How To Say ‘How Are You?’ In Various Nigerian Languages

With over 180 million people, Nigeria is the most populated black nation on earth. It is home to over 300 ethnic groups who are generally warm, friendly, and accommodating. There are, however, three major ethnic groups in the country; Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa. These three ethnic groups make up 70% of Nigeria’s overall population. From all of these different ethnic groups, over 500 distinct languages are spoken by the people, making it one of the most ethnically diverse nations in the world.

Due to the communal nature of the people, one of the most asked questions during informal interpersonal communication is how are you (how you dey in Nigerian Pidgin English, popularly called Broken English). More than three-quarters of Nigeria’s population can converse in pidgin since it helps Nigerians across ethnic groups interact with each other.

However, If you want to learn how to ask about the well-being of a Nigerian in their native language, we have curated an extensive list of ways of how to say “how are you” in different Nigerian languages of interest.

How To Say “How Are You” In Various Nigerian Languages

As we previously mentioned, the Nigerian Pidgin English phrase for “How Are You” is How you dey? and the response is usually I dey ok, which means, I am fine/alright. Below are other ways to say How Are You in different Nigerian languages

Kedu? (Igbo)

In the Igbo language, which is one of the major languages spoken in Nigeria, by over 40 million people, Kedu is the word for “How Are You”, and the response is Odimma or Adim Mma. Sometimes, people may also ask Kedu ka Ime? This directly translates to “How Are You Doing” and the response is usually the same.

Bawo Ni? (Yoruba)

The Yoruba language is the second one of the three major languages spoken in Nigeria, with over 40 million speakers. Bawo Ni, is the phrase for “How Are You” and the response can either be Mowa Dada, A Dupe, or O Se/E Se. 

Yaya? (Hausa)

Hausa is the third of the major languages spoken in Nigeria. The population of Hausa speakers in the country is close to 50 million. Yaya is how to say “How Are You” in the Hausa language. It can also be said as Yaya ki ke (to a female) and Yaya ya ke (to a male). The usual response is Lafiya or Kalau or Lafiya Kalau.

Eve who rro? (Isoko)

Isoko is a language spoken by the Isoko people found in Delta State of Southern Nigeria. The Isoko people are one of the dominant ethnic groups in Delta State. Eve who rro is how to say “How Are You” and the usual response is Me rie or Me sasa.

Noy? or Jam Na? (Fulfulde)

Fulfulde is the language spoken by the Fulani people. Although found in various parts of West Africa, the Fulani people are also very much domiciled as an ethnic group in Nigeria, with millions of native speakers. “How Are You” in Nigerian Fulfulde is Noy or Jam Na and the usual response is Jam.

Mavo? (Urhobo)

The Urhobo people are another of the dominant ethnic groups in Delta State, Nigeria. The Urhobo language is spoken by the Urhobo people. “How Are You” in the language is Mavo and the usual response is Oyoma.

Idem Fo? (Efik)

The Efik people, also referred to as Calabar people, are an ethnic group found in Cross River State in Southern Nigeria. “How Are You” in Efik is Idem fo or Abadie, and the usual response is Asong or Idioke.

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Idem e? (Ibibio)

The Ibibio people are also a dominant ethnic group in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States of Southern Nigeria. The Ibibio and Efik languages share a linguistic similarity. To ask a person “How Are You” in Ibibio, you say Idem e or Abadie and the response you get is Asong or Idioko.

Bodiaye? (Esan)

The Esan people are a major ethnic group in Edo State of Southern Nigeria. In Esan language, Bodiaye or Onegbe is “How Are You”, and the response is Ofure or Odianosen.

Woye? (Bini)

The Bini language is spoken by the Benin people who are another dominant ethnic group in Edo State, Southern Nigeria. In Bini, Woye is how to say “How Are You” and the usual response is Oyese.

Abayiole/Abole? (Idoma)

The Idoma language is spoken by the Idoma people who are a dominant ethnic group in Benue State, North Central Nigeria. Idoma people are also found in some parts of Kogi State, Enugu State, and Nassarawa State. In Idoma, “How Are You” is Abole/Abayiole and the usual response is Obobino.

Aile? (Igala)

The Igala people speak the Igala language and they are a dominant ethnic group in Kogi State, North Central Nigeria. Igala people can also be found in some parts of Benue, Anambra, Edo, and Delta State. How to say “How Are You” is Aile or Abuele and the usual response is Lafiya.

Nda Nyi? (Kanuri)

The Kanuri people are of the Kanem Bornu Empire, found in Borno State, Nigeria. These people are also found in some parts of Niger, Chad, Libya, Cameroon, and Sudan. They are, however, known as a very dominant ethnic group in Borno State, Northeastern Nigeria. Nda Nyi or Nda Nai is “How Are You” in Kanuri and the usual response is Klewa.

Ya ye da? (Bachama)

The Bachama people are found in Adamawa State. They are one of the various ethnic groups in Adamawa State, Northwestern Nigeria. Ya ye da is “How Are You” in the Bachama language and the usual response of Jam.

Bokor? (Itsekiri)

The Itsekiri people are also found in Delta State, Nigeria. To say “How Are You” in Itsekiri is Bokor? and the usual response is Mowinnar.

Ya’a an shiea? (Tyap/Atyap)

The Atyap or Tyap language is spoken by the Kataf people that are found in the Southern parts of Kaduna State, Nigeria. “How Are You” is Ya’a an shiea (or Ya’a nwan for someone you are older than) in Atyap and the usual response is N shiea kankarang.

Nanere? (Ika)

Ika is an Igboid language spoken by the Ika people found in Delta state. They speak a variation of the Igbo language but identify themselves as an ethnic group. In Ika, asking how a person is fairing is Nanere or Naniri and the usual response is Ohuma.

Tobra? (Ijaw)

The Ijaw people are a riverine ethnic group that is found in Bayelsa State, Rivers State, Edo State, Delta State, and Ondo State; all in southern Nigeria. They are, however, the dominant ethnic group in Bayelsa State. Tobra is the word for “How Are You” and the usual response is Ibim or Ibiwa ri.

Kewo no? (Nupe)

The Nupe people are a dominant ethnic group in Niger State, Northern Nigeria. They are also found in Kwara State, Kogi State, and Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. To ask how a person is in Nupe, you say Kewo No and the usual response is Imjebo.

Wadahi? (Ebira)

The Ebira language is spoken by the Ebira people who are a dominant ethnic group in Kogi State in North Central Nigeria. Wadahi is the word for “How Are You” and the usual response is Madahi.

Npan de nena? (Tiv)

The Tiv people are a dominant tribe in Benue state who speak the Tiv language. To say “How Are You” is npan de nena or u ngu nena and the usual response is Kwagh Yega.

Aha mee? (Igede)

The Igede people are an ethnic group found in Benue state and also some parts of Enugu State. Ahamee is “How Are You” and the response is mm ha wee.

Ada
Ada is a Writer, professional actor for stage and film, TV/Radio host and a Mental Health Counselor.
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