Research Works/Projects

Title: Status: On-going.
Description: It provides a database of the languages of Nigeria following the six geopolitical zones – the south-south, south-east, south-west, north-east, north-central and north-west. Such a record is needed for policy formulations, and harnessing for both local outreach as well as preparing them for full participation in Information Technology and Globalization. The study surveyed the 774 Local Government Areas (L.G.As), and presents the languages and their varieties, as well as estimates of the speakers.

The objectives of the NLP are to:
  • explore and document the languages of Nigeria;
  • bring together individuals/groups and institutions/funders and language stakeholders in a bid to foster understanding, partnerships, collaboration and support of issues relating to languages of Nigeria;
  • form working groups to cover all 6 geopolitical zones of Nigeria as a fall out from the presentations and to follow up on the conference themes;
  • provide a platform for sharing project ideas, problems and solutions on the documentation of the languages of Nigeria;
  • gather information on the documentation efforts across Nigeria;
  • publish volumes on the languages of Nigerian;
  • produce a linguistic map of Nigeria;
  • host a biennial conference on the languages of Nigeria;
  • host workshops to develop instruments for the project.

So far, initial surveys have been carried out for four zones: South-South, South-East, South-West and North-East. Preliminary reports have been published for the South-South (Udoh 2003), the South-East (Udoh 2004) and South West Udoh & Adeniyi (2015). These are prerequisites to the final compendium on Nigeria which is the ultimate target.

Preliminary report of the South-South Geopolitical Zone - about 119 languages with 14 dominant spoken in 123 Local Government Areas (Udoh 2003), published by Concept Publications, Lagos.

Preliminary Report of the South East Geopolitical Zone - about 9 languages with 1 dominant in 95 Local Government Areas (Udoh 2004), published by Concept Publications, Lagos.

Preliminary Report of the Niger Delta Region - about 117 languages with about 18 dominant in 185 Local Government Areas (Udoh & Okon 2008), published by Concept Publications, Lagos.

Preliminary Report of the South West Zone – about 18 languages with 1 dominant language in 137 LGAs (Udoh & Adéníyì 2014), published by Fruities’ Publications, Uyo.

The following have been published from the Project: There are two main sharing fora of the NLP:

1. The Conference on the Languages of Nigeria (CLN) - meeting of the stakeholders to report, confer and exchange opinions about the NLP; holds every two years; reports on the Nigerian Languages Project (NLP); opens up the plan to involve other linguists, speakers and stakeholders in Nigerian languages. The 1st Conference on the Languages of Nigeria (CLN 2017) was organised, with the theme: ‘The Languages of Nigeria: Documentation, Description, Sociolinguistic Dynamics and Geopolitical Profile’. The 1st CLN marked the 13th year of the NLP, and more importantly it was organized to open the discussion to a wider national and international community. While it opened a discussion to fine-tune the work in progress, it also provided an opportunity to strategize on the daunting task of executing the Project. Given the national scope of the NLP, the Linguistic Association of Nigeria has become interested in the Project. The Conference took place at the TETFund Lecture Theatre of the Main Campus of the University of Uyo from the 24th to 27th April 2017. It drew participants from the 6 Geopolitical Zones, and it was very rewarding. Over ninety abstracts were received, but about 60 participants actually attended the meeting. The 2nd CLN is planned for 2019.

2. The Workshop on the Languages of Nigeria (WLN) is planned to: hold at least once in a year, especially in alternation with the CLN meetings; strategise on the modus operandi of the Project; develop instruments for different aspects of the Project like Questionnaires for: Survey, Endangerment, Vitality, Classification, etc. Funding, support, etc. learn new skills or improve on old ones for different aspects of the documentation, description and revitalisation of Nigerian languages with hands-on exercises; publish the NLP Handbook Series where the developed instruments will be presented. The 1st WLN took place on the 7th December 2017 at the 30th CLAN, IAUE, Port Harcourt. The workshop aimed to: present the NLP Project to LAN and other stakeholders; to further our update on the NGLS Questionnaire Update; initiate and formally inaugurate the NIGERIAN linguist list (NLL). The 2nd WLN is planned for September 2018 to develop instruments for assessing vitality and endangerment of Nigerian languages.

Title: The Lower Cross Languages Project.
Status: Ongoing
Description: It documents the languages of the Lower Cross. This documentation begins with field trips and the traditional description of the languages, and then goes further to computationally document them. The LCL-Project, provides a systematic documentation of the languages and varieties of the Lower Cross subgroup spoken in Akwa Ibom State. It also plans to provide descriptions of the said varieties as well as grammars, dictionaries, orthographies, meta-language by way of empowering these languages to be effectively used in all spheres of life of Akwa Ibom State. From these, the speakers and others interested in these languages can draw from to produce primers, literary materials, etc. So far, this Project has produced an Ibibio dictionary: N᷃wed Usem Ibibio.

Title: The Prime Minister’s Initiative 2 Connect and Collaborative Programme Delivery Funding (2010) for review of curriculum, of the British Council.
Description: It was a tripartite collaboration designed to strengthen an earlier one, the ABUILD, which gave birth to the UNIUYO MA & PhD programmes in Computational Language Documentation. The objective of this new programme was to review the teaching of Language documentation in SOAS, UNIUYO and AAUA, and to further develop Language Documentation as a framework and field of research. This project was sponsored by the British Council under the PMI2 Connect and Collaborative Programme Delivery Funding–2010, and I was the Principal Nigerian Lead Partner of the project along with Professor Francis Oyebade, who was the second Nigerian Principal Lead Partner for the Adekunle AAjasin University, Akungba; and Dr. Soffie Salfner, who was the foreign Lead Partner fro School of Oriental and African Studies, London. We achieved the review of our MA program in Computational Language Documentation, in UNIUYO, introduction of Language Documentation courses in AAUA and strengthening of the Language Documentation programme in SOAS.