|South central Nigeria, west of the Niger River south the confluence of the Benue|
The Edoid languages are some two-to-three dozen languages spoken in Southern Nigeria, predominantly in the former Bendel State. The name Edoid derives from its most widely spoken member, Edo, the language of Benin City, which has 25 million native and secondary speakers.
The following classification is based on that of Elugbe (1989).
- Delta: Degema, Epie, Ẹgẹnẹ (Engenni)
- Southwestern: Isoko, Urhobo, Eruwa, Okpe, Uvbie
Ihievbe and Aduge are unclassified within their branches.
Names and locations
Below is a list of language names, populations, and locations from Blench (2019).
|Language||Branch||Cluster||Dialects||Alternate spellings||Own name for language||Endonym(s)||Other names (location-based)||Other names for language||Exonym(s)||Speakers||Location(s)|
|Degema||Delta||Atala, spoken in Degema town, and Usokun spoken in Usokun–Degema||Dẹgẹma||Atala, Usokun||(Udekama not recommended)||10,000 (SIL)||Rivers State, Degema LGA|
|Engenni||Delta||Ediro, Inedua, and Ogua; Zarama in Yenagoa LGA||Ngene, Ẹgẹnẹ||Ẹgẹnẹ||10,000 (1963); 20,000 (1980 UBS)||Rivers State, Yenagoa and Ahoada LGAs|
|Epie||Delta||Two clans, Epie and Atiṣa in at least three towns: Agudiama, Akẹnfai, Yẹneguẹ||Epie–Atissa, Epie–Atiṣa||12,000 (SIL)||Rivers State, Yenagoa LGA|
|Emai–Iuleha–Ora cluster||North-Central||Emai–Iuleha–Ora||Ivhimion. Spurious languages Ihievbe and Uokha are listed in Ethnologue (2009)||Kunibum||Ivbiosakon||estimated 100,000 plus (1987 Schaefer)||Edo State, Owan, LGA|
|Emai||North-Central||Emai–Iuleha–Ora||estimated 20–25,000 (1987 Schaefer)|
|Iuleha||North-Central||Emai–Iuleha–Ora||Aoma||estimated 50,000 (1987 Schaefer)|
|Ora||North-Central||Emai–Iuleha–Ora||estimated 30,000 (1987 Schaefer)|
|Esan||North-Central||Many dialects||Ishan||Awain||183,000 (1952); 500,000 estimated in 1963: Okojie & Ejele (1987)||Bendel State (now Edo State and Delta State), Agbazilo, Okpebho, Owan and Etsako LGAs|
|Ikpeshi||North-Central||1,826 (Bradbury 1957)||Edo State, Etsako LGA|
|Etsako||North-Central||Auchi, Uzairue, South Ivbie, Uwepa–Uwano, (Weppa–Wano), Avbianwu (Fugar), Avbiele, Ivbiadaobi||Yẹkhee: not all speakers of the language recognise this as the name of the language.||Etsakọ||Iyẹkhee, Afenmai, Kukuruku (not recommended)||73,500 (1952), 150,000 (UBS 1987)||Edo State, Etsako, Agbako and Okpebho LGAs|
|Ghotuọ||North-Central||Otwa, Otuọ||9,000 (1952)||Edo State, Owan and Akoko–Edo LGAs|
|Ivbie North–Okpela–Arhẹ cluster||North-Central||Ivbie North–Okpela–Arhẹ||14,500 (1952); possibly 20,000 (1973 SIL)||Edo State, Etsako and Akoko–Ẹdo LGAs|
|Ivbie North||North-Central||Ivbie North–Okpela–Arhẹ|
|Okpela||North-Central||Ivbie North–Okpela–Arhẹ||Okpella, Ukpilla|
|Arhẹ||North-Central||Ivbie North–Okpela–Arhẹ||Atẹ, Ate, Atte|
|Yẹkhee||North-Central||Auchi, Uzairue, South Ivbie, Uwepa–Uwano, (Weppa–Wano), Avbianwu (Fugar), Avbiele, Ivbiadaobi||Yẹkhee: not all speakers of the language recognise this as the name of the language.||Etsakọ: the language is not the only language listed as being spoken in Etsako LGA.||Iyẹkhee, Afenmai, Kukuruku (not recommended)||73,500 (1952), 150,000 (UBS 1987)||Edo State, Etsako, Agbako and Okpebho LGAs|
|Ẹdo||North-Central||Oviedo, Ovioba||Benin||Ẹdo (Binĩ||203,000 (1952), 1,000,000 (1987 UBS)||Edo State, Ovia, Oredo and Orhionmwon LGAs|
|Ọsọsọ||North-Central||6,532 (1957 Bradbury)||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA|
|Sasaru–Enwan–Igwẹ||North-Central||Enwan, Igwẹ, Sasaru||3,775 (1952)||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA|
|Unẹmẹ||North-Central||Uleme, Ileme, Ineme||6,000 (1952).||Edo State, Etsako, Agbazilo and Akoko–Edo LGAs. The Uneme are a casted blacksmith group and live scattered among other language groups.|
|Uhami||North-Western||Isua||5,498 (1963)||Ondo State, Akoko–South and Owo LGAs|
|Ukue||North-Western||Ukpe, Ẹkpenmi||5,702 (1963)||Ondo State, Akoko South LGA|
