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Language in Contact and Language Conflict an Examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals

Language in Contact and Language Conflict an Examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals

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Abstract

This research study was on language in contact and language conflict among Ibibio English Bilinguals in Secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area. Three research questions were formulated and answered. The researcher used survey research design for the study.

The total population for this study was three thousand two hundred and four (3204) students in eight (8) public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area. The researcher adopted a simple random sampling technique in carrying out the study.

Four (4) public secondary schools were drawn from eight (8) public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The instrument used for gathering of the needed data for the study was researcher’s structured questionnaire called “Language in Contact and Language Conflict Questionnaire (LCLCQ)”.

The method used in analyzing the data collected was simple percentage statistical method. Findings revealed that the Contact situation between Ibibio and English among Secondary Schools students in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area brings about mother tongue interference, concord errors, poor grammatical structures, poor vocabulary development and poor pronunciations of English words;

that contact situation between English and Ibibio leads to lack of confidence in speaking English, embarrassment in communicating with others publicly, inability to speak English properly due to Internalisation of sounds from the mother tongue, slow career/academic growth, use of mother tongue influence students confidence in communication in English among Secondary Schools students in Nsit Ibom Local Government Areal;

and that enhancing pronunciation, practicing English speaking regularly, performing as much communication in English as possible. Based on the findings of this study the following recommendations are made: Government should at least equip schools in the area with current texts on English language. 

Language in Contact and Language Conflict an Examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals

CHAPTER ONE

   INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Language is defined as a purely non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions, desires and thoughts by humans. It is a voluntarily produced symbol (Sapir 1927 in Abanga 2009, P.195). Harris (1979) sees language as a means which political ideas and policies are transmitted to the community.

Language serves as a vital tool through which effective interactions, mobilization for national development, integration and transformation are achieved. Through language and communication, one can be interviewed, socialize and interact freely in the society.

Language is the very heart of a people.  In the same vein, language is the indisputable tool for communication among humans without which there will be no meaningful interaction of any kind. The use of language for the purpose of documentation and communication knows no bounds and covers all areas of human activities.

For example, we use language to teach school subjects e.g. a science subject (Maduka-Durunze, 2019:12); to promote culture (Anyaehie, 2019:41); to search for equivalents between languages (Okeke, 2017:80); to relate specific registers that can be suitable for a classroom situation, and other areas such as law, worship, medicine, etc. (Eka, 2010: 41,42).

Similarly, Maduka and Eyoh (2011: 1) view language as a medium of communicating poetry, a form of word game which abounds in the various languages, while Udoh (2012: 141) considers language as a tool that can be used to promote national development.

On the other hand, language appears in various ways in the society, monolinguals, bilinguals and multilingualism. Monolingualism, for instance, is defined as state of having control over the use of one language. It is the ability of a person to speak in one language; this is why in second language learning, learner learns a language other than his/her native/first language(s).

Firstly, language is normally a native language and the second is an acquired foreign language (Jean-Mark, 2015).  On the other hand, bilingualism means having control over the use of two languages. It is also the ability of a person to speak in two languages.  In a bilingual community for instance, two languages can be viewed as their native/first languages, they are bilingual learners.

Learners have varied perception towards multi-language learning. This is in regard to the benefits or the shortcomings that are associated with multi-language learning. Looking at multi-lingualism, it is also the use of more than two languages. It also means using or having the ability to use several languages.

Moreover, the issue of language contact and language conflict in a bilingual society cannot be ignored as well as language and ethnicity is concern. It is on the above assertion that this project aimed at examining the language in contact and language conflict an examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals.

Language in Contact and Language Conflict an Examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problem of this research is to discover the effects of the contact between English and Ibibio languages, by Ibibio users of English. Over the years, studies and researches have been carried out by different scholars, but to the best of the knowledge of this researcher, none seems to have carried out and in-depth analysis of the contact situation between Ibibio and English languages by Ibibio users of the English language.

Naturally, languages in contact are often languages in competition and there is no language contact without language conflict.  Also, language is the most brilliant of human inventions. It is also about the most useful. By means of language people who live together are able to interact and express their thoughts and feelings.

Language is first perceived as a string of noises organized into a meaningful pattern for the purpose of communication. It can as well be seen as graphic symbols also organized into meaningful patterns, the organized patterns being meaningful particularly to the people of the speech community where the language is used.

On the other hand, there is the assumption that where there is an acceptable bilingual in both English and Ibibio, for example, then such a person requires no training to become a translator or an interpreter where the two languages are involved.

For instance, “Udoño itiaita”, literally “Eight diseases”, which the Ibibio-speaking people adopted as AIDS equivalent in the language, is a mistranslation and semantically inaccurate. In the same vein, that “idiok udoño anana nsuuk” can refer to any disease other than AIDS in Ibibio, and therefore should not be seen as its equivalent in the language, the argument is that when discussed within the context of AIDS, it is 100% applicable to it just as it can be applicable to any other disease within its own context.

It is on the above note that the research problem sought to find out the nature of conflict that results as a result of the contact between English and Ibibio language.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this research is to investigate the language in contact and language conflict among Ibibio English Bilinguals. Specifically, this research seeks to:

  1. find out the nature of conflict existing  between the two  languages among Ibibio learners of English language,
  2. examine the problems of language in contact and language conflict of Ibibio English Bilinguals;
  3. examine the attitude of Ibibio learners of English toward the learning of English language and their mother tongue.

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions are formulated to guide the study includes:

  1. to what extent does the contact situation between Ibibio and English brings about conflict?
  2. what are the problems that are brought about by the contact situation between English and Ibibio?
  3. how can this conflict brought about by the contact situation be resolved?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research will be significant to the reader of this research. It will also be of importance to curriculum planners specifically on the problems that are brought about English as a second language. This study will also be significant to Ibibio second learners of English language and their mother tongue.

The findings in this research will be of immense benefits to Ibibio learners on the importance of English language. Educational planners will also find this work relevant because it’s revealed information on the issues of language in contact between Ibibio and English language.

The findings from this study would provide useful information to the lecturers on the Nigerian languages on the appropriate teaching strategies to be adopted that will bring about effective learning outcomes among the students.

Studies and researchers will find this research important for advanced research studies on importance of Ibibio and English language.

1.6 Delimitation of the Study

This research work is delimited to the topic language in contact and language conflict: an examination of Ibibio English Bilinguals.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

There are some limitations that restricted this work. Firstly, the researcher could not reevaluate the results from one study to another within this study because of the time frame given for this work.

Secondly, responses from the students are likely to be subjective because they will like to please the researcher through their answers. Finally, some of the facts cannot be substantiated because they emanate from students.

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