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a people living in southeastern Nigeria between the delta of the Niger River and the Nigeria-Cameroon border; small groups also inhabit other areas of the country. They number more than 2 million persons (1970 estimate), including the closely related Anang, Oron, Andoni, Efik, Ekket, and Kwa tribes. The Ibibio language belongs to the Eastern Bantoid language group. The Ibibio worship natural forces and practice ancestor worship. Some profess Christianity. Their primary occupations are farming (yam, cassava, and sweet potato), gathering the fruit of the oil palm, and, in the coastal areas, fishing. Seasonal migratory work is available.


Ismagilova, R. N. Narody Nigerii. Moscow, 1963.



the language of the Ibibio people who inhabit south-eastern Nigeria. It belongs to the Cross River subgroup of the Congo-Kordofanian language family (according to J. Greenberg) or the Eastern Bantoid language group (according to other classifications). There are more than 2 million speakers of Ibibio (1970, estimate). The main dialects include Ibibio, Efik, and Okoiyang.

The language includes bifocal obstruents (for example, the combination [Kp]) and phonologic tones. Relationships conveyed by cases and prepositions in other languages are expressed in Ibibio by word order and by two prepositions, as well as lexically, by verbs. For example, “I will go without you” in the Efik dialect is Nyeka nyunke fi (literally, “I will go—I do not want you”). Words are formed primarily by prefixation. The verb is prefixed in order to convey the person and number of the subject. Aspectual-temporal and modal meanings are also expressed by prefixes and special personal pronouns. A literary language based on the Efik dialect has existed since the 19th century.


Goldie, H. Principles of Efik Grammar. Edinburgh, 1968.
Adams, R. English-Efik and Efik-English Dictionary, 2nd ed. Liver-pool, 1943.