Ibibio-Efik languages

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Central Lower Cross
Ethnicity: Annang, Efik, Ibibio
Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State, Nigeria
Linguistic classification: Niger–Congo
Glottolog: efik1244[1]

Efik-Ibibio is the major dialect cluster of the Benue–Congo language family called Cross River. Efik proper has national status in Nigeria and is the literary standard of the Efik languages, though Ibibio proper has more native speakers.[citation needed]


Efik-Ibibio is a dialect cluster spoken by about 9½ million people of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River States of Nigeria, making it the sixth largest language cluster in Nigeria after Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and Kanuri. Specifically, there are 3 million Anaang (as of 1990); possibly 4½ to 5 million Ibibio (1998, claim since retracted by Ethnologue)—Ibibio is also used as a trade language; and 1 million Efik; Efik also has about 2 million second-language speakers.

Minor varieties, according to Williamson and Blench,[2] are 200,000 Ekit, 7,000 Efai, 20,000 Ibuoro, 5,000 Eki, 5,000 Idere, and a hundred Ukwa. These arguably constitute a single language, though Ethnologue considers them to be separate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Efik–Ibibio". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ These are varieties of what Williamson and Blench (2000) calls "Central Lower Cross", which they list as "Efik, Ibibio, Anaang, Ibuoro, Ekit, Efai, etc."