Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Fulani leaders living in the South-West have launched books which they believe would help preserve the Fulfulde language.
The Sarkin Fulani of Lagos State and Chairman, Association of Fulani Chiefs, South-West, Mohammed Bambado, said on Sunday during the public presentation of the Fulfulde Century Educational Books in Lagos, that the Fulfulde language is gradually going into extinction.
He said: ‘There are over 6000 languages spoken in the world today but many are at the risk of becoming extinct and forgotten. It is estimated that if any language could be wiped off the map by the end of this century. While some languages that are considered endangered have become confined to single villages and still others to single people.
‘Fulfulde is a language spoken by the Fulani, who are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely spread across the region to the far reaches of Central Africa and regions near the Red Sea coast.
‘We may not have the accurate on the number of people that speaks Fulfulde regularly as a first language or official language, but we should not be surprised that like other languages, Fulfulde too is also endangered and under real threat. This is not cheering news. A language is at risk of being lost when it is no longer taught to younger generations, while fluent speakers of the language, usually the elderly, die.’
Speaking on ways to preserve the Fulfulde language, the Fulani leader said: ‘It is important to not that when a language dies, the knowledge of and ability to understand the culture who spoke it is threatened because the teachings, customs, oral traditions and other inherited knowledge are no longer transmitted among native speakers. Preservation, which can be achieved through written books made available to younger generations, which could encourage them to learn, read and speak the language as well. This circle of learning not only keeps aglow the torch of knowledge about native literature and linguistics but also help in lighting the way into the future.’