|Ehuẹun||North-Western||Ẹkpenmi, Ekpimi, Epimi||5,766 (1963)||Ondo State, Akoko South LGA|
|Iyayu||North-Western||Idoani||9,979 (1963)||Ondo State, one quarter of Idoani town|
|Ẹmhalhẹ||North-Western||Somorika (Semolika)||249 in Semolina town (Temple 1922)||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA|
|Ọkpamheri||North-Western||Ọkpamheri means ‘we are one’: Okulosho (Okurosho), Western Okpamheri, Emhalhe (Emarle, Somorika, Semolika). Various.||Opameri||Aduge (appears to be a town name)||18,136 (1957 Bradbury); 30,000 (1973 SIL)||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA, Kwara State, Oyi LGA|
|Ọkpẹ–Idesa–Akuku||North-Western||Ọkpẹ, Idesa, Akuku||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA|
|Ọlọma||North-Western||353 (1957 Bradbury)||Edo State, Akoko–Edo LGA|
|Ẹrụwa||South-Western||Erohwa, Erakwa, Arokwa||Delta State, Isoko LGA|
|Isoko||South-Western||various||Igabo, Sobo (see also under Urhobo)||Biotu (not recommended)||At least 74,000 (1952 REB); 300,000 (1980 UBS)||Delta State, Isoko and Ndokwa LGAs|
|Okpẹ||South-Western||Ukpɛ||8,722 (1957 Bradbury)||Delta State, Okpe LGA|
|Urhobo||South-Western||Several dialects, Agbarho accepted as standard. Okpe and Uvbiẹ, often regarded as dialects of Urhobo, are treated as distinct languages (q.v.) on purely linguistic grounds||Sobo (not recommended) (See also Isoko)||Biotu (See also Isoko)||at least 173,000 (1952 REB); 340,000 (1973 SIL)||Delta State, Ethiope and Ughelli LGAs|
|Uvbiẹ||South-Western||Uvwie, Evrie, Uvhria, Effurum, Effurun, Evhro (not recommended)||6,000 (1952)||Delta State, Ethiope LGA|
Proto-Edoid is reconstructed as having a contrast between oral and nasal consonants and oral and nasal vowels typical for the region. However, in some Edoid languages nasal vowels have been reanalyzed as allophones of oral vowels after nasal consonants, and in others nasal consonants have been reanalyzed as allophones of oral consonants before nasal vowels, reducing the number of phonemically nasal consonants. Urhobo retains three nasals, /m, n, ɲ/, and has five oral consonants with nasal allophones, /ɺ, l, ʋ, j, w/; in Edo this is reduced to one phonemic nasal, /m/, but eight additional consonants with nasal allophones, /p, b, t, d, k, ɡ, kp, ɡb/; and in Ukue there are no indisputably phonemic nasals and only two consonants with nasal allophones, /l, β/.
- List of Proto-Edoid reconstructions (Wiktionary)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Edoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989. Comparative Edoid: Phonology and Lexicon. (Delta Series, 6.) Port-Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.
- Blench, Roger (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.
- Schaefer, R.P. 1987. An initial orthography and lexicon for Emai: an Edoid language of Nigeria. Indiana University Linguistics Club, Studies in African Grammatical Systems, 5, Bloomington.
- Okojie, C. and P.E. Ejele 1987. Esan orthography. In: Orthography Manual V. ed. R.N. Agheyisi. National Language Centre, Federal Ministry of Education, Lagos.
- Bradbury, R.E. 1957. The Benin kingdom and the Edo-speaking peoples of south-western Nigeria (Ethnographic survey of Africa, Western Africa 13). London: Oxford Univ. Press; International African Inst. (IAI).
- Temple, Olive 1922. Notes on the Tribes, Provinces, Emirates and States of the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. Argus Printing and Publishing Co. Cape Town.
- Frank Kügler, Caroline Féry, Ruben Van De Vijver (2009) Variation and Gradience in Phonetics and Phonology
- Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989a. "Edoid". In Bendor-Samuel (Ed.), The Niger–Congo Languages. Lanham: The United Press of America. 291-304.
- Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989b. Comparative Edoid: phonology and lexicon. Delta Series No. 6. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.
- Blench, Roger. Delta Edoid wordlists.