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UJAH: Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities

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The fading phase of Igbo language and culture: path to its revitalisation

George E. Onwudiwe

Abstract


In recent times, some concerned linguists, lovers of the Igbo language and indeed, owners of the language have been asking questions about possible strategies to be adopted in resuscitating the Igbo language and culture which critics and observers have warned are depreciating in value and usage. The Igbo of South East Nigeria, as well as various governments in the Igbo region have in their own various ways jumped into action to revive and save the situation through the organisation of cultural activities and forums for the promotion of Igbo language and culture and legislations. Commendable as these attempts may be, the issue which does not yet appear properly addressed is the need to identify the factors responsible for the present state of Igbo language and culture and the possibilities of workable strategies to remedy the situation. This paper therefore, is an attempt to interrogate the receding utilization of Igbo language and culture using UNESCO’s 2002 and 2003 nine-point criteria of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages as bases for our study and recommendations. The study has attempted to get at the root of what the author considers the crux of the matter through the study of the philosophy of the Igbo man towards himself, his environment and his personal effects, and has discovered that the bane of Igbo language and culture is the Igbo man’s attitude towards that which is his, and his easy enchantment with foreign cultures. The paper then recommends a total reorientation of the Igbo man’s core philosophy as a panacea to the problem, among others. The revelations of this paper will benefit linguists, the Igbo, and indeed scholars.




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