LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT AND REVITALIZATION: OROKAM DIALECTAL SITUATION

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ABSTRACT

At present, there is a renewed interest in the fate of endangered or dying languages. The death of any language or dialect means the extinction of such cultural heritage, and to some extent, the loss of a people. As the Orokam people increasingly abandon the use of their indigenous dialect in almost all domains of life, including the home, this study seeks to show that Orokam, a dialect spoken among the Orokam people in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the Idoma kingdom in Benue State is at the verge of endangerment or extinction. So, this work seeks to know the extent to which the Orokam dialect has been endangered; factors responsible for the relegation of the dialect as well as measures on how the dialect can be revitalized and preserved for posterity. The purpose of the study is to determine the core dialect of Orokam as well as to suggest ways to which the dialect could be saved from extinction. Questionnaires and oral interviews were used for the collection of data. At the end of the research, the findings revealed that Orokam indigenes do not speak their dialect even at home; there was no written literature on the dialect and a such the dialect was not used as medium of instruction from the nursery to junior secondary school as recommended by the National Policy on Education; the indigenes feel inferior to use the dialect in social environment and the dialect has never been used by the media; Orokam people believed that teaching the dialect in their schools will be of benefits to them but they did not make any effort towards achieving that, and finally, the researcher recommended that the dialect should actively be used in Orokam homes, schools and even by the media; the religious leaders should use the dialect in their sermons; and that the government as well as the individuals should provide scholarship to encourage children who speak the dialect.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE:     INTRODUCTION
1.1       Brief Historical Background of Idoma Nation
1.2       The Origin of Orokam
1.3       Statement of the Problem
1.4       Purpose of Study
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope and Limitation of Study
1.7       Research Questions

CHAPTER TWO:   REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1       Theoretical Framework
2.2       Empirical Studies
2.3       Orokam Dialect
2.4       Language Endangerment
2.5       Sounds and Letters in Idoma
2.6       Morphological Features of Orokam and Otukpo Dialects
2.7       Sentence Analysis in Orokam
2.8       A Popular Hymn among the Idoma or Orokam
3.9       Singular and Plural
3.10     Causes of Language Endangerment in Orokam Land
2.11     Adverse Effects of Language Endangerment in Orokam land
2.12     Revitalization of Orokam Dialect of Idoma Language

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1       Preamble
3.2       Research Design
3.3       Area of Study
3.4       Population of the Study
3.5       Sample and Sampling Procedure
3.6       Method of Data Collection
3.7       Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.0       Data Analysis and Interpretation
4.1       Response to Questionnaires
4.2       Data Presentation

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
5.1       Summary
5.2       Recommendation
5.3       Conclusion

WORKS CITED

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Brief Historical Background of Idoma Nation
Etymologically, it is a difficult obligation to actually pin-point the first person that coined the word “Idoma”. Scholars like Erim (93) and Unoma (206) are of the opinion that the Idoma people migrated from the ancient Kwararafa confederacy. But there is a popular belief among the Idoma that the terms, “Idu” and “Oma” were first and foremost the surnames of the Idoma progenitors. There is a fervent practice among the Idoma that someone’s descendants are regarded as “Ai” and that is why we have Ai-Idoma, Ai-Orokam and many others.

It is important to note that Erim’s study of the Idoma nation stipulates that “the Idoma people occupy areas of land which lies within both the broad valley of the Benue Rivers to the Northern fringes of Igbo land” (11). He further states, “ranging about two hundred and eight kilometres from the East to West, the area is flanked by the Tiv and Igede to the East and the Igala to the West. The bulk of the territory of the land is South of the Benue, some seventy two kilometres East of its confluence with the Niger” (6).
It is worthy of note that, among the twenty-three(23) Local Government Areas of Benue State, the Tiv nation has thirteen while the Idoma have nine, which include Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Ogbadibo, Ohimini, Oju, Okpokwu, and Otukpo respectively. Ogbadibo is the Local Government Area which is accommodating the endangered Orokam dialect, which is the subject of this study. There are several dialects among the Idoma people which include Otukpo (the standard dialect), but Orokam, Edumoga, Igede, Owukpa, Otukpa, Agatu, Agila and many others are regarded as regional dialects of the Idoma language. The Idoma dialects are further divided into two major groups which are the “Enochi” (Northern Idoma) and the “Enone” (Southern Idoma). The Otukpo dialect being the standard dialect; Agatu, Agila, Igede and many others are the northern Idoma dialects (Enochi) while Edumoga, Orokam, Otukpa, and Owukpa are the southern Idoma dialects (Enone).

Well, for the purpose of this study, the researcher will narrow this study to the dialect of Orokam only, which is part of the “Enone”dialect group. A brief history of Orokam will be of great help to the study of the dialect (Orokam).

1.2         The Origin of Orokam
Geographically, Orokam is one of the Idoma speaking communities located at the western part of Idoma land of Benue State and situated in the southern part of Ogbadibo Local Government Area with a land mass of about eight hundred and twenty kilometres (820km) long and four hundred kilometres wide. As the case of other areas, so also is the case of Orokam having boundaries with other states and districts in Nigeria. It is bordered by Otukpa district in the north, Owukpa district to the east (all of Ogbadibo Local Government Area), bordered in the west by Unyi-Ogugu in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State, and to the south, it has boundary with Amalla in Obollo-Afor, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State. Historically, it is difficult to give the most concise and satisfactory account of Orokam due to the doubtful account of fallibility of human memory, exaggeration, addition or extraction from the myth, tales, or oral tradition, which is one of the many methods of data collection. Available sources of information to Orokam history are archeological materials and oral tradition. Oral tradition seems, however, to override others due to lack of proper documentations of Orokam....


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