Isoko language

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Native speakers
420,000 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3iso

Isoko is an Edoid language spoken by the Isoko people in the Niger Delta of southern Nigeria, specifically in the regions of Delta and Bayelsa States. The Isoko and Urhobo languages are not dialects of the same language but separate languages; each existing independently, but erroneously speculated as dialects of a language. This has in so many ways suppressed the language below it's neighbour Urhobo language.[citation needed] Isoko has about 20 to 21 dialects, but the Aviara/Uzere dialect is the standard dialect of the language.

Michael A. Marioghae, working with Peter Ladefoged in 1962, made one of a few audio recordings of sample Isoko words that are made available at the UCLA phonetics archive.[2]


The Isoko vowel system is hardly reduced from that reconstructed for proto-Edoid. There are nine vowels in two harmonic sets, /i e a o u/ and /ɪ ɛ a ɔ ʊ/.[3]


  1. ^ Isoko at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Isoko audio word-list
  3. ^ Archangeli & Pulleyblank, 1994. Grounded phonology, p 181ff

External links[edit]