Idomoid languages

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Central Nigeria, lower reaches of the Benue River
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo
  • Atlantic–Congo
    • Volta–Niger
      • noi
        • Idomoid
  • Yace
  • Etulo–Idoma

The Idomoid languages are spoken primarily in Benue State of east-central Nigeria and surrounding regions. Idoma itself is an official language spoken by nearly four million people which the subgroups of Igede, uffia,otukpo,orokam etc.


Ethnologue includes Eloyi, though that assignment is outdated as Blench (2007)[2] considers Eloyi to be a divergent Plateau language that has undergone Idomoid influence, rather than vice versa.

Ethnologue also calls the non-Yace branch "Akweya", despite the fact that Yace are also called "Akweya".

Names and locations[edit]

Below is a list of language names, populations, and locations from Blench (2019).[3]

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)
Igede Three dialects: Òjù (Central), Ìtóò (Ito), Ùẉ ọò`kwù ̣(Worku); also Gabu (Ogoja LGA) Igedde, Egede, Egedde 70,000 (1952 RGA), 120,000 (1982 UBS) Benue State, Oju, Otukpo and Okpokwu LGAs; Cross River State, Ogoja LGA
Yace Alifokpa, Ijiegu Yache, Yatye, Iyace Ekpari? 6,600 (1937 RGA); 10,000 (1982 UBS) Cross River State, Ogoja LGA
Akpa Akweya 5,500 (1952 RGA) Benue State, Otukpo LGA
Eloyi Mbeci (=Mbekyi, Mbejĩ, Mbamu) Afo, Epe, Aho, Afu, Afao 20,000 (Mackay 1964); 25,000 (SIL) Nasarawa State, Nasarawa and Awe LGAs; Benue State, Otukpo LGA
Alago Group B Agwatashi, Assaikio, Doma, Keana in towns of these names Arago Idoma Nokwu 15,000 (1953 RGA); at least 100,000 (Blench 2017) Nasarawa State, Awe and Lafia LGAs
Etulo Group B Utur, Eturo Turumawa 2,900 (1952 RGA); more than 10,000 (Shain, p.c. 1988) Benue State, Gboko LGA, Taraba State, Wukari, LGA
Yala Yala Iyala 25,650 (1952); 50,000 (1973 SIL)
Yala Ikom Yala Nkum Cross River State, Ikom LGA
Yala Obubra Yala Nkum Akpambe Cross River State, Obubra LGA
Yala Ogoja Yala Yala Ọkpọ̃ma (Central Yala) spoken in all hamlets comprising Ọkpọ̃ma village; Yala Igbeeku spoken between Igbeeku Rikọ and Oloko; Yala Ọkpamẹ, spoken in Ọkkpamẹ, Yẹhẹ and Ebo. Cross River State, Ogoja LGA
Idoma cluster Idoma Benue State, Otukpo and Okpokwu LGAs; Nasarawa State, Nasarawa and Awe LGAs
Agatu Idoma Agatu, Ochekwu Idoma North 56,000 (1952 RGA); 70,000 (1987 UBS) Benue State, Otukpo LGA; Nasarawa State, Nasarawa and Awe LGAs
Idoma Central Idoma Oturkpo, Otukpo Akpoto 66,000 (1952 RGA) Benue State, Otukpo and Okpokwu LGAs
Idoma West Idoma 60,000 (1952 RGA) Benue State, Okpokwu LGA
Okpogu Idoma
Idoma South Idoma Igumale, Igwaale, Ijigbam 13,500 (1952 RGA) Benue State, Okpokwu LGA

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Idomoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Blench, Roger. 2007. The Eloyi language of Central Nigeria and its affinities.
  3. ^ Blench, Roger (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.