Nupe Influence and Linguistic Variation in Igbominaland

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Published by the Department of History and International Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin


This paper seeks to examine the influence of Nupe imperialism on the linguistic variation in Igbominaland. For a proper underpinning of the discourse, a brief aspect of the physical and human geography of the Igbomina and Nupe as well as the variation in the imperial experiences of the different Igbomina groups under different overlords are deemed necessary. The study adopts a historic-structural and systematic approach and made use of primary and secondary sources of literature relevant to the issues in contention. Findings, in this study, reveal aspects of Nupe linguistic influence on Igbomina, which includes, among others, language borrowings and dialectic variation. Extant researches create links between words such as Nupe's Soko and the Yoruba deity—Sàngo. Eégún (or Egungún) from gugu, Elu—elo; Ìgunnu, from gunu, as well as titles such as Shaba, Benu, Nakoju, Kpotun, Makun, Olupoun, and Lapene, the related form of Alapinni, are also among examples of linguistic borrowings from Nupe into the Igbomina and Yoruba lexicon. It considers the dialectic classification of Igbomina and also suggests probable factors responsible for the dialectic variation among the Igbomina, said to be progenies of a common progenitor. This includes a rather hypothetical explanation, which claims that the water man drinks affects his tongue. The paper concludes that in spite of being of the same linguistic stock, the Yoruba evidently have various dialectic variations of which the Igbomina can be distinguished. Yet even among the Igbomina may be distinguished the ‘Mo san’, 'Mo han' and ‘Mo ye’ sub-dialectic groupings who were balkanised along historical imperial divides by the Ilorin, Ibadan and Nupe respectively. The paper therefore recommends that, while the hypothetical conundrum posed in this paper might appear rather unscientific on a cursory outlook, it might, at least, provide a working hypothesis for interested researchers in that area.



Igbomina, Nupe Influence, linguistic variation


Aboyeji, A. J. (2017): Nupe Influence and Linguistic Variation in Igbominaland. Ilorin Journal of History and International Studies Vol. 7. No.1, 92-108, Published by the Department of History and International Studies, University of Ilorin, Ilorin. Available online at: