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Language and Culture in Contact a Study of the Influence of English

Language and Culture in Contact a Study of the Influence of English Language on Ikwo Dialect Names

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

       The question relating to the origin of language has posed a lot of problems and appears to have split scholars in different groups, language is a universal phenomenon, almost every factor of human endeavour finds its existence and expression on the use of language, Ndukwe (1984) believes that the existence of language is assumed to be dependent on the social possibilities of its depend on the nature and quality of these possibilities.

The world is blessed with many languages. Although these languages are distinct in their structural patterns, language contact often results in language influence on one another. This is because no language exist in isolation, there is always a cross fertilization between one language and another. In this process, certain elements in one language are either partly or wholly transferred into another language thereby influencing the linguistic pattern of that particular language. This phenomenon is called linguistic interference in code switching (Smith 1974).

The history of Igbo language and its people Armstrong (1967) describe Igbo as this great and difficult language the mother tongue of an ethnic group or a speech community of not less than (10) million inhabitant, this group occupy the eastern part of mid-western and Delta regions of Nigeria.  This area is bounded in the East by the Ibibio people, the south west by the Ijaws, extending to the Benin with Agbor as the outpost, in the North by the Idoma people. This demarcating line endorses an area in which the people do not only speak the various Igbo dialects but share some cultural traits with its typical and quite significant of Igbo culture center, Afikpo and Azumiri and Ikwere (East Igbo) are in the culture margin.

The Igbo people are group of people that covers the geographical areas of Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, some part of Delta state and some parts in Cross-River state all in Nigeria.

Greenberg (1963), the Igbo people were classified as belonging to the kwa sub-family of the Niger-Congo Family of the sub-division of Kordofanians group.

According to Onu (2005), on development of the Igbo language; brief historical background; any history of Igbo language that is not associated with the slave trade and early church missionary society (C.M.S) missionaries is totally incomplete.

The cultural contact between English language and Igbo language is as a result of the activities of the slave trade in the coast of West Africa in 19th century the relationship in which the Igbo exported some of their populace in the return for certain European goods, bring about retardness in the political and social evolution of the Igbo people.

Ottenberg (1961) opines that, before the European slave trade, Igbo society was small in geographical areas and that numerous group speaking different languages lived side by side with the Igbo much as there is diversity of people in the Obubra area of Cross-River state today. The European contact led to a rapid rise in population in the area.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS

       This research aims at achieving three objectives as the statement of problem which includes the following:

  1. To find out how English has influenced Igbo orthographically and morphological implication on names.
  2. To determine the extent of the influence of English language on Igbo names and in different domains.
  3. To suggest ways by which this influence could be minimized.

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

       This project is set out to examine the influence English language exerts over Igbo names and use of language in different domains; like Schools, Office, Religion etc. For example, in suffixational influence, the suffix ‘son’ makes the Igbo name assume the character of English name example: Nwaugo-Ugoson, Emeka Emeson. Also in different domains, people often code-switch when they speak or communicate with one another which is always done unknowingly by the speakers. Examples:

(i) Onye no na this house?

Who is in this house?

(ii) Biko saa that my pot di na kitchen

Please wash that my pot that is in the kitchen

The study is primarily concerned with the syntactic problems encountered by Igbo speaking of English and how their first language affects subsequent acquisition of other languages, particularly English language. The methodology will enable us determine for instance, the collolational. Possibilities and the degree of problems encountered by students as there is no clues (morphological or syntactic) to fix precisely to accept collolational patterns.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

       This study embarked upon, even though this influence of English language on Igbo names has been studies or researched into by some students of linguistics and literary studies in some Nigerian universities but this work is based on English language influence on Igbo names.

Therefore, this study is important because it hopes to reveal how English has influenced Igbo names through contact and its consequence on Igbo language and culture because language and culture its vital institution of the society and the most significance expression of a society’s social, economic and political development is reflected with the use of language of that society.

The researcher believes that this work will give a meaningful insight into language influence and fill the gap in knowledge of linguistic, cultural studies in African and language in general.

The contact between English and Igbo language could be seen as a result of interest in Igbo culture history partly for scientific reason and partly to provide explanation for certain mental psychological, linguistic and other traits they considered. The contact also encouraged the linguistic study of Igbo language by missionaries from freedom in development of Igbo language by church missionary society (C.M.S.) who also is new in the exploration activities in Igbo territory (1857), facilitated the initial effort of their group in terms of knowledge of Igbo language while the doctrines and principles religious idea remained those of their respective Christian tradition, the local language as the primary medium of communication with their host provided the bulk of the concept, terms and linguistic symbols and imagines.

1.5 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION

       The English language influence on Igbo names is a broad one, and there is no other different ways by which English language influences Igbo language such as a in writing, tones, spelling and speeches.

The study shall be concerned only with those whose L1 is Igbo language. This implies that we are not interested in the English usage of the average Igbo learner, low grade workers in establishment most university dons, editors and judges.

Our method of approach will be descriptive and as such will depend on analysis of data. That’s not all, it set limit to thought and understanding of the received message of the missionaries. The significance of this endeavour will afford the references and motivation to do research on influence of English language on Igbo names and language.

1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. In what way does English language influences Igbo names?
  2. To what extent does language influences affects the people’s culture?
  3. Is there any relationship between English and Igbo syntax?
  4. How does Igbo syntactic structure affect the English usage of Igbo undergraduates?
  5. To what extent is nativization of English not limited to L1 negative transfer?

Due to the extreme conversation and complexity of this English language influence on Igbo names to be comprehended by the average man in the society, this work now provoked the following research questions listed above.

 

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