Cross River languages
|Southeastern Nigeria (Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa States); southwestern Cameroon|
The Cross River or Delta–Cross languages are a branch of the Benue–Congo language family spoken in south-easternmost Nigeria, with some speakers in south-westernmost Cameroon. The branch was first formulated by Joseph Greenberg; it is one of the few of his branches of Niger–Congo that has withstood the test of time.
Greenberg's Cross River family originally included the Bendi languages. The Bendi languages were soon seen to be very different and thus were made a separate branch of Cross River, while the other languages were united under the branch Delta–Cross. However, the inclusion of Bendi in Cross River at all is doubtful, and it has been tentatively reassigned to the Southern Bantoid family, making the terms Cross River and Delta–Cross now synonymous.
There are four primary branches of Cross River:
- Central Delta, 8 languages, the most populous being Ogbia with 100,000 speakers
- Ogoni, 5 languages, with Ogoni proper (Khana) having 200,000 speakers
- Upper Cross River, 22 languages, the most populous being Lokaa with 120,000 speakers
- Lower Cross River, 23 languages, including Efik (3.5 million speakers)
Branches and locations
Below is a list of major Cross River branches and their primary locations (centres of diversity) in southeast Nigeria based on Blench (2019).
|Upper Cross River||Obubra and Akamkpa LGAs, Rivers State|
|Lower Cross River||Akwa Ibom State|
|Ogoni||Gokana, Tai, and Eleme LGAs, Rivers State|
|Central Delta||Ahoada LGA, Rivers State and Brass LGA, Bayelsa State|
- Cross River
- ? Bendi (Yakoro, Bendi, Alege, Bumaji, Bokyi, etc.)
- Upper Cross
- North-South (Koring, Kukele, Kohumono, Agwagwune, etc.)
- East-West (Ikom, Mbembe, Legbo, etc.)
- Agoi, Doko, Iyongiyong
- Kiong, Korop
- Lower Cross
- East (Efik, Ibibio, Anaang, Efiat, etc.)
- Central (Enwang, Uda)
- West (Ebughu, Oro, Usakade, Obolo, etc.)
- Eleme; Baan (Ogoi)
- Gokana; Tẹẹ (Tai); Kana
- Central Delta
- Abuan, Odual
- Kugbo, Ogbia, etc.
- Upper Cross
- Cross River (Nigeria), the namesake of the language group
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Delta Cross". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Blench, Roger (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.
- Blench, Roger. 2008. The Ogoni languages: comparative word list and historical reconstructions.
- ComparaLex, database with Cross River word lists
- Journal of West African Languages: Cross River Languages