LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT AND REVITALIZATION OROKAM DIALECTAL SITUATION

LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT AND REVITALIZATION OROKAM DIALECTAL SITUATION

ABSTRACT

At present, there is a renewed interest in the fate of endangered or dying languages. The death of any language or dialect means the extinction of such cultural heritage, and to some extent, the loss of a people. As the Orokam people increasingly abandon the use of their indigenous dialect in almost all domains of life, including the home, this study seeks to show that Orokam, a dialect spoken among the Orokam people in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the Idoma kingdom in Benue State is at the verge of endangerment or extinction. So, this work seeks to know the extent to which the Orokam dialect has been endangered; factors responsible for the relegation of the dialect as well as measures on how the dialect can be revitalized and preserved for posterity. The purpose of the study is to determine the core dialect of Orokam as well as to suggest ways to which the dialect could be saved from extinction. Questionnaires and oral interviews were used for the collection of data. At the end of the research, the findings revealed that Orokam indigenes do not speak their dialect even at home; there was no written literature on the dialect and a such the dialect was not used as medium of instruction from the nursery to junior secondary school as recommended by the National Policy on Education; the indigenes feel inferior to use the dialect in social environment and the dialect has never been used by the media; Orokam people believed that teaching the dialect in their schools will be of benefits to them but they did not make any effort towards achieving that, and finally, the researcher recommended that the dialect should actively be used in Orokam homes, schools and even by the media; the religious leaders should use the dialect in their sermons; and that the government as well as the individuals should provide scholarship to encourage children who speak the dialect.