Ideological, Attitudinal and Social Identity Perspectives
Edited By Martin Pütz and Neele Mundt
Gideon Sunday Omachonu - Language endangerment in Northern Nigeria: The case of Igala
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Gideon Sunday Omachonu
Nasarawa State University, Keffi-Nigeria
Language endangerment in Northern Nigeria: The case of Igala
Abstract Language endangerment in Nigeria is no longer a mere strong possibility but a stark reality. Considering the criteria-language development and linguistic description- most languages in Nigeria are endangered. This is so because even the so-called fairly highly documented and/or analysed Nigerian languages cannot compete favourably with well-researched European and Asian languages. Even as it may be observed that language endangerment is generally a common phenomenon in Nigeria, the threat is more in northern Nigeria than any part of the country. Therefore using a descriptive survey and a review of relevant literature, the present study examines language endangerment in Northern Nigeria generally: the degree, the dimensions and the reasons for such endangerment especially the worst-case scenarios. It also investigates language endangerment in Igala as a specific case study also in terms of the degree, the dimensions and the reasons for the endangerment. It assesses language endangerment in northern Nigeria in the light of certain frightening predictions and/or assertions; discusses how realistically the predictions/assertions may apply to the languages in northern Nigeria including Igala and concludes that some of the assertions or predictions might have been bloated unnecessarily. Even at that, the study suggests relevant actions on the part of the owners of the affected languages, the practising linguists particularly those in the region, and the respective governments in order to minimize worst cases of language...
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