AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities

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Orphan Tongues and the Economics of Language Shift in Nigeria: An Entremesa Discourse

Chris Chinemerem, Onyema


Complex experiences implicate a change in the structure of work, and consequent shift towards the functional language that expresses the new economic order. In other words, the “demand and supply” for a language  directs its distribution, determines its value and creates its direct or indirect profit; and the extent a particular language facilitates survival in a changing socio-economic ecology determines what particular languages are  given up, orphaned and rendered invisible in the global market. It is aspired in this paper to examine how  dimensions of language use in Nigeria and different axes of economic and cultural shift connect with the  developmental challenges and (in)visibility of the nation, as well as suggest practical steps towards language  revitalization as a dimension of remedying the developmental challenges in the country. The thesis here is that the phenomenal dominance pattern of English with the consequent shift indigenous languages suffer is  implicated in the economics of language. Especially, it is the position in this paper that language shift is  determined by the cost and benefit of languages in contact and the socio-economic ecologies of the speakers.

Key words: Economics, Ecology, Language Shift, Nigeria.

AJOL African Journals Online