How Many Official Languages are in Nigeria

Nuelson Penuel Friday, July 1, 2022 Basis

Before we look into the numbers of official languages in Nigeria, let's understand what the term "official language" means

What is the term "Official Language"?

The term official language is the language that is often used not by the people but by the government of a country. With the definition of the term official language above, it means Nigeria has only one official language which is ENGLISH due to the previous colonial era. In Nigeria, English has over decades of years being the language of government as well as for education. Entertainment sector and internet use English. In Nigeria today, we have so many spoken languages and all are spread all over the Nigerian states. Nevertheless, there are other several major languages in Nigeria in terms of states which are Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ibibio, Fulfide, Edo, Urhobo, Kanuri and Pidgin English. They may not be official languages of Nigeria but they have the highest speakers in the whole of Nigerian states.

How Many Native Languages are in Nigeria

Nigeria has more than 510 native languages, but English is the official language because it's the only language the Nigerian government could use to make communication and interaction easier for the people both in rural and urban areas. Although people in the rural areas finds it difficult to communicate or interact in English especially people with little or no education levels. In Nigeria, English is a second language to majority of Nigerians due to the fact that Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest number of different languages in the world. On the other hand English is not natively spoken across the country but about 60 million people although not the exact estimate speaks English. Native languages especially the major languages with the highest number of speakers such as Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Ibibio, Fulfide, Edo, Urhobo, and Kanuri are widely spoken across the whole country, amongst all Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are the outstanding and most spoken native languages in Nigeria.

Is Pidgin a Nigerian Language?

Pidgin English also known as the Nigerian pidgin or "broken" act as a lingua franca alongside with the Nigerian standard English. Nigerian pidgin is spoken by more than 25 million people across Nigeria. Despite the fact that it has it own writing pattern, it's being used in many parts of Nigeria in everyday interactions among people who are self employed like traders, businessmen and businesswomen as well as on the streets, bars, e.t.c

Number of Languages in Nigeria

In Nigeria today we have over 510 spoken languages, although grouping and listing them out is not an easy task. Base on grouping, the over 510 native Languages in Nigeria has been narrowed into three groups namely; Niger - congo, Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan. Also, base on listing we were privileged to list over 250 languages in Nigeria. Although no one has ever gotten or come out to give the accurate number of spoken languages in Nigeria because many of them base in rural areas or areas that are not yet civilized.

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