Differences Between Yoruba Vs Igbo

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

There are many differences between Yoruba and Igbo languages, but the most important distinction is that Yoruba uses a lot of vowel sounds while Igbo does not. For example, “Igbo” means “to eat”, while “Ogbun” means the same thing in Yoruba. The main difference between these two languages is that Yoruba relies heavily on vowels to create meaning whereas Igbo does not. This can be seen by looking at words like igbu (eat) vs album (carry).

The Yoruba and Igbo people are two of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, where they live side by side. Yet these two groups have a very different language that is spoken by each group. While both languages share similar tones, some key differences between them make it difficult for one to understand the other without learning how to speak it.

Igbo people and Yoruba people are two ethnic groups in Nigeria that have a lot of differences. One such difference is the dialects they speak. Igbo was originally an oral language until missionaries came to Africa to teach it how to read and write their language, while Yoruba has been written for centuries. Another difference between these languages is the fact that Igbo has more than 20 million speakers while Yoruba only has 4 million speakers worldwide (The Washington Post). This blog post will focus on what sets these two cultures apart and why there may be some conflict between them.

Comparison between Yoruba and Igbo

Parameters of ComparisonYorubaIgbo
Tonal languageTonal languageIs not
Subject-verb –objectBoth have a subject-verb objectHave a subject-verb-object
ConsonantsHave more consonantsHave consonants
RegionYorubas are predominantly found in Western NigeriaIgbos are mainly located in Eastern Nigeria
Writing systemHave own  writing systemHave own writing system

What is Yoruba?

The Yoruba people are an ethnic group that predominantly inhabit southwestern Nigeria. Yoruba is a linguistic group with a unique and complex grammar system. While there is no one, true way to define Yoruba, it can generally be described as featuring a mixture of African, European, and Arabic elements. Due to its wide usage in Nigeria – where it is the most commonly spoken language – Yoruba has also become an important lingua franca on the continent. Despite being widely used, however, there remains much confusion over what exactly constitutes Yoruba culture and identity.

Yoruba is an ethnic group in West Africa with a population of about 20 million. They are the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, where they make up about one-third of the population. Yoruba people have a rich culture that is celebrated through music, dance, and art. Their language, Yoruba, is also spoken by millions of people around the world. Learn more about this fascinating person and their culture in today’s blog post.

Differences Between Yoruba Vs Igbo

What is Igbo?

Igbo is a Western African language spoken mainly in Nigeria. It is one of the three major languages in Nigeria, with Hausa and Yoruba being the other two. Igbo has an estimated 23 million speakers worldwide, but it’s not just a Nigerian language; Igbo people are living all over Africa, Europe, and America today. The word “Igbo” means “family.” Igbos have their own cultures that are different from other ethnicities in Nigeria because they keep many traditions alive which were lost during colonization. This blog post will explore what Igbo means to its speakers by exploring some of these cultural practices that are still practiced today. 

Igbo is one of the many languages spoken in Nigeria. It is a tonal language, which means that the meaning of a word can change depending on how it is pronounced. Igbo has two tones: high and low. There are also three dialects of Igbo: Enugu, Ikwerre, and Aba. Although they share some similarities, each dialect has its unique features. Igbo is an important part of Nigerian culture, and it is used in many different contexts, such as religious ceremonies, traditional medicine, and storytelling. There are also several speakers of Igbo outside Nigeria, including in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Differences Between Yoruba Vs Igbo

10 Differences Between Yoruba and Igbo

1. Yoruba people are more open to foreigners than Igbo.

2. The Yoruba language is spoken by about 20 million people, while the Igbo language is spoken by about 24 million people.

3. There are over 40 dialects of the Yoruba language, but only 4 in Igbo.

4. In ancient times, the Igbos were known for their blacksmithing skills and metalwork; they would make weapons and tools for other tribes in exchange for food or goods.

5. Historically, both groups lived in harmony because there was mutual respect between them; however, after colonization, things changed drastically because of Westernization and Christianity.

6. One difference that sets these two tribes apart is religion – most Yorubas believe in Christianity while most Igbos follow traditional African religions like Obeah or Ifa (the Yorubas who follow traditional African religions practice it secretly).

7. Yoruba is a Niger-Congo language, while Igbo is an Igbo language.

8. The Yoruba have a high level of cultural and linguistic diversity, while the Igbo are more centralized in Nigeria.

9. In general, the Yoruba tend to be polytheistic or pantheistic with a culture that’s rich in oral tradition, whereas the Igbo are monotheistic with a written history.

10. There are many differences between their languages – for example, Yoruba has tones and consonant clusters that don’t exist in other Nigerian languages.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Yoruba

1. The Yoruba language is the most spoken African Language.

2. There are more than 20 million speakers of Yoruba.

3. It’s one of the two official languages in Nigeria.

4. The other Nigerian Official Language is English.

5. There are over 250 ethnic groups that speak Yoruba. 

6. The name “Yorubaland” was given to Western Nigeria by British colonialists who were trying to make a distinction between Nigerians and those from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Igbo

1. Igbo is the most populous language in Nigeria.

2. The word “Igbo” means “the people”.

3. There are over 20 million Igbo speakers worldwide.

4. In the past, it was common for an Igboman to have many wives or husbands at once.

5. Igbo has a rich oral tradition of storytelling and myth-telling that is passed down from generation to generation orally.

6. It’s estimated that there are over 200 different dialects of Igbo.


The Yoruba and Igbo languages are both Niger-Congo language groupings, but they differ in many ways. For example, the Yoruba alphabet has 21 letters while Igbo is written with 32 letters. Both groups use a consonant cluster to form words (for example “g” followed by “l”). However, unlike Igbo which uses single vowels for each syllable or letter grouping of sounds that make up one word; Yoruba will often have two or three vowel symbols per sound/syllable making it more difficult to learn than its counterpart. They also share some grammatical features like having an inclusive vs exclusive first-person pronoun distinction as well as third-person pronouns distinguishing gender distinctions based on sex rather than a number. However, overall Yoruba is more open to foreigners than Igbo, there are more dialects of Yoruba spoken than Igbo.


Resource 01: https://www.everyculture.com/wc/Mauritania-to-Nigeria/Yoruba.html
Resource 02: https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/igbo

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