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OGIRISI: a New Journal of African Studies

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Safeguarding the Igbo language through teaching Igbo children in diaspora

Angela Ụ.N. Nwankwere, Benjamin I. Mmadike, Cecilia A. Eme

Abstract


Language is one of the major ways through which the different peoples of the world are identified. A people who lose their language have lost their identity. Currently, the Igbo people of Nigeria seem to be having problems transmitting Igbo to their children. The problem is more manifest among Igbo diaspora children. This paper, aimed at encouraging Igbo parents to go the extra mile of transmitting Igbo to their children to ensure its safe and secure future, examined the possibility of Igbo parents creating an enabling environment for acquiring/learning Igbo within the family and the immediate locality. Employing the language maintenance perspective, our data came from primary and secondary sources. While secondary data were from electronic and other sources like books, journals and newspapers, the primary data evolved over some time from several observations of and/or different forms of interactions with a purposive, convenient sample of thirty consultants consisting of Igbo parent(s) residing in the north, west and south-south parts of Nigeria; Ghana, Benin Republic, England and America. The study shows that diaspora parents can lead their children not only to understand but to speak Igbo. We recommend that the Igbo language awareness and maintenance efforts should be the concern of all the Igbo, especially parents. This will ensure that all Igbo children, wherever they live, acquire/learn Igbo to save the language from endangerment and possible extinction.




AJOL African Journals Online