Publisher: Linguistic Association of Nigeria

Language Endangerment: The Case of Defaka

Inoma N. G. Essien
KEYWORDS: Language Endangerment, Defaka


Language loss is not a recent phenomenon in human history. Various factors such as colonisation, migration, group solidarity, etc., are considered to be some of the causes of language loss or language shift. The situation is becoming more precarious in the face of globalisation. Worse hit are enclave languages such as Defaka. This paper attempts to present a clear picture of the level of endangerment of the Defaka language, based on sociolinguistic survey questionnaires administered in the community and personal interaction with the speakers of the language. Defaka is an Ijoid language spoken in the shared island of Nko̥ ro̥ o̥ , in the Opobo/Nko̥ ro̥ o̥ Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. Some of the socio-cultural indicators of endangerment of the Defaka language, areː the restricted communicative domains of the language, loss of personal names and proverbs. Linguistically, Defaka has undergone a vowel reduction process. It has a reduced pronominal system compared to other Ijoid lects. Loss of basic culture terms arealso attested.

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