DEVELOPMENT OF REMNANT NIGERIAN LANGUAGES: THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITIES
This paper examines the issue of developing remnant Nigerian languages and the role of the government as well as the speech community in orthography development. The motivation for this paper stems from the fact that many endangered Nigerian languages are unwritten and efforts have been made over time to develop writing system for these languages but yield little or no result. Beyond these concerted efforts, many indigenous languages are gradually going into extinction due to dearth of writing system, proper planning and poor implementation of policy on small size languages. However, this paper sets out to explicate strategies that could be adopted by the government and the community to forestall the endangerment of remnant Nigerian languages. This study, among other things, shows that unless the government, its Agencies (Ministry of Education, Committees and Societies) and the community put concerted efforts in establishing rapport with specialized institutes, such as NINLAN, SIL, SOAS, Living Tongues Institute, and departments of linguistics all over the country to develop writing system and devising metalanguages for these languages, majority of these languages will be endangered or lost in the near future. The study concludes by reiterating the pivotal role of the government in policy making and implementation, thus advised that the government should provide guidelines, funds and promote the use of indigenous orthography in all levels of education and the media. Also, the study suggests relevant actions on the part of the community and government in order to minimize worst cases of language endangerment. Finally, this paper recommends that Readers Project be set up in every state of the federation as a way to develop, document and revitalize remnant Nigerian languages.
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