Igala language

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íchí Igáláà
Native toNigeria
Native speakers
1,000,000 (2003)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3igl

Igáláà is a Yoruboid language, spoken by the Igala ethnic group of Nigeria. In 1989 an estimated 800,000 spoke Igala, primarily in Kogi State, though current estimates place the number of Igala speakers at upwards of 2 million. Dialects include Idah, Imane, Ankpa, Dekina, Ogugu, Ibaji, and Ife.

The Igala is related to Yoruba with which it shares a previous common ancestor; it remains unclear when the languages split. Mutual intelligibility in modern times is only marginal, although the sound/tonal systems remain the same; akin to the relationship between the various daughter languages of the Romance or Slavic language families.

The Idoma and Bassa people use Igala in primary schools. The Igala language, as well as Igala culture and tradition, has influenced other languages and cultures around the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers.


  1. ^ íchí Igáláà at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)

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