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How Can We Rescue Our Indigenous Languages, As English Language Encroaches Into Our Hinterlands

The three major ethnic languages in Nigeria include Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages. Hausa language is spoken widely in the northern part of Nigeria, Yoruba is spoken in southwestern part of Nigeria, as their indigenous language while Igbo language, is spoken mostly in the south eastern parts, of Nigeria and the some south Southern part of Nigeria.

Due to the advent of colonialism, English language was introduced as lingua Franca, meaning a language that everybody can speak and understand such we can use it, to associate with other ethnic groups in Nigeria. As this English language is expanding and encroaching into our Hinterlands, it is equally affecting our indigenous languages, such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba Ijaw, ibibio ,Tiv languages etc.

As English language encroaches and the expands, our indigenous languages are shrinking gradually. Today in our metropolitan cities irrespective of location, either in the West where Yoruba is supposed to be the indigenous language or in the North where Hausa is supposed to be the indigenous language or in the South East where Igbo is supposed to be in the indigenous language, the most spoken language in these metropolitan cities is English language, this has made the indigenous language within this location to begin to shrink.

Case study is Lagos and Abuja the two most developed metropolitan cities in Nigeria. In Lagos a city in southwestern Nigeria. If you visit the streets of Lagos, you will discover that English language has taken over the streets. Most people speak English language though we have our own version of English called pidgin but it is still English. In Abuja the federal Capital Territory located in northern part of Nigeria. English language has equally taken over the streets, as people rarely speak the indigenous language of that place. Everybody speak English language thereby affecting the indigenous language of Abuja people.

The scenario has equally affected other cities in Nigeria for instance Port Harcourt, Calabar, Abeokuta, Warri Ibadan, Onitsha. If you visit all the cities you can see how fast English language is expanding and as it is expanding it is affecting the indigenous languages, of such locations.

This language challenge is mostly affecting the southern part of Nigeria, as it is more educationally developed part of Nigeria, where many people have embraced English language, more than Northern part of Nigeria.

A close look at Igbo language, which language is widely spoken across the south eastern and some parts of south Southern states of Nigeria. The challenge that Igbo language is having, is that the indigenous people of south eastern Nigeria travel a lot. Majority of them are based in southwestern part of Nigeria, as well northern part of Nigeria due to the nature of the business they run. They scatter all over Nigeria and once they go there they rarely go back, they will stay there and establish and start to procreate. Though their children are lgbos, but they rarely speak Igbo languages, because of the location they find themselves. As this happens many of their children outside the South Eastern Nigeria, can no longer speak the language of their father, the Igbo language, they will choose English language as their first language.

Yoruba people are the indigenous people of south western Nigeria. The challenge with Yoruba language is because Lagos is the economic hub of Nigeria, where all ethnic groups reside. For business activities to flow freely in Lagos, the economic capital of Nigeria, everybody use mostly the Nigerian lingua Franca, which is English language, as the English language expand rapidly in the Western Nigeria, it shrinks the Yoruba language because majority of the people doing business in the south western Nigeria, are not the Yorubas, they cannot speak Yoruba they prefer to use English to do business, and Yoruba being the most educated ethnic group in Nigeria, will equally want to show that they are educated by using English Language, by so doing they shrink their indigenous language Yoruba.

With the two scenario and ground I see both languages shrink very fast in the next 30 years, if due actions are not being taken by our institutions and government, these languages will disappear, your opinion here will count as we flow freely to understand what can be done.

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