Is Igbo an endangered language?

Herbert Igboanusi 1 , 1
  • 1 University of Ibadan.


Igbo is one of Nigeria's three major languages, with Hausa and Yoruba being the other two. It is spoken by a population of between 20 and 25 million people. Igbo is taught, learnt and examined in Igbo as a first language from the primary school level to the tertiary level of education. Books on diverse subjects (including literary works) have been written in the language. In recent times, however, several developments (such as dwindling interest in the language as a first language, declining population of students who apply to take degree or certificate programmes in the language, non-accreditation of the language by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in some universities, and language attitude problems) have prompted some researchers to associate the Igbo situation with language endangerment. The present study sets out to investigate the true position of the Igbo language with respect to language endangerment.

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Multilingua is a refereed academic journal devoted to multilingualism, language learning, intercultural communication and translating and interpreting in their social contexts. Multilingua focuses on critical sociolinguistic studies of language and communication in globalization, transnationalism, migration and mobility across time and space. It is an international forum for interdisciplinary research on linguistic diversity in social life.