Sign in
Download Opera News App

Politics Policy




Nigeria politics

Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages

English is Nigeria’s official language; however, Nigeria’s large population is liable for its linguistic diversity which encompasses three major African language families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger–Congo.

Figures for the amount of spoken Nigerian languages range from 250 to over 500 with Ethnologue placing the precise number for Nigeria at 527. This anomaly arises where scholars are divided over which language constitutes ‘language’ and which constitutes ‘dialect’. Ajawa, Auyokawa, Basa-Gumna, Gamo-Ningi, Holma, Kpati, Kubi, Mawa and Teshenawa are now extinct Nigerian languages.

These are the highest ten most spoken Nigerian languages.


Hausa (or Abakwariga, Habe, Haoussa, Hausawa, Kado, Mgbakpa) is usually related to Islamic culture in Nigeria and West Africa. Together of the foremost spoken Nigerian languages, 18.5 million native speakers are found in Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Gombe states. Hausa is additionally spoken by 25 million people in West Africa including Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Sudan and Togo where large Hausa communities exist. Hausa is additionally the second language of 15 million more people in Nigeria making it the foremost speech in Sub-Saharan Africa and has prompted international radio stations just like the BBC, China Radio International and Voice of Russia to broadcast in Hausa.


Igbo (Asusu Igbo) is the principle language spoken by about 24 million people (primarily of Igbo descent) in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. Igbo is additionally spoken in some parts of Akwa Ibom (Ika LGA), Delta (Oshimili, Aniocha, and Ndokwa LGAs) and Rivers States (Ikwerre, Bonny, and Ahoada LGAs). Significant Igbo speakers also are found in Cameroun while in Equatorial Guinea , Igbo may be a recognized minority language. Numerous Igbo dialects exist (some of which aren't mutually intelligible) including Bonny-Opobo, Ngwa and Olu.

Interestingly, in 2009 the United States Army scouted for recruits who could speak one among 35 languages including Igbo.


Yoruba (or Yoruba, Yooba) is the native tongue of the Yoruba people and is spoken by approximately 18.9 million people concentrated in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kwara, and Lagos states and parts of Kogi State. Outside Nigeria, Yoruba is spoken in Benin, Togo and by Nigerian immigrants within the UK and therefore, the USA raising the entire number of native Yoruba speakers to over 19 million and making it one among the highest most spoken Nigerian languages worldwide enm3333. Additionally, about 2 million people speak Yoruba as a second language. Yoruba has over fifteen dialects including Awori, Ijesha, Ilaje and Ila.


Fulfulde (or Fulani, Fula) is of Senegambian origin but now spoken by cattle pastorals across the Sahel and largely in Northern Nigeria by the Fulani diaspora. In Nigeria, 1.7 million Fulfude speakers are found in Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Jos plateau, Bororo, Maiduguri and Sokoto. In total, there are 19 African countries stretched across West, East, and Central African Republic that are home to about 25 million Fulfude speakers. In Senegal and Guinea, the language is named Pulaar and Pular respectively. variety of Fulfude dialects exist including Bororo, Kano-Katsina, Adamawa Fulfude and Benin-Togo.

Kanuri Central

As one of the foremost spoken Nigerian languages, Kanuri (or Beriberi, Bornu, Kanouri, Kanoury, Yerwa Kanuri), is the principle representative tongue of the Nilo-Saharan linguistic group. Three million native speakers are mainly located in Borno State (Kukawa, Kaga, Konduga, Maiduguri, Monguno, Ngala, Bama, and Gwoza LGAs), Yobe State (Nguru, Geidam, Damaturu, Fika, Fune, and Gujba LGAs) and Jigawa State (Hadejia LGA). Additionally, about 500,000 people use Kanuri as a second language in Nigeria. Although many dialects exist including Kaga, Fadawa and Yerwa linguists agree that the Maiduguri dialect is universally understood.


The Ijaw people speak 9 closely related Niger-Congo languages which are divided into Eastern Ijaw and Western Ijaw with Izon being the foremost prominent member the latter. Ijaw (or Izo, Uzo, Ijo, Central-Western Ijo) is spoken by almost 2 million people in Bayelsa (Yenogoa, Souther Ijaw, Kolokuma-Opokuma, Ekeremor and Sagbama LGAs), Delta State (Burutu, Warri and Ughelli LGAs), Ondo State (Ilaje Ese-Odo LGAs) and Ekiti State (Ikole LGA). Variety of dialects exist including Arogbo, Egbema, Ikibiri and West Tarairi with about 30 of them being inherently intelligible.

Pidgin English.

Nigerian Pidgin English (or Pidgin, Broken English, Broken) may be a blend of English and ethnic Nigerian languages spoken operating as a sort of interlanguage across Nigeria.It is estimated that Pidgin is the language of roughly 3 to five million people mainly concentrated within the Niger Delta region and may be a second language for a minimum of another 75 million Nigerian people.


Tiv may be a branch of the Niger-Congo linguistic family. Together of the foremost spoken Nigerian languages, Tiv is spoken by over 2 million people in Nigeria concentrated mainly in Benue State (Makurdi, Gwer, Gboko Kwande, Vandeikya and Katsina Ala LGAs). it's also widely spoken in Plateau State (Lafia LGA) and Taraba State (Bali, Takum, and Wukari LGAs) while there also are a big number of Tiv speakers found in neighbouring Cameroon.


Ibibio (closely associated with the Efik language) has some 1.5 million native speakers with about 4.5 million level 2 users concentrated in Akwa Ibom State in Itu, Uyo, Etinan, Ikot Abasi, Ikono, Ekpe-Atai, Uruan, Onna, Nsit-Ubium, and Mkpat Enin LGAs. Although several dialects exist, the more common ones include Central Ibibio, Enyong, Itak and Nsit. Ibibio is taught in primary and secondary schools (and even online at with radio and TV programs available in Akwa Ibom State.


Edo (or Ado, Benin, Bini, Oviedo and Ovioba) is primarily spoken by a minimum of 1 million people in Edo State. Interestingly, in November 2013 a scholar quoted the Esogban of Benin Kingdom as raising alarm over the ‘likely extinction of the Bini language’. this is often possibly thanks to the shortage of a standard language in Edo State, gradual decline of speaking Edo in homes and therefore, the more pronounced use of English and Pidgin English as inter language .

Content created and supplied by: Mikeynews (via Opera News )

African English Hausa Hausa Niger Congo Nigerian


Load app to read more comments