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Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages - Culture - Nairaland

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Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by DahtzFestjayz: 6:18am On Feb 06, 2015
English is Nigeria’s official language; however, Nigeria’s large population is responsible for its linguistic diversity which encompasses three major African language families: Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger–Congo.
Figures for the number of spoken Nigerian languages range from 250 to over 500 with Ethnologue placing the exact number for Nigeria at 527. This anomaly arises where scholars are in disagreement 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 top ten most spoken Nigerian languages.

Hausa
Hausa (or Abakwariga, Habe, Haoussa, Hausawa, Kado, Mgbakpa) is often associated with Islamic culture in Nigeria and West Africa. As one of the most spoken Nigerian languages, 18.5 million native speakers are found in Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Bauchi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Gombe states. Hausa is also 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 also the second language of 15 million more people in Nigeria making it the most spoken language in sub-Saharan Africa and has prompted international radio stations like the BBC, China Radio International and Voice of Russia to broadcast in Hausa.

Igbo
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 also 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 are also found in Cameroun while in Equatorial Guinea, Igbo is a recognized minority language. Numerous Igbo dialects exist (some of which are not mutually intelligible) including Bonny-Opobo, Ngwa and Olu.
Interestingly, in 2009 the US Army scouted for recruits who could speak one of 35 languages including Igbo.

Yoruba
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 in the UK and the USA raising the total number of native Yoruba speakers to over 19 million and making it one of the top most spoken Nigerian languages worldwide enm3333. In addition, about 2 million people speak Yoruba as a second language. Yoruba has over fifteen dialects including Awori, Ijesha, Ilaje and Ila.

Fulfude
Fulfulde (or Fulani, Fula) is of Senegambian origin but now spoken by cattle pastoralists 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 Africa that are home to about 25 million Fulfude speakers. In Senegal and Guinea, the language is called Pulaar and Pular respectively. A number of Fulfude dialects exist including Bororo, Kano-Katsina, Adamawa Fulfude and Benin-Togo.

Kanuri Central
As one of the most 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). In addition, 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.

Ijaw
The Ijaw people speak 9 closely related Niger-Congo languages which are divided into Eastern Ijaw and Western Ijaw with Izon being the most 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). A number 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) is a blend of English and ethnic Nigerian languages spoken operating as a kind of lingua franca across Nigeria.It is estimated that Pidgin is the native language of approximately 3 to 5 million people mainly concentrated in the Niger Delta region and is a second language for at least another 75 million Nigerian people.

Tiv

Tiv is a branch of the Niger-Congo linguistic family. As one of the most 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 is also widely spoken in Plateau State (Lafia LGA) and Taraba State (Bali, Takum, and Wukari LGAs) while there are also a significant number of Tiv speakers found in neighbouring Cameroon.

Ibibio
Ibibio (closely related to 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 www.nsitatai.org) with radio and television programmes available in Akwa Ibom State.

Edo
Edo (or Ado, Benin, Bini, Oviedo and Ovioba) is primarily spoken by at least 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 possibly due to the lack of a common language in Edo State, gradual decline of speaking Edo in homes and the more pronounced use of English and Pidgin English as lingua franca.
Source: http://top10ng.com/top-10-spoken-nigerian-languages/

22 Likes 5 Shares

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by saaedlee: 6:22am On Feb 06, 2015
Proper indentation would make this article stand-out, pls adjust or modify accordingly!

9 Likes 1 Share

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Davotee(m): 6:22am On Feb 06, 2015
True. And how many times am i going to make FP? I cant believe this. God just dey bless me. Am i supose 2 shout? The angels showd grace upon me and propelled me to fp. And ayam STC. Ignore if you are jealous. Like and share if you believe God can do it for you and even more.

3 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by xreal: 6:26am On Feb 06, 2015
saaedlee:
Proper indentation would make this article stand-out, pls adjust or modify accordingly!

thumbs up!
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Raiders: 6:28am On Feb 06, 2015
Pidgin English is the most spoken language in Nigeria.

34 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by simplemach(m): 6:42am On Feb 06, 2015
Interresting
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by benuejosh(m): 6:43am On Feb 06, 2015
if it is not pidgin then it is not pidgin..pidgin english is the most spoken language.

13 Likes 1 Share

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Fulaman198(m): 6:54am On Feb 06, 2015
Fulfulde has more than 1.9 million speakers in Nigeria. Also the information is wrong. Most Fulani speakers are found in Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states.

15 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by mkpakanaodogwu(m): 6:58am On Feb 06, 2015
Informative but them never finish
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Godfullsam(m): 6:59am On Feb 06, 2015
@ OP, your article is too cluttered.... almost unreadable undecided
Copy and paste tinz undecided
Next time, try and edit before you paste.

2 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 8:06am On Feb 06, 2015
saaedlee:
Proper indentation would make this article stand-out, pls adjust or modify accordingly!
You get sense!
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 8:52am On Feb 06, 2015
I wonder which population census figures were used here. The numbers (for the most parts) seem rather small.

