MCC&LinC Colloquium “Language Politics in North East Nigeria: The Wukari Example”

MCC&LinC Colloquium “Language Politics in North East Nigeria: The Wukari Example”

Together with Pieter Muyskens’ Languages in Contact (LinC) group, the Meaning, Culture & Cognition group organizes a fortnightly colloquium series titled “Categories, diversity, and contact”.

Our next lecture will be:

Date: Wednesday 17 September 2014
Time: 15:30 – 17ː00
Location: TvA 8.00.13 (Thomas von Aquino)
Speaker: Judith Mgbemena, Federal University Wukari, Nigeria
Title: Language Politics in North East Nigeria: The Wukari Example

Description: Language diversities in a community characterize many societies in Nigeria as in the world today. However, the coexistence of several languages in communities in North East Nigeria presents a peculiar situation as it increasingly yields to tensions and violent conflicts. Based on sociolinguistic methodology including interviews, observation, and a questionnaire, this paper examines the sociolinguistic profile of a particular city in North East Nigeria, Wukari, which has experienced five bouts of violent conflicts that resulted in massive destruction of lives and properties between February 2013 and September 2014. It highlights the intricate connection between the dominance of Hausa, the general language spoken in Northern Nigeria, over the other languages, including Jukun in Wukari, the ancestral capital of the ancient kwararafa kingdom, and the recent violent conflicts experienced in the city. Language shift subtly contributed to violent clashes between the Jukun, who uphold their language and cultural heritage and those, who have abandoned their indigenous culture and language in favour of Hausa. In overall, the paper reflects the intrinsic connection between language and conflict which presently characterizes North East Nigeria.
Key terms: language politics, language shift, language dominance, language endangerment, violent conflict

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