How Many Languages are Spoken in Nigeria?

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Humans are made up of complex factors. There is no one you can declare to be good or bad based on a thing they do because all of us are a lot more than one of our habits or actions. But even after considering all the factors a person is made up of, it is difficult to label them. We can’t ever know for sure if someone is a good person or a bad person. The question gets even more complex when we start wondering about people in regards to success. Whether success is measured by financial stability or interpersonal relationships.

Although, the answer may seem simple to many who think that both financial stability and good interpersonal relationship means that a person is leading a successful life. But the world has more than seven billion people and not all of them agree with this philosophy. Some think that financial stability is everything. They go as far as to say that it is okay to sacrifice personal relationships in order to achieve financial success. Others might say that relationships matter the most in life and without them, money will have no worth. They think that a person should always choose relationships over money.

The debate about this can go on forever. However, one point of view is that maybe success is different for everyone. For some, money is what success means and for others, good a relationship with loved ones is the only thing that matters. When it comes to countries, they cannot define success however they want. A successful state will be the one that does not only have economic stability but also provides good living conditions for its citizens. The presence of one without the other will only translate to the failure of the state to run itself properly.

Although life is pretty difficult for humans too, states don’t become successful easily. It is not easy for countries to balance all the factors. Most of the countries that got independence in 19th and 20th centuries had to go through many difficulties during their first few decades. As a result, becoming economically stable or providing good living conditions for their citizens was not an easy thing to do. However, some of them turned things around and managed to give their economy a boost by implementing various laws and putting in hard work. But despite changing their luck on the economic front, these states failed to provide a happy and healthy lifestyle to their citizens. There are various countries in the world that have been declared by various finance analysts to be on their way to economic success but they still rank pretty low on the Human Development Index. Nigeria is one such country.



One of the world’s most populous countries houses people of various ethnic groups. It is considered the most powerful country in terms of economic stability in Africa. However, its 152nd rank on the Human Development Index is a cause of concern. One can hope that with more financial success, the living standards will improve too and that will eventually make the lives of the Nigerians a lot easier.

The differences between the population are not only restricted to ethnicity. There are also religious differences. Muslims and Christians make up 90% of the country’s population. The rest follows native religions. In such a diverse population, it can get difficult for people to feel united.

How Many Languages are Spoken in Nigeria?


The diversity of ethnic groups can be realized from the fact that 521 languages were spoken in Nigeria at one point. Nine out of 521 have gone extinct, but the rest are still in use. There are ethnic groups that speak more than one different language. The indigenous languages are the biggest form of communication among the majority of the rural population.

In order to bring the people together and unite them, the official language was chosen to be English. Although majority of the population speaks native tongues, English works as the means of communication when two people of different tongues have to talk to each other. It is also the language used in offices to avoid any confusion for the citizens who come from different regions of the country speaking various tongues. The Nigerian English has been influenced by local tongues and also French. The latter is spoken in the neighboring countries which has inspired Nigerians to learn it too. Some of them have gotten fluent enough in French to work in a French speaking environment.

It is interesting to note that English is used in schools in Nigeria and also for business transactions. This saves people the trouble of learning multiple languages or getting translations for businesses. However, as a first language, only a small number of Nigerians speak it. They are the country’s urban elite. In most of the rural areas, English is not spoken at all. One version of English spoken is loosely known as the Broken English. It is the local version of the language which has plenty of words of the regional tongues in its vocabulary. It is the lingua franca for the majority of the people of rural areas. However, the tone and vocabulary of this version varies from region to region. This is why only the Standard English is recognized by the state to avoid confusions of any kind. Children are also taught the standard version to keep them up-to-date with the English spoken all over the world.

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