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Yoruboid is a 'megagroup' of 14 related dialect/language clades, composed of the Igala group, of related dialects spoken in central Nigeria, and the Edekiri group, the members of which are spoken in a band across Togo, Ghana, Benin and southwestern Nigeria.

Yoruboid
Geographic
distribution
Central Togo, Southern and Central Benin, Western, Southern and Central Nigeria
Linguistic classificationNiger–Congo
Subdivisions
Glottologyoru1244[1]

Contents

NameEdit

The name Yoruboid derives from its most widely spoken member, Yoruba, which has more than 35 million speakers. Another well-known Yoruboid language is Itsekiri (Nigeria, 600,000–800,000 speakers). The Yoruboid group is a branch of Defoid, which is combined using "Ede" (meaning 'language' in most languages within the grouping) and -"foid". The Defoid group itself is a branch of the Benue–Congo subfamily of the Niger–Congo language family.

All Yoruboid languages are tonal, with most of them having three level tones. Grammatically, they are isolating with a subject–object–verb basic word order.

LanguagesEdit

Igala is a key Yoruboid language, spoken by 1.8 million people in the Niger-Benue confluence of central Nigeria; it is excised from the main body of Yoruboid languages to the west by Ebirra and the Edo languages. Igala is closely related to both Yoruba and Itsekiri languages.

The Itsekiris are a riverine Yoruboid people who live in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. They maintain a distinct identity separate from other Yoruboid people but speak a very closely related language. Their neighbouring languages are the Urhobo the Edo, the Ijo, and the Mahin / Ilaje, a Yoruba dialect spoken in neighbouring Ondo State.

SubdivisionsEdit

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Yoruba
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Igala
 
 
 
Edekiri
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ede (Yoruba Proper)*
 
 
 
 
 
Itsekiri*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Western Ede
 
Mokole
 
Eastern Ede
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
N. Nago & Kura
 
 
 
 
 
Southwestern Ede
 
Ede Shabe
 
Southeastern Ede
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Isha & Manigri
 
Ede Idaasha
 
Ana-Ife
 
Nuclear Yoruba
 
Ede Ije, South Nago
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yoruba - Lucumi
 
Olukumi*
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NWY & SWY
 
Central Yoruba
 
NEY & SEY
 


  • All dialects in the Ede cluster share between 85-95% lexical similarity and are thus all mutually intelligible without needing different specialized literature to achieve universal understanding.
  • Itsekiri is actually most closely related to SEY (South-Eastern Yoruba), and is a divergent branch thereof, but has a different standard writing orthography.
  • Some standards classify Olukumi as separate variant of Nuclear Yoruba, Others as a dialect of SEY.

Names and locationsEdit

Below is a list of selected Yoruboid language names, populations, and locations from Blench (2019).[2]


Language Dialects Alternate spellings Own name for language Endonym(s) Other names (location-based) Other names for language Exonym(s) Speakers Location(s)
Ulukwumi Unukwumi Fewer than 10,000 Delta State, Aniocha and Oshimili LGAs
Igala Ánkpa and Ògùgù in Ankpa LGA; Ìfè in Ankpa and Dekina LGAs; Ànyìgbá in Dekina LGA; ‘Idáh and Ìbàjì in Idah and Anambra(?) LGAs; and Èbú in Oshimili LGA Igara 295,000 (1952), 800,000 (1987 UBS) Benue State, Ankpa, Dekina, Idah and Bassa LGAs; Edo State, Oshimili LGA; Anambra State, Anambra LGA
Iṣẹkiri Itsekiri, Ishekiri, Shekiri, Chekiri, Jekri, Izekíri, Tshekeri, Dsekiri Iwere, Irhobo, Warri Iselema–Otu (Ịjọ name for Warri/Itsekiri people), Selemo 33,000 (1952); over 100,000 (1963 Omamor); 500,000 (1987 UBS) Delta State, Warri, Bomadi and Ethiope LGAs
Yoruba Many dialects Yorouba, Yariba (Cust) Yorùbá Yorùbá Aku, Akusa, Eyagi, Nago 5,100,000 (1952), 15,000,000 (UBS 1984) Most of Kwara, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo States; western LGAs in Kogi State; and into Benin Republic and Togo. Yoruba is spoken as a ritual language in Cuba and Brazil

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Yoruboid". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Blench, Roger (2019). An Atlas of Nigerian Languages (4th ed.). Cambridge: Kay Williamson Educational Foundation.