Efik language

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Ikɔ Efik
Native toSouthern Nigeria
RegionCross River State
Native speakers
400,000 (1998)[1]
Second language: 2 million (1998)[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-2efi
ISO 639-3efi

Efik /ˈɛfɪk/[4] proper; Efik. Ikɔ Efik) is the native language of the Efik people of Nigeria, where it is a national language. It is the official language of Cross River State in Nigeria.


On the second year of the Presbyterian mission from the Jamaican congregation led by Rev. Hope Masterton Waddell in 1846, Rev. Hugh Goldie a member of the second batch of the missionary team who was a Hebrew, Greek and Latin scholar studied the various manifestations of the Efik language for twenty years. He classified it as one of the Nilo-Hamitic, a member of the Semitic family language which forms most of its vocables as the Semitic class does, from the root of the verb.[5] He noted:

The Efik very much resembling in idiom that of the Semitic tongue, can frequently more clearly express the import of sacred writers than can the English.

In 1862, Goldie completed his translation of the New Testament into Efik language. The Old Testament was completed by Alexander Robb in 1868 and printed in 1873. Goldie wrote the Efik language dictionary in 1874.[5]

It may survive in the diaspora in Cuba, in a creolised form used in the Abakuá secret society, which has its roots in the Efik Ekpe secret society in Nigeria.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Efik at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Efik language at Ethnologue (14th ed., 2000).
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Efik". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  5. ^ a b U., Aye, Efiong (2000). The Efik people. [Calabar, Nigeria?]: Association for the Promotion of Efik Language, Literature and Culture. ISBN 9783054139. OCLC 53283170.

External links[edit]