"Igbo in Diaspora are keener on reviving their language than the ones at home."

February 9, 2015|BY CHIKA ABANOBI That was the keen observation of William Eleje-Abili, an authoritative researcher in Igbo language whose Mkpanaka Okowa-Okwu Igbo (A Handbook of Igbo Glossary): The English-Igbo Dictionary, published by University of Lagos Press and Bookshop Ltd, is making waves in many Igbo quarters. “You will be surprised that those that live outside the Igbo states treasure the Igbo language more than those that live inside,” Eleje-Abili said, in a chat with Education Review during the recent marking of UNESCO International Mother Tongue Day, on Saturday, February 21. “I have a friend in Canada. He said he is paying an Igbo teacher to teach his children because the farther away you move from your people, the more concerned you are in your ability to tell your children where you come from so that they don’t get lost. But you see people in Igbo villages speaking English as something trendy while they see Igbo-speaking as something primordial, something that doesn’t show you as somebody that is sophisticated. So these notions must be addressed. A lot of people don’t know that language and people are coterminous. Hausa is not just a people; it is a linguistic group. Even in the Bible, especially in the Book of Daniel, you will see the Bible saying, ‘every people, nations and tongues.’ So, language is an attribute of statehood or nationhood. If you remove language from peoplehood, there is nothing left.” Eleje-Abili, a graduate of Geography from University of Jos, a Master degree holder in International Law and Diplomacy, from University of Lagos, besides some courses he did in Warsaw, Poland, said that the idea to write...
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