Promoting Indigenous Language in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges for the Library and Information Professionals.

Author:Benson, Oyemike Victor


Language is tied to the culture of a group of people. No culture can thrive without language, just as no society can exist without language. In other words, language is the backbone of any society or group of persons. It is through the instrumentality of language that people communicate, interact and live together. Every activity in both developed and developing nation is absolutely tied to language. Therefore, language can be acknowledged as the key driver of meaningful development. Obviously, to participate effectively in the democratic process, there must be language in place, to make economic impact language is required, beside air which is a free gift of nature, language is another necessity of life. For instance, if education is a basic factor for development in any society, then language through which the education is passed to the people is as important as the education itself.

Languages, whether indigenous or foreign, are indispensable tools in the life of individuals because there is no aspect of human activities that can be successful without the effective use of language (Ayodele, 2013). Language plays a great role in culture and societal development because we use language everyday in many ways and to meet countless different needs. Language is an important tool in the society, because man needs it to share his ideas, experiences, emotions, and interact with other people in the society or in his environment (Ayeomoni, 2011). The repository of a people's identity and way of life is encapsulated in their language as well as transferred to other people and newer generations, via the means of language (Emeka-Nwobia, 2015). It is a phenomenon that fosters communication and enhances national development as it enables interactions for economic, educational, social, religious and political purposes (Benson, Okere & Nwauwa, 2016).

Understanding the Content and Context of Language

Language is an integral part of human behaviour and it serves as the primary means of interaction between people (Adedeji, 2014). It is so important to the growth and sociability of a people that it is among the very first forms of behaviours that we learn as children, and latter when we learn other skills and acquire more knowledge, much of this reaches us only through the medium of language (Jibir-Daura, 2014). Language according to Odegbenle (2013) is a form of communication which allow animal (both lower and higher) to engage in transaction and share thoughts, beliefs, notions, ideas, experiences and so on which are presumably known to both parties.

Languages is one of the indispensable resources of man, necessary for his day to day transaction and activities, language lives and dwells with the people, and the perception of the real world is construed by the language habit of the people or group of speakers (Emeka-Nwobia, 2015). It is important to the meaningful existence of the human race. It is used by man as a means of social, cultural transmission as well as a means of knowledge advancement and educational development (Alhassan & Ali, 2015). It is the unique property of human beings and all the developments of man, be it intellectual, ethical, political, social or economic revolves entirely on the instrumentality of language (Ene, 2007).

Characteristically, language is species specific and species generic possession that is uniquely human, that is peculiar to human beings and it can be both an individual property (when it exists as knowledge) and a social property, when it manifests to perform its function (Adzer, 2012). Language according to Yusuf (2012) remains potentially a communicative medium capable of expressing issues and concepts as well as moods, feelings and attitudes. As rightly put by Ani (2012:110):

The appeal of language resides precisely in its capacity to meet the needs of man for self expression and for communication of experience in his day-to-day engagements with the world around him. Man needs language for the dissection and analysis of material reality and spiritual experience as well as for formulation of hypothetical statements, theories and belief as well as value systems. In other words, beyond facilitating communication of experience, a language must enhance man's cognitive abilities and functioning, if it is to be of permanent relevance or survive through the ages. The functional characteristics of language according to Emeka -Nwobia (2015) are not just limited to communication or transfer of information. He further posits that language provides means of concealing information as well as unveiling hidden agendas and codes.

The Relevance of Language...

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