Language Ecology in Yobe State
Keywords:Ecology, loyalty, endangerment, policy, predator
This paper reports the findings of a sociolinguistic survey conducted in respect of language ecology in Yobe State. The study – which was supported by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) – aims to establish the numerical strength of the ‘local’ languages of Yobe State and how they interact among one another and other languages. In addition, it intends to find the consequences of such interactions. To achieve the objectives of this study, the researchers administered paper-and-pencil questionnaire and conducted focus group discussion schedules as well as participatory observation across the seventeen Local Government Areas in Yobe State. It was observed by the researchers that the interactions among the languages have exacerbated language shift, language borrowing etc. Whilst all the languages are endangered by Hausa – an emerging cross-border language – there are some potentially endangered ‘local’ languages that endanger other ‘local’ languages that have large population in the State. This is inimical to language vitality and preservation. However, of interest in the study is language loyalty amongst speakers of languages that have seemingly few speakers and relatively few communities. As a result, the study recommends that extant language policies that encourage language spread and development should be implemented to the letter in Yobe State.
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