7 Likes 1 Share

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by absoluteSuccess: 11:28am On Feb 06, 2015
Op what about languages on the path of extinction? Do we count these big-ten out of extinction?
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 11:28pm On Feb 07, 2015
Igbo language is on the verge of extinction.
With the rate younger Igbo generations drop the langauge I doubt if Igbo will survive next 100yrs.
Was on a wedding ceremony of my colleague who is Igbo, I was ashamed of how the parents were happy and amazed that the guy can express himself with shaky Igbo.
Also I paid a visit to my uncle, on greeting his kids in Igbo, my uncle was like I should use English, you know they don't understand Igbo.

28 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 1:00am On Feb 08, 2015
Fulaman198:
Fulfulde has more than 1.9 million speakers in Nigeria. Also the information is wrong. Most Fulani speakers are found in Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states.

The list is embarrassing to say the least- the article says there are only 1.9 Million Fulfulde speakers in all of Nigeria.... lol
Second the area it claims Fulfulde are most spoken are actually not the areas where it is most spoken.....

Third (I might be an outsider on this one)- but it is obvious to anyone in this country that Yoruba has more speakers than Igbo and not the other way round--- you can call me out, if you think I am wrong.

57 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Fulaman198(m): 1:19am On Feb 08, 2015
Bororojo:


The list is embarrassing to say the least- the article says there are only 1.9 Million Fulfulde speakers in all of Nigeria.... lol
Second the area it claims Fulfulde are most spoken are actually not the areas where it is most spoke.....

Third (I might be an outside on this one)- but it is obvious to anyone in this country that Yoruba has more speakers than Igbo and not the other way round--- you can call me out, if you think I am wrong.

You are completely spot on I almost pulled out my beard reading that nonsense

24 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by absoluteSuccess: 1:44am On Feb 08, 2015
Fulaman198:


You are completely spot on I almost pulled out my beard reading that nonsense
.grin Op I believe zou have the next election on your mind. Bad boy.

2 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 2:13am On Feb 08, 2015
Fulaman198:


You are completely spot on I almost pulled out my beard reading that nonsense

hahahahhahaha

2 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Funjosh(m): 7:34am On Feb 08, 2015
The OP is lazy to edit and present a good post.

2 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Emmyk(m): 8:55pm On Feb 09, 2015
Bororojo:


The list is embarrassing to say the least- the article says there are only 1.9 Million Fulfulde speakers in all of Nigeria.... lol
Second the area it claims Fulfulde are most spoken are actually not the areas where it is most spoken.....

Third (I might be an outsider on this one)- but it is obvious to anyone in this country that Yoruba has more speakers than Igbo and not the other way round--- you can call me out, if you think I am wrong.
You are so right.

2 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Misogynist2014(m): 9:58pm On Feb 11, 2015
So Igbo has more speakers than Yoruba? Spoof.

13 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Babyboy1986(m): 9:58pm On Feb 11, 2015
Op nice write up.
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 9:59pm On Feb 11, 2015
Igala, calabar

3 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by Nobody: 10:00pm On Feb 11, 2015
nice

meanwhile


CONVERSATION BTWN KID BRO ND I.
BRO: hey sis, wanna ask sumfin
ME: am all ears
BRO: what was dat uncle discussing wid u
today when we went to buy cornflakes?
ME: hw does dat affect u?
HIM: i jst askd
ME: THATS HOW WE ROLL
*
*
*
Few hours later...
ME: wow ! Dis teddy looks dead gorgeous, is
dat suppos 2 b ma val gift?? U such a sweey
kid bro every sis could hav
HIM: sorry to burst ur bubble sis, it aint for u
ME: who on earth did u get it 4?
HIM: for dis pweedy bae in ma class
ME: hun,ur just in ss1., u shouldnt b having gfs
for heavens sake!
HIM: darling i knw buh u see. . . THATS HOW
WE ROLL

6 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by tbmas(m): 10:00pm On Feb 11, 2015
k
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by donstevico(m): 10:01pm On Feb 11, 2015
rubbish
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by McLuhan(m): 10:02pm On Feb 11, 2015
Is this some kind of ethnic posturing or what? Who conducted this research? I hate it when people try to score cheap political points by bandying statistics and supremacist rhetoric. If Hausa is the most widely spoken native language in Nigeria, what am I expected to do? Abandon my mother tongue and learn Hausa? Or can we compare Hausa and Yoruba to English in terms of linguistic development, universal acceptability, versatility and sheer utility? Those who blow the trumpet of these so-called majority langauages should know that in the global setting these Nigerian languages are practically inconsequential. Whether Fulfulde or Annang or Igbo or whatever, they are all peripheral to English, French, Spanish, etc.

4 Likes

Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by nagoma(m): 10:02pm On Feb 11, 2015
Fulaman198:
Fulfulde has more than 1.9 million speakers in Nigeria. Also the information is wrong. Most Fulani speakers are found in Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states.

You may be right about the number but definitely both of you are wrong about the states Fulaman.
Re: Top 10 Most Spoken Nigerian Languages by trisha01(f): 10:02pm On Feb 11, 2015
IGBO .... last to comment? dats rare sad

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