1.  Classification / Classification

Nupe belongs to the Nupe-Gware subbranch of Kwa. (Webbook)

Ethnologue lists the classification as: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Nupoid, Nupe-Gbagyi, Nupe

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

It is presently spoken in the states of Kwara, Niger, Benue, part of the Plateau states, and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. (Webbook)

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

According to Ethnologue:

  • Nupe-Nupe-Tako
    • 800,000 (1990)
    • 200,000 second-language speakers (1999 WA)
  • Asu
    • 5,000 (1998 Blench)
  • Kupa
    • 20,000 (1998 Blench)
  • Gupa-Abawa, Kakanda, and Kami (see below, 4): several thousand speakers total
  • Dibo (see below, 4): 100,000 (1992 Crozier and Blench).

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

Smith (1969) and Voegelin and Voegelin (1977) cite five dialect sets in Nupe: Nupe Proper, Ebe, Dibo (Zitako), Kupa, and Bassa-nge or Basa-nge. Bokani reports that the dialect situation is more complicated as a result of the rise and fall of the Nupe kingdom. No information is available as to the degree of mutual intelligibility, however. (Webbook)

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Nupe-Nupe-Tako
    • Nupe Central (Nife, Anupe, Nupecizi, Nupencizi, Ampeyi, Anupecwayi, Anuperi, Tapa, Tappah, Takpa)
    • Nupe Tako (Bassa Nge)
  • Asu (Abewa, Ebe)
  • Three other listings under the same classification as Nupe: Gupa-Abawa, Kakanda, Kami. Not clear on relationship.
  • Dibo (Zitako) is classified under "..., Nupe-Gbagyi" not "..., Nupe-Gbagyi, Nupe"

5.  Usage / Utilisation

Nupe is a local language. Bokani reports "it is officially used in broadcasting news over radio and television in Niger and Kwara States." (Webbook)

Notes from Ethnologue:

  • Nupe-Nupe-Tako
    • Trade language.
    • A regionally important language.
    • Nupe Central has become the literary norm. ...
    • Literacy rate (according to Ethnologue):
      • L1: ?
      • L2: 60%
  • Asu
    • Vigorous. Speakers also use Nupe. ... Vocabulary has been heavily influenced by Nupe in recent years (Blench 1991).

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

There is an approved (Latin-based) orthography put out by the Ministry of Education in Minna following the efforts of the 1953 UNESCO conference in Zaria and the Nigerian 1977 new National Policy on Education. (Webbook with modification) [details? it is not clear whether this uses extended characters - sources in 6.2 differ]

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Alphabet as reported by Hartell (1993) and presented in Systèmes alphabétiques:

A sample text is shown on the "Language Museum" site:

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

No localisation efforts known.

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue


  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2:
  • ISO 639-3: nup


  • ISO 639-3: aum


  • ISO 639-3: kug

7.6  Other / Autre

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  Comments / Remarques

Need more clarity on what dialects should be included under this heading and their relationship to Central Nupe. In any event, Central Nupe would be the obvious first choice for any kind of localisation.

Also need more info on the orthography.

10.  References / Références

Chanard, Christian (2006), Systèmes alphabétiques des langues africaines, LLACAN, CNRS,

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Nupe," )

Hartell, Rhonda L., ed. (1993), The Alphabets of Africa. Dakar: UNESCO and SIL. (The French edition, published the same year, is entitled Alphabets de Langues Africaines).

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Asu,"

______, "Kupa,"

______, "Nupe-Nupe-Tako,"

______, (Language Family Trees: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, Benue-Congo, Nupoid, Nupe-Gbagyi)

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Nupe language,"

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