Languages in Nigeria are over 500 without putting English which is the country’s lingua franca, into consideration. The speakers of all of these languages have different cultures and traditions that are unique to them. However, what remains similar to them is greeting one another. As part of the greetings, good morning in various languages in Nigeria is important as it is seen as a sign of communication, respect, and as a form of keeping a relationship with people no matter how well or little you know them.
In Nigeria, it is seemingly rude that you fail, especially as a younger person, to greet someone older. Regardless of whether you encounter people belonging to the three major ethnic groups – Hausa, Igbo, or Yoruba, or any minority group, greetings are held in high esteem and good morning is not an exception. It is easy to have people give you attention or even help you in Nigeria when you greet them.
Good morning is usually said in Nigeria languages to ask after one’s health, peace in your sleep, or whether you have started a new day in a good manner. In some languages of the country, some gestures accompany greetings. For example, younger people in the Yoruba ethnic group are expected to prostrate (for males) or kneel (for females) when they greet older people.
How to Say Good Morning in Nigerian Languages
Ụtụtụ ọma (many don’t use this and consider it as transliteration, i.e., a direct translation of English ‘good morning’ to Igbo).
I bọọla chi or ị saala chi/ I tetala? (Has your day started, or have you woken?)
Eh! (literally means yes. It is an acknowledgment that you have started your day or has woken well). In some scenarios, especially when the respondent is an older person, the response may be ‘how are you,’ which translates in Igbo in a variety of ways as the following:
- Kee ka ị mee?
- Kedu ka ị melu?
- Kedu ka ị mere?
The greeter replies with Adị m mma (I am fine), or when referring to the morning, one can say o di mma (it is fine).
Ina kwana? (how did you wake? It may also directly translate to English as to ‘where did you wake/sleep?’)
Others, especially elders, may choose to say an kwana lafiya/lahiya? (Did you sleep well?)
Lafiya lau or lahiya lau (fine or in good health).
Ẹ káàárọ or Kaaro (only when the person you’re greeting is your mate or someone younger). When you say Ẹ káàárọ, you can add ma or sir after the words to show respect to the elderly.
Others may choose to return your greeting with Ẹ káàárọ or káàárọ (Good morning (too)). Nevertheless, one (especially when the respondent is older) may choose to say Báwo ni or Ṣé dáradára ni? (how are you?).
The greeter’s response would be mo wa daada (I am fine).
Omamo Urhioke means good morning. But the Urhobo people often use either of the following to mean good morning, afternoon, and evening. It can also mean thank you.
Literally, the words above mean ‘take my greetings.’ It also directly translates as ‘I am on my knees’ in English.
Vrendo (literally means ‘stand up’ or ‘I accept your greeting’)
U nder vee
U nder nena? (How is your morning going?)
The greeter replies with ‘I am fine’ or ‘I am alright’ (M ngu deedo)
Ere – Ówuró or Erówuró
Ere– Ówuró ra to ósón/ Erówuró tosón (let the morning bring forth good to the afternoon) or Erówuró Omeremi (good morning my person)
Good morning in Fulfulde (Fulani language) is said in two different ways depending on whether it is early morning or late.
5 am-11 am: Jam waali? (Did you pass the night in peace?)
11 am-2 pm: Jam weeti? (can also be used as good afternoon from 12 pm to 2 pm).
Response to all of the greetings in Fulfulde is Jam tan or Jam ni (peace only). Even if you had a rough night, it is considered rude not to say ‘peace only.’
The greeter may decide to ask other questions to know if the other aspects of your life are good or peaceful. Response expected from the respondent is still Jam tan or Jam ni (peaceful). Below is a common example of ‘good morning’ in Fulfulde and its response.
- Jam waali? (Did you pass the night in peace?)
- Jam tan
- Jam wuro waali? (Did your household pass the night in peace?)
- Jam ni
- A δaaneke? (Did you sleep?)
- Jam tan
Efik and Ibibio
Ibibio and Efik are two different dialects found in Cross River and Akwa Ibom State. The languages are often mistaken for the same. Even though they are independent of one another, good morning is the same in the dialects.
Good morning in Efik and Ibibiochange its form when said to one person and a group of people.
To one person: Amesiere
To two or more people: Emesiere
To one person: Amesiere nde – o (good morning too)
To one or more people: Emesiere nde – o
Edo language has different ways of saying ‘good morning’ depending on one’s lineage. Also, different age grades and dialects of the language have various ways you can greet in the morning. However, below is a more popular way to say good morning in Edo.
Ób’ówie or Ndâ wadu?
Olodudu or Oduduwa (how is the morning?)
The greeter’s response should be Odudu Cholafia (Morning is fine).
The respondent might reply with good morning (Nma Ochi) or A gbe hii? or A ba ho le? (how are you?)
The greeter replies Mgbe hii (I am fine or I am alright). Some dialects of the Idoma respond with obo bim or obobino (I am fine).
No kso bugu? (literally means ‘Have you woken?) or No kso pyan pyan?
Hwo a Pɔl tyang a or a Pɔl tyang (How did you sleep? or did you sleep well?)
The reply is the same as the greeting (Ibaate). Extending the response, one can add, ‘how are you?’ (Tobra?). The response to this should be Ibim or Ibiwirere (I am good/fine).
O nyim a
O nyimelong or O nyim a
To one person: Jaa bee ɔdɔ jaa? (How are you?)
To more than a person: Jaa bee ɔdɔi jaa?
Reply to the above is Nɔ akaa (to a person) or re dɔ akaa (more than one person).
Aasan (by a man)
Doajie (said by a woman)
Bọ dia yẹ? (How are you? said to one person) The reply to this is Mefure or Ọfure (fine).
Bha bọ dia ye?̣ (more than one person)
Ndâ wadu? (literally means how’s the morning?)
Wadu kəlewa (the morning is good)
The Ebira language has several dialects. These dialects may have different ways of greeting. However, here’s a more general way of saying good morning.
Ngas is divided into the dialects of Hill and Plain Ngas. Although there are different ways to say good morning in both dialects, here is how the Plain Ngas’ (documents of the language are often written in this dialect) say it.
Yala? (have you woken?). But, this is often said in a more general context. There are different ways to say ‘good morning’ in Ngas. It is said differently to a male, female, and a group of people.
To a male: A yala?
To a female: I yala?
To more than one person: Wu yala?
Yal ‘nyet (I woke up well). This can be said irrespective of gender.
A kpũnãndo or Annã a kpũnã?
Wa pi ar nga? (How did you sleep? Said to one person)
Wa pi giri? (To a group).