Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Worried by the growing case of extinction of Nigerian languages, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) Centre is to partner with Federal Government to save indigenous languages.
The Director of Centre for Eco Linguistics and Environmental Communication, UNN, Dr David Wayas, made this known in a chat with Daily Sun in Nsukka on Monday.
He said that the centre is working assiduously towards making sure that Nigerian languages are saved from going into extinction.
According to him, “the centre has not lost sight of the fact that Nigerian indigenous languages are going into extinction. This to say the least is a bad phenomenon. The centre is not folding its hands and watch this ugly trend continue. One of the causes of this ugly situation is the environment. We are living in a globalised environment.”
Explaining, Dr Wayas, who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Linguistics, UNN said: “Every parent will be happy to see that their children are speaking your indigenous language. If you go to the North, most of them have abandoned their indigenous languages. If you ask them they will tell you that they are Hausa but they are not Hausa tribe. They don’t know their language again.”
Stressing further he said, “you will have people who are called Igbos and if they don’t speak Igbo for three years, they will start to lose the lexicon of the language. This is a very serious issue in our society. If you don’t tackle it, you risk losing the language. This is what the centre is out to prevent by carrying out the programs.”
Asked how the campaign will be spread to other states and institutions, Dr Wayas said that “the centre has launched the campaign in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. We have so many international organisations that are indicating interest to join in the fight against the ugly trend. Again relevant government ministries are also interested to partner with the centre to stem this tide. So, in the nearest, we are going to launch the campaign at Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU) and indeed other universities to make sure that the message gets to the right people.”
Dr Wayas, however, stated that “you know we are talking about Global Warming. How does this message get to the people in the rural areas in the language that they will understand? It is by restoring our language that will make them understand what is going on. It is a tall project but we must have to do it because we will not allow our language to go extinct.”