Depletion Of Igbo Language

This article enlightens us about the tribe IGbo, causes of the depletion of their language and remedies to it

The Igbo language is the principal native language of the Igbo people - an ethnic group of southeastern Nigeria. Language is the pedigree of nations; it is a supreme achievement of a uniquely human collective genius as divine and unfathomable - a mystery as a living organism. Culture is said to reflect the sum total of human creation, everything that is a product of the human mind, system, technique, and tools that make up man's way of life.

Language is the custodian and vehicle for culture mobilization; therefore, language learning is a process of enculturalization. Any danger that touches language, therefore, touches man, his things, and indeed his being and essence. Igbo language is depleted and has lost its value because its speakers have ceased to use it and have stopped passing it on to the next generation. When the Igbo language is not spoken by its children outside the home, it is definitely endangered. When it is not spoken at all by the children, it is severely endangered. When it is spoken only by the oldest generation, it is critically endangered.


 When it is spoken by only a few members of the oldest generation and death takes its role on them, it results in radical language death. Depletion of the Igbo language can be linked to political repression or genocide: Igbo speakers not be identified as natives of Igbo, stop speaking Igbo, which was a result of the deliberate killing of a very large number of Igbo and children are unable to learn a language not spoken in their environment. It can also be linked to colonialism and neo-colonialism: Colonial rule of British and France in Nigeria affected our traditional and cultural values and heritage, especially the France colonial rule in which they introduced a policy known as the policy of assimilation, which was to French implant language, culture, tradition, and civilization with the intention of suffocating the culture, tradition, and fundamentals of Africans, precisely Nigeria and also neo-colonialism - which is the persistent and consistent influence of colonialism after independence and in our now leadership and politics.

It can also be linked to the presence of a dominant language: when a minority language like Igbo, spoken by only one ethnic group, comes in contact with English, a dominant language spoken by the whole world, it leads to the gradual language death of the minority language. It is also linked with the mark of elitism: which is to deny your children the wisdom, philosophy, and thought encapsulated in the Igbo language by shielding them off their mother tongue with the thinking that dual citizenship, foreign behaviors, and use of advanced technologies they will be considered far better than those in their mother's tongue. It is also linked with the Igbo man's attitude towards that which is his and his easy enchantment with foreign things.


  • Removal of some cultural adulteration from westernization: westernization affected our heritage strongly that it is described as barbaric, heathen, primitive, etc.
  • Amount and quality of documentation: Igbo literature and books should be written and published to enable students to read and write them.
  • Re-orientation on Nigerians' insatiable quest and taste for foreign things.
  • Establishment of organizations for cultural activities and forums.
  • Availability of quality personnel and materials for language education and literacy.
  • Government and institutional language attitude and policies, including official status and use.
  • Community members' attitude and consciousness towards the importance and value of their own language to other languages.  
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