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The Edoid languages are some two-to-three dozen languages spoken in Southern Nigeria, predominantly in the former Bendel State. The name Edoid derives from its most widely spoken member, Edo, the language of Benin City, 25 million native and secondary speakers.

South central Nigeria, west of the Niger River south the confluence of the Benue
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo
  • Delta
  • North-Central
  • Northwestern
  • Southwestern



The following classification is based on that of Elugbe (1989).[2]

Ihievbe and Aduge are unclassified within their branches.


Proto-Edoid is reconstructed as having a contrast between oral and nasal consonants and oral and nasal vowels typical for the region. However, in some Edoid languages nasal vowels have been reanalyzed as allophones of oral vowels after nasal consonants, and in others nasal consonants have been reanalyzed as allophones of oral consonants before nasal vowels, reducing the number of phonemically nasal consonants. Urhobo retains three nasals, /m, n, ɲ/, and has five oral consonants with nasal allophones, /ɺ, l, ʋ, j, w/; in Edo this is reduced to one phonemic nasal, /m/, but eight additional consonants with nasal allophones, /p, b, t, d, k, ɡ, kp, ɡb/; and in Ukue there are no indisputably phonemic nasals and only two consonants with nasal allophones, /l, β/.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Edoid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989. Comparative Edoid: Phonology and Lexicon. (Delta Series, 6.) Port-Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.


  • Frank Kügler, Caroline Féry, Ruben Van De Vijver (2009) Variation and Gradience in Phonetics and Phonology
  • Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989a. "Edoid". In Bendor-Samuel (Ed.), The Niger–Congo Languages. Lanham: The United Press of America. 291-304.
  • Elugbe, Ben Ohiọmamhẹ. 1989b. Comparative Edoid: phonology and lexicon. Delta Series No. 6. Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press.
  • Blench, Roger. Delta Edoid wordlists.