Ibibio-Efik languages

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Central Lower Cross
EthnicityAnnang, Efik, Ibibio
Cross River State, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo

Efik-Ibibio is the major dialect cluster of the Cross River branch of Benue–Congo. Efik proper has national status in Nigeria and is the literary standard of the Efik languages, though Ibibio proper has more native speakers.


Efik-Ibibio is a dialect cluster spoken by about 9.5 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.

The major Efik-Ibibio languages are:

  • Anaang (4 million speakers, 2018 estimate)
  • Ibibio (possibly 5 to 6 million speakers, 2018 estimate; claim since retracted by Ethnologue; also used as a trade language)
  • Efik (2.5 million speakers, 2018 estimate. Efik also has about 2 million second-language speakers.)

Minor varieties, according to Williamson and Blench,[note 1] are:

These arguably constitute a single language, though Ethnologue considers them to be separate.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ These are varieties of what Williamson and Blench (2000) calls "Central Lower Cross", which they list as "Efik, Ibibio, Anaang, Ibuoro, Ekit, Efai, etc."


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Efik-Ibibio". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.