A Sociolinguistic Assessment of Language Shift in Hyam





Sociolinguistics, Linguistic domination, Dialect, Nativity, Multilingualism


This paper dubbed “A Sociolinguistic Assessment of language shift among Hyam speakers”

examines the sociolinguistic concepts of language shift and its resultant effect of language death or extinction. This is against the backdrop that like many other minority languages, the Hyam language is still in competition with other more sophisticated and standard linguistic codes. To achieve this aim, a total of two hundred (200) structured questionnaires are administered to both the home and the Diaspora populations respectively. findings reveal that even though people speak the language with their children and still have native-like competence, a greater number of them still speak or prefer other language varieties. They equally do not use the language with their friends or non-native speakers because it is not mutually intelligible. Nevertheless, the degree of solidarity and loyalty for the Hyam language are still very high regardless. It is however disturbing to say that the language is not standardized, literatures are very much lacking in the language, making teaching and learning in it somewhat challenging; and it is still incapable of performing modern functions typical of a metropolitan variