The Orthography of Ekid Language


Languages have a lot in common despite their surface diversity. However, no two languages have the same phonological, morphological or even syntactic patterns. Each language is unique. The linguistic description of any language can contribute to a better understanding of the subject, language. Most languages of the world are not written. There is therefore a great need for many languages of the world to be reduced to writing, particularly languages spoken in Nigeria. Languages need to be protected since they store a lot of information about the history, culture and practices of the people who speak such languages, especially in societies which depend on oral transmission of their history.

A written language cannot be lost unless all traces of published works are lost. Language, which functions solely as the most effective medium of communication in all its ramifications, can only survive on the determination of its owners and / or users. If the owners of a language do not cherish, nurture and use their language, but prefer the use of an alien language. Then their language is doomed to extinction. The rapid endangerment and death of many minority languages across the world is a matter of widespread concern, not only among linguists and anthropologists, but among all those concerned with issues of cultural identity in an increasingly globalized culture. Language serves as a symbol of group identity and solidarity.

Current government interest in the use of minority languages of Nigeria in education directly challenges linguists to pay greater attention to reducing these minority languages to writing, The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria that the education of each Nigerian child should be started in the language of his immediate community provokes wider and further research into many Nigerian languages of which Ekid is one. Since most of these languages are unwritten or currently have inaccurate writing systems at variance with the facts of the languages, the linguist must of necessity attempt accurate analysis of them as the basis for the writing systems he will propose. In trying to base his proposals on accurate analyses, he will find himself face to face with the problem of changing established habits and matching theory against practice.


Chapter 1: Language, Language Development and Orthography Design

1.1 The Concept of Language
1.2 Language Development
1.3 Procedures for Language Development

      1.3.1 Selection
      1.3.2 Codification or Graphization
      1.3.3 Modernization
      1.3.4 Production of a Metalanguage

1.4 Principles of a Good Orthography

      1.4.1 Accuracy
      1.4.2 Consistency
      1.4.3 Convenience
      1.4.4 Harmonization
      1.4.5 Familiarity
Chapter 2: The Ekid People and Their Language

2.1 Historical Background of the Ekid People
2.2 The Ekid Language: Classification, Speakers and Historical Development

      2.2.1 Classification
      2.2.2 Historical Development

2.3 The Need for the Development of Ekid Orthography

Chapter 3: The Sound System of Ekid

3.1 The Ekid Consonants

      3.1.1 The Phonetic Consonants
      3.1.2 Phonetic Description of Ekid Consonants
      3.1.3 Distribution of Ekid Phonetic Consonants
      3.1.4 The Syllabic Nasals
      3.1.5 The Geminate Consonants
      3.1.6 The Phonemic Consonants
      3.1.7 Additional Explanation

3.2 The Vowel System of Ekid

      3.2.1 The Phonetic Vowels
      3.2.2 Phonetic Description of Ekid Vowels
      3.2.3 Distribution of Ekid Phonetic Vowels
      3.2.4 Diphthongs in Ekid
      3.2.5 Vowel Length
      3.2.6 Vowel Harmony
      3.2.7 The Phonemic Vowels

3.3 Additional Explanation
3.4 The Syllable Structure of Ekid

      3.4.1 Syllable Structure Types in Ekid

3.5 Tone Representation in Ekid

      3.5.1 Distribution of Tones in Ekid
      3.5.2 Tonal Patterns in Ekid

3.6 Phonemic Contrast of Tones in Ekid

Chapter 4: The Orthography

4.1 The Alphabet
4.2 The Orthography

      4.2.1 Digtraph
      4.2.2 Diacritics
      4.2.3 Letters with Unusual Values

4.3 Distinctive Feature Analysis of the Phonemic Sound Segments of Ekid

      4.3.1 Distinctive Features of Ekid Phonemic Vowels
      4.3.2 Distinctive Features of El-rid Phonemic Consonants
Chapter 5: Residual Issues

5.1 Challenges in Writing and Reading Ekid
5.2 The Communicativeness of Ekid Language and Culture
5.3 Sample Reading

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