|Region||Niger State, Kwara State, Kogi State, Federal Capital Territory|
|(800,000 cited 1990)|
L2 speakers: 200,000 (1999)
|Latin, Arabic (in the past)|
Nupe (also known as Anufe, Nupenci, Nyffe, Takpa) is a Volta–Niger language of the Nupoid branch primarily spoken by the Nupe people of the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. Its geographical distribution is limited to the west-central portion of this region, and it maintains pre-eminence in Niger State. as well as Kwara, and Kogi, FCT.
Nupe is the language spoken by the Nupe people, who reside mainly in Niger State in Nigeria, occupying a lowland of about 6,950 square miles (18,000 square kilometers) in the Niger Basin, mostly north of the river between the Kontagora and Guara confluents from Kainji to below Baro, and also Kwara State, Kogi State and FCT Abuja.
Nupe is spoken mainly in Bida, Niger State and surrounding areas. It is also spoken in villages on the Benue River near Ibi and east of Lafia. Nupe has assimilated earlier ethnolinguistic groups such as the Benu of Kutigi (originally Kanuri-speaking), and the Gbagye at Lemu.
Nupe Tako (meaning ‘The Nupe Below’; also known as Bassa-Nge or Ibara) is lexically most closely related to central Nupe.
Linguistic evidence suggests that the Nupe language belongs to the branch Nupoid of the Benue-Congo group of languages. Other languages in the group are Igbira (Ebira), Gbagyi (Gbari), Gade, and Kakanda. Nupe is related most closely to Gbari and Kakanda in structure and vocabulary. There are at least two markedly different dialects: Nupe central and Nupe Tako.
Nupe has 5 vowels: /a, e, i, o, u/. /a, i, u/ have nasalized forms.
|Affricate||voiceless||ts /t͡s/||c /t͡ʃ/|
|voiced||dz /d͡z/||j /d͡ʒ/|
|High tone||(´) acute|
|Low tone||(`) grave|
|Falling tone||(ˆ) circumflex or (ˇ) caron|
|Rising tone||(ˇ) caron or (ˆ) circumflex|
Eganmagan (proverb, plural eganmaganzhi) are wise sayings spoken among the Nupes. They are didactic proverbs which educate, entertain, and teach morality. They form part of the oral culture on norms and ethics of Nupe societies, and are passed from one generation to another through songs, stories, fables, folk tales, myths, legends, incantations, communal discussions, and worship.
Similar to other African proverbs, Nupe proverbs associate or relate people's action to their immediate environment in order to explain or correct particular situations, norms, issues, or problems. They also enlighten, warn and advise, or teach language in order to change perception which is believed to become reality.