Kaduna

205 Kenern (Koenoem) -Plateau

206 Kenton -Taraba

207 Kiballo (Kiwollo) -Kaduna

208 Kilba -Adamawa

209 Kirfi (Kirfawa) -Bauchi

210 Koma -Taraba

211 Kona -Taraba

212 Koro (Kwaro) -Kaduna, Niger

213 Kubi (Kubawa) -Bauchi

214 Kudachano (Kudawa) -Bauchi

215 Kugama -Taraba

216 Kulere (Kaler) -Plateau

217 Kunini -Taraba

218 Kurama -Jigawa, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau

219 Kurdul -Adamawa

220 Kushi -Bauchi

221 Kuteb -Taraba

222 Kutin -Taraba

223 Kwalla -Plateau

224 Kwami (Kwom) -Bauchi

225 Kwanchi -Taraba

226 Kwanka (Kwankwa) -Bauchi, Plateau

227 Kwaro -Plateau

228 Kwato -Plateau

229 Kyenga (Kengawa) -Sokoto

230 Laaru (Larawa) -Niger

231 Lakka -Adamawa

232 Lala -Adamawa

233 Lama -Taraba

234 Lamja -Taraba

235 Lau -Taraba

236 Ubbo -Adamawa

237 Limono -Bauchi, Plateau

238 Lopa (Lupa, Lopawa) -Niger

239 Longuda (Lunguda) -Adamawa, Bauchi

240 Mabo -Plateau

241 Mada -Kaduna, Plateau

242 Mama -Plateau

243 Mambilla -Adamawa

244 Manchok -Kaduna

245 Mandara (Wandala) -Borno

246 Manga (Mangawa) -Yobe

247 Margi (Marghi) -Adamawa, Borno

248 Matakarn -Adamawa

249 Mbembe -Cross River, Enugu

250 Mbol -Adamawa

Read Also: Best Programming Languages to Learn In Nigeria

251 Mbube -Cross River

252 Mbula -Adamawa

253 Mbum -Taraba

254 Memyang (Meryan) -Plateau

255 Miango -Plateau

256 Miligili (Migili) -Plateau

257 Miya (Miyawa) -Bauchi

258 Mobber -Borno

259 Montol -Plateau

260 Moruwa (Moro’a, Morwa) -Kaduna

261 Muchaila -Adamawa

262 Mumuye -Taraba

263 Mundang -Adamawa

264 Munga (Mupang) -Plateau

265 Mushere -Plateau

266 Mwahavul (Mwaghavul) -Plateau

267 Ndoro -Taraba

268 Ngamo -Bauchi, Yobe

269 Ngizim -Yobe

270 Ngweshe (Ndhang.Ngoshe-Ndhang) -Adamawa, Borno

271 Ningi (Ningawa) -Bauchi

272 Ninzam (Ninzo) -Kaduna, Plateau

273 Njayi -Adamawa

274 Nkim -Cross River

275 Nkum -Cross River

276 Nokere (Nakere) -Plateau

277 Nunku -Kaduna, Plateau

278 Nupe -Niger

279 Nyandang -Taraba

280 Ododop Cross River

281 Ogori -Kwara

282 Okobo (Okkobor) -Akwa lbom

283 Okpamheri -Edo

284 Olulumo -Cross River

285 Oron -Akwa lbom

286 Owan -Edo

287 Owe -Kwara

288 Oworo -Kwara

289 Pa’a (Pa’awa Afawa) -Bauchi

290 Pai -Plateau

291 Panyam -Taraba

292 Pero -Bauchi

293 Pire -Adamawa

294 Pkanzom -Taraba

295 Poll -Taraba

296 Polchi Habe -Bauchi

297 Pongo (Pongu) -Niger

298 Potopo -Taraba

299 Pyapun (Piapung) -Plateau

300 Qua -Cross River

301 Rebina (Rebinawa) -Bauchi

302 Reshe -Kebbi, Niger

303 Rindire (Rendre) -Plateau

304 Rishuwa -Kaduna

305 Ron -Plateau

306 Rubu -Niger

307 Rukuba -Plateau

308 Rumada -Kaduna

309 Rumaya -Kaduna

310 Sakbe -Taraba

311 Sanga -Bauchi

312 Sate -Taraba

313 Saya (Sayawa Za’ar) -Bauchi

314 Segidi (Sigidawa) -Bauchi

315 Shanga (Shangawa) -Sokoto

316 Shangawa (Shangau) -Plateau

317 Shan-Shan -Plateau

318 Shira (Shirawa) -Kano

319 Shomo -Taraba

320 Shuwa -Adamawa, Borno

321 Sikdi -Plateau

322 Siri (Sirawa) -Bauchi

323 Srubu (Surubu) -Kaduna

324 Sukur -Adamawa

325 Sura -Plateau

326 Tangale -Bauchi

327 Tarok -Plateau, Taraba

328 Teme -Adamawa

329 Tera (Terawa) -Bauchi, Bomo

330 Teshena (Teshenawa) -Kano

331 Tigon -Adamawa

332 Tikar -Taraba

333 Tiv -Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa

334 Tula -Bauchi

335 Tur -Adamawa

336 Ufia -Benue

337 Ukelle -Cross River

338 Ukwani (Kwale) -Delta

339 Uncinda -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto

340 Uneme (Ineme) -Edo

341 Ura (Ula) -Niger

342 Urhobo -Delta

343 Utonkong -Benue

344 Uyanga -Cross River

345 Vemgo -Adamawa

346 Verre -Adamawa

347 Vommi -Taraba

348 Wagga -Adamawa

349 Waja -Bauchi

350 Waka -Taraba

351 Warja (Warja) -Jigawa

352 Warji -Bauchi

353 Wula -Adamawa

354 Wurbo -Adamawa

355 Wurkun -Taraba

356 Yache -Cross River

357 Yagba -Kwara

358 Yakurr (Yako) -Cross River

359 Yalla -Benue

360 Yandang -Taraba

361 Yergan (Yergum) -Plateau

362 Yoruba -(Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kogi)

363 Yott -Taraba

364 Yumu -Niger

365 Yungur -Adamawa

366 Yuom -Plateau

367 Zabara -Niger

368 Zaranda -Bauchi

369 Zarma (Zarmawa) -Kebbi

370 Zayam (Zeam) -Bauchi

371 Zul (Zulawa) –Bauchi

Read Also: Sounding Echoes of the Language of Assiga People, Cross River State

Conclusion

Nigeria, with nearly 200 million people within it’s borders, has a rich multiethnic, multicultural heritage, and multilingual heritage.

It’s people continually showcase the rich African culture, especially in their communication. We hope this article has been helpful. Let us know.

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Adams Victor is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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