Tag Archives: Indigenous languages

Implications of the Negative Attitude towards Nigerian Indigenous Languages on National Development (Published)

Most parents, schools and the society at large in Nigeria today refer to the indigenous languages as the language of the uncivilized and speaking it is an abomination. Surprisingly, the English language is becoming the first language of most children in the nation. Worrisome still is the fact that the indigenous languages are going into extinction and this has not received much attention. The government has been paying lip service to various policies, just as parents are discouraging their children to speak their mother tongue even on informal occasions. It is for this reason that this study set out to highlight the implications of the negative attitude towards Nigerian indigenous languages on national development.  It examines the status of indigenous languages and the possible reasons for the negative perceptions as well as their implication on National Development in Nigeria. The study submits that the neglect of indigenous languages results in mistaken identity, self-patriotism, low self-extreme and self-concept, low productivity, polluted social integration, importation of foreign habit, weak social institution, low educational product and language incompetence among others on part of the individual and society at large which have a direct impact on national development. Consequently, the paper concludes that when education, science, technology and moral virtues are led away from the indigenous languages, sustainable national development will continue to be a fallacy

Citation: Opeyemi Emmanuel OLAWE (2022) Implications of the Negative Attitude towards Nigerian Indigenous Languages on National Development, International Journal of English Language and Linguistics Research, Vol.10, No 2, pp.60-73

Keywords: Extinction, Implications, Indigenous languages, National Development


As important as language is in the existence of man, so it has its attendant issues since human beings exist in numerous linguistic and ethnic groups, the languages of larger groups overriding those of smaller groups for varied reasons. Countries of the world especially in Africa are made up of divergent linguistic and ethnic groups. Most of these multilingual countries have adopted the languages of their colonial masters as official languages. Policies across multilingual African countries have adverse effects on indigenous languages. In Nigeria, the adoption of English as the official language has created lack of interest in the country’s over 400 indigenous languages especially the so-called minority languages. Igala, one of the relegated languages needs to be maintained for group identity, interaction, transmission of culture and values, exploration and exploitation of the environment of the Igala people. A majority language in Kogi State, North Central, Nigeria. It is also spoken in other neighbouring States of Kogi. The mother tongue instruction of the National Policy on Education is considered among other recommendations as one way of ensuring the maintenance of Igala.

Keywords: Ethnic groups, Indigenous languages, Language policy, Mother tongue instruction, Revalorization