A language of Nigeria

Alternate Names
Yariba, Yooba

18,900,000 in Nigeria (Johnstone 1993). L2 users: 2,000,000 in Nigeria. Ethnic population: 37,000,000 (2015 World Factbook). Total users in all countries: 21,043,700 (as L1: 19,043,700; as L2: 2,000,000).


Widespread in southwest.

Language Status

2 (Provincial). De facto provincial language in southwestern region.


Oyo, Ijesha, Ila, Ijebu, Ondo, Wo, Owe, Jumu, Iworro, Igbonna, Yagba, Gbedde, Egba, Akono, Aworo, Bunu (Bini), Ekiti, Ilaje, Ikale, Awori, Ào.


SVO; prepositions; noun head initial; no articles; 17 consonant and 11 vowel phonemes; tonal (3 tones: high, mid, low).

Language Use

Also use English [eng]. Used as L2 by Akpes [ibe], Bokobaru [bus], Ebira [igb], Ukaan [kcf].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 35%. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. TV. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1884–2006.

Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab], no longer in use. Braille script [Brai]. Latin script [Latn], used since 1865, primary usage.

Other Comments

Christian, Muslim, traditional religion.

Also spoken in:

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