Endangered Language in Nigeria: A Case Study of Gera Language of Bauchi State
Garba, Furera Adamu
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This study investigated the endangerment of Gera language. It investigated the level of the endangerment of Gera language; the demographic variables associated with the endangerment, the impact of the shift on the structure of Gera language, and endeavored to find out if the Gera language is useful in defining the Gera identity. This was achieved through the use of two theoretical approaches: Sasse‟s Theory of Language Death and Gile‟s Ethno-linguistic Identity Theory (ELIT). The research adopted the descriptive research design in which the data was obtained and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.The sampling procedures adopted were the Stratified Random Sampling, Purposive Sampling and Snowball Sampling. The data collection procedures included interviews, focus group discussion, language use and attitude questionaire (LUAQ), Informant-Aided Participant Observation and Secondary data. The data was collected from five Gera settlements; namely Gilliri, Dabe, Tirwun Kangere and an area within Bauchi town which was mainly populated by Gera. The quantitative data was analyzed by using frequencies of the languages used in domains, patterns of language use, while the qualitative data from the interviews and the observation was grouped into themes which was formulated in accordance with the objectives of the study. The thesis has four analysis chapters: Chapter four identifies the level of endangerment of the Gera language; Chapter five investigated the demographic variables associated with the endangerment; Chapter six examined the impact of the shift on the structure of the Gera language; and Chapter seven endeavored to find out if the Gera language is useful in defining the Gera Identity. Theories adopted in the study were used to interpret the results. From the analysis, the study notes that only older respondents who are above 40 years can speak the Gera language. Also, that there are more male than female Gera speakers. It was also noted that those with little or no formal education and those residing in rural areas have the highest number of Gera speakers, compared to well educated people and those residing in urban areas. Also noted is that the Gera language borrowed heavily from Hausa, and a lot of code-switching and code mixing happens during speech by the Gera speakers. There is also a mophotactical adjustment of the borrowed words, and also the substitution of some Gera words for some Hausa words in speech.Finally the study observes that despite the dwindling of the number of the Gera speakers to a small number due to the shift to Hausa, Gera language remains the only way of identifying a Gera. Chapter seven presents the summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations for further studies.