Indigenous languages and Mass Media in Nigeria: The case of Yoruba

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Dept of Linguistics & Language, Adekunle Ajasin University


As soon as the colonial administration, vis-à-vis Christianity was introduced in most African nations, use of indigenous languages of their host nations was enormous in achieving the set objectives of the colonial masters/missionaries. They were aware of the fact that the success or failure in reaching their vast audience would depend on the appropriateness of the choice of language. The idea of indigenous newspaper production in Nigeria was first initiated in 1859 by an English Missionary, Reverend Henry Townsend which was the Yoruba Language Newspaper, ÌWÉ ÌRÒHÌN FÚN ÀWON ARÁ ÈGBÁ ÀTI YORÙBÁ (Newspaper for the Ègbá People and the Yorùbá) located in Ake, Abeokuta. Although the paper was established perfunctorily for educational and proselytizing purposes, it could hardly avoid dabbling into the politics of the sustaining environment, given especially Townsend’s own personality and ideal. In view of this, this paper tends to see Yoruba indigenous language as a vibrant tool in Nigerian mass media from the era of colonial rule to the present day, using Development media theory as our framework. Also, its impact through the mass media in achieving a well-informed society and in inculcating the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society is highly commendable




Indigenous language, Mass media