The president of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria recently announced that more than 50 minority Nigerian languages might become extinct in a few years – and now someone else has come along with a similar, but less believable claim.
Dahunsi Akinyemi, a language teacher and author of Ede Yoruba ko Gbodo Ku (Yoruba Language Must Not Die), recently shared his worries about the fate of the third most popular Nigerian language, yoruba, and why it may die out in 20 years or less (sounds like a reach, but ok).
Yoruba will be extinct in 20 years? How, abeg?
During an interview with Punch, Akinyemi said he was forced to write his book in an attempt save the the yoruba language:
“I decided to publish a unique book on Yoruba language because of the realisation that the language is gradually becoming endangered — if we go by UNESCO classification.”
Akinyemi, like most older Nigerians, hates the fact that there are children born and bred in Lagos by Yoruba parents who cannot say a phrase as simple as "Mo fe jeun" (I want to eat) – because their parents regard English as a symbol of social status (wait, people actually think that?)
While we do not agree with the prediction, his suggestions for preserving the culture aren't half bad
He suggests that to save the "situation", Nigerian languages should be made compulsory for students and it should be added to the curriculum.
Akinyemi also added that elders, parents and guardians should stop referring to the language as "vernacular" but should act as "custodians of the culture."