Language endangerment in Nigeria: focus on small ethnolinguistic communities in Niger state

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Universitat de Barcelona


Malaysia, Sarawak, Malaysia This paper examines the level of endangerment of Ura, Lupa, Kaami, Bangi, Gelanci, and Asu languages spoken in Niger State, Nigeria. The scope covered includes frequency of their use in some vital domains like home, marketplaces, relaxation centres, among others. We have used the term ‘very small’ in this work to designate languages that are spoken by less than ten thousand (10,000) speakers. Edwards’ model of analysis as modified by Grenoble and Whaley was used as our theoretical model, while our research instruments are questionnaire, interview and observation. The paper observes that this class of languages is endangered and may soon go into extinction. The study concluded that the major challenges of the ‘very small’ languages in Niger State, Nigeria are the size of their speakers and their restricted domains of use. This study therefore suggests that adequate provision for indigenous language use in pre-primary and primary school would go a long way in strengthening and revitalizing these languages



language endangerment, indicators/variables, ethnonolinguistic community