Urhobo language

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Native to Nigeria
Region Delta and Bayelsa State
Ethnicity Urhobo people
Native speakers
550,000 (1993)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 urh
Glottolog urho1239[2]
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Urhobo is one of the Edoid languages and is spoken by the Urhobo people of southern Nigeria.


Urhobo has a rather reduced system, compared to proto-Edoid, of seven vowels; these form two harmonic sets, /i e a o u/ and /i ɛ a ɔ u/.[3]

It has a conservative consonant inventory for an Edoid language. It maintains three nasals, and only five oral consonants, /ɺ, l, ʋ, j, w/, have nasal allophones before nasal vowels.

  Labial Labiodental Alveolar Palatal Velar Labio-velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ      
Plosive p  b t  d c  ɟ k  ɡ k͡p  ɡ͡b  
Fricative ɸ   f  v s  z ɕ  ʑ   ɣ   h
Flap   ɺ [ɾ̃]        
Approximant   ʋ [ʋ̃] l [n] j [ɲ]   w [ŋʷ]  


Temu: A substance or person reaching a position or status respectively.

  • It is likely to originate from Atamu/Atumu, meaning 'Sun'.


Urhobo dictionaries have been compiled by Ukere, Osubele, Ebireri Okrokoto of Urhobo Language Institute,[4] and Julius Arerierian.[citation needed] A multilingual dictionary of English, Okpe, Urhobo and Uvwie was compiled by Akpobọmẹ Diffrẹ-Odiete with funding from Foundation for Endangered Languages.


  1. ^ Urhobo at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Urhobo". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Archangeli & Pulleyblank, 1994. Grounded phonology, p 181ff
  4. ^ "Urhobo to English Dictionary" (PDF). urhobolanguageinstitute.com. Retrieved 20 November 2016. 
  • http://nigerianwiki.com/Urhobos
  • Frank Kügler, Caroline Féry, Ruben Van De Vijver (2009) Variation and Gradience in Phonetics and Phonology
  • Okrokoto Ebireri. Ukoko re Ephere R'Urhobo[1]