Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Learning the Languages of Nigeria


Nigeria has an immense diversity of languages. There are currently 510 different languages that are┬ácataloged. Many people in ethnic groups speak at least two languages. As 75% of Nigeria’s population is rural, lots of these tribal languages are widely preserved in the present day.


English, the country’s former colonial language, takes the role as Nigeria’s official language, even though roughly half of the population can actually speak it. For official, educational and business affairs, English is the most commonly used means of communication. It is is also used as away for people to interact rather than using the hundreds of local languages.


Yoruba is classified as a Niger-Congo language, and is the native tongue of the Yoruba people throughout Western Africa. As there are various tribes of Yoruba people in Nigeria and other countries, there are consequently various dialects of the language. This language uses the Latin alphabet, and out of the 22 million speakers of Yoruba, the vast majority of these are throughout Nigeria.


Edo is another Niger-Congo language with about one million speakers in Nigeria. They live mainly in Bendel State, Ovia and Oredo.


Igbo is the language spoken by the Igbo people who largely live in southeastern Nigeria, who are one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups in the country. There are over 24 million Igbo people living around Nigeria, and some of the states they reside in include Abia State, Awka, Nkanu, Udi and many others. Most Igbo people also speak English as a second language. Igbo is a Niger-Congo language that uses the Latin script, and is the main trade language of several Nigerian states.

Hausa -Fulani

Hausa-Fulani is a Chadic language that is mainly used in the northern part of Nigeria. It is traditionally written in a type of Arabic script called Ajami, but is also expressed with the Latin script.


Several million people in Nigeria speak the Tiv language, who mostly exist in the Benue State. It is a Niger-Congo language.


Kanuri is spoken by about 4 million people in Africa, a few hundred thousand of whom live in Nigeria, off of Lake Chad. It is a Western Sahara language that has traditionally used the Ajami Arabic script, but is today being more expressed with the Latin script. People who speak Kanuri as a first language will often speak Arabic or Hausa as a second.


Ibibio is a Benue-Congo language that is spoken in southern Nigeria, mainly in the Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. There are currently about 3.5 million who speak this language.


7 thoughts on “Learning the Languages of Nigeria

  1. you ignorant racist bastard!! then kill yourself so you won’t be around any negroes. We don’t like crackers like you either.

  2. All people are created and loved by God. I pray that God touches your heart, Glenn, with a love that you will be able to show to others, regardless of their skin color.

  3. I like me some redneck, crackers and whatever name y’all call it, but not YOU, hating son of a bitch. See bro, try that iSH hanging around the streets of Nigeria talkin ’bout Negro and see how quickly a white man can become black. I’ll happily volunteer. Need to treat your f*ck up nice.

  4. Nigeria is probably the last country of the planet on my list. I would never ever go there…..maybe if they gave me a million dollar and told me you have to set foot on nigerian soil for a couple of days i would consider it…..Lol….no no not even for money….Brrr

  5. L. You must have an over-inflated idea of yourself. I had been to Nigeria, and believe you me, a nonentity like you would not be missed if you stayed away from Nigeria for the next million years to come.
    The likes of you and that other ‘roach, Glenn, are the noxious varmints that pollute the earth for the rest of us. Being a white female, I could only imagine how terribly your mothers feel. I assure your mothers that I truly share their pains of having such a sorry bunch of an excuse of human beings as their children.
    Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry and pray for you, though.
    Such is the product of the public education system that turns out sorry bunch, the likes of you.

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