Nigeria is an extremely ethnically diverse country where over 200 million people speak one or more of 525 languages. English is the official language of Nigeria, but local languages, especially Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, are spoken not only in Nigeria, but also in other countries of the world. Here is where you can hear Nigerian languages outside of Nigeria.
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1. Hausa language
Until recently, it was estimated that around 47 million people spoke Hausa as the first language and approximately 25 million people spoke Hausa as a second language, bringing the total of Hausa speakers in the world to 72 million. However, according to a 2018 research, the overall number of people speaking Hausa both as the first and second language is estimated between 100 and 150 million people, making it the 11th most widely spoken language on the planet.
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The three countries where Hausa is spoken most commonly include Nigeria, Chad, and Niger. Smaller quantities of Hausa speakers can be found in other West African countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, and Togo, as well as Sudan. Due to relatively big Nigerian diasporas, Hausa can also be heard in the Central African Republic, as well as the UK, where it is spoken by Muslim scholars.
2. Yoruba language
Yoruba is a native Nigerian language that is particularly common in the South Western part of the country. Most sources estimate the number of Yoruba speakers to be between 45 and 55 million, which includes both first- and second-language speakers. Yoruba may not be the most commonly spoken Nigerian language both in Nigeria and around the world, but it a wider distribution than any other native Nigerian language.
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Outside of Nigeria, Yoruba is primarily spoken in Benin. Other parts of Africa where Yoruba is spoken include Liberia, Sierra Leone, as well as several other states in West Africa. Yoruba can be also heard in Nigerian diasporas in the US and Europe, while parts of the Yoruba language and even individual words are used in a religious context in the Caribbean countries and numerous Afro-American and Afro-Brazilian religions in the western part of the world.
3. Igbo language
Approximately 45 million people in the world speak Igbo, which includes both those who consider Igbo to be their primary language and those who speak Igbo as a second language. The current version of Igbo that we know is one of the youngest languages in Nigeria, being officially formed only in 1972. Igbo is also the language with an impressive number of dialects: over 20 varieties of Igbo language are spoken on the planet.
Outside of Nigeria, Igbo can be most often heard in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Smaller communities of Igbo speakers live in the Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago. The United States also has a sizeable population of Igbo speakers due to the years of the slave trade that spread the native Nigerian Igbo language in the western part of the world.
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