Obolo language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native toNigeria
RegionRivers State, Akwa Ibom State
EthnicityObolo people
Native speakers
318,000 (2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ann

Obolo (or Andoni) is a major Cross River language of Nigeria. Obolo is the indigenous name of a community in the eastern Delta of the River Niger, better known as Andoni (the origin of this latter name being uncertain).[2] Obolo refers to the people, the language as well as the land. It is an agglutinative and an SVO language.


There are six major dialect groups in the language, namely: (from west to east): Ataba, Unyeada, Ngo, Okoroete, Iko and Ibot Obolo.[3] Ngo is the prestige dialect, hence the standard literary form of Obolo draws heavily from it.

Obolo literature[edit]

  • The Bible in Obolo was published by the Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organization in 2012. Obolo is the 23rd Nigerian language to have the complete Bible.[4]
  • An Obolo-language website was launched in 2016.[5]
  • The first literary material on Literature in the Mother-Tongue; a novel for Junior Secondary Schools and public readership, Mbuban Îchaka by Isidore Ene-Awaji © Obolo Language & Bible Translation Organization, was published in 2010.[6]

Writing System[edit]

Obolo language is written in the Latin script. The alphabet is as follows:

Obolo alphabet [7][8][9]
a b ch d e f g gb
gw i j k kp kw l m
n nw ny o p r
s (sh) t u (v) w y (z)
  • The characters in bracket are dialect-specific.
  • Tone marks can be added to some letters. The tone bearers are the vowels a, e, i, o, ọ, u as well as the consonants m and n.

Obolo is a tone language. There are five tones in the language: low, high, mid, falling and rising tone.[10] In writing, only the low tone and falling tone are indicated.[11] Tones are marked compulsorily on the first syllables of verbs and verbal groups. For other classes of words, a standard literature will show the way to go.


Obolo language is regulated by the Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organization (OLBTO), a community-owned research and development organization that does dialect surveys and research, oversees the development and introduction of new terminologies, publishes books in the language, etc.


  1. ^ NBS (2011) Annual Abstract of Statistics. National Bureau of Statistics. Federal Republic of Nigeria. p. 26,64
  2. ^ A History of Obolo (Andoni) in the Niger Delta. By Nkparom C. Ejituwu. Oron: Manson Publishing Company, in association with University of Port Harcourt Press, 1991. Pp. xiv +314
  3. ^ Obolo in "Orthographies of Nigerian Languages Manual VI." Publisher: Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council. 2000.
  4. ^ "About | Read the Bible in Obolo language". obolo.ngbible.com. Archived from the original on 2019-08-26.
  5. ^ "Ida Obolo". obololanguage.org. Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  6. ^ "Mfufuk Ofolek Ikwaan̄ Usem Obolo (OLBTO) 1984-2014". obololanguage.org. Retrieved 2024-01-13.
  7. ^ Obololanguage.org 2015.
  8. ^ "Reading and Writing Obolo: Obolo Alphabet" in "A Workshop Manual for Teaching Obolo." Pg. 1. © Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organisation (OLBTO), 2011.
  9. ^ "Reading and Writing Obolo." Pg. 4. Andoni Language Committee and Rivers Readers Project, 1978.
  10. ^ "Reading and Writing Obolo: Tone Marking" in "A Workshop Manual for Teaching Obolo." Pg. 1. © Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organisation (OLBTO), 2011.
  11. ^ "Reading and Writing Obolo: About Marking of Tones in Bible" in "A Workshop Manual for Teaching Obolo." Pg. 9. © Obolo Language and Bible Translation Organisation (OLBTO), 2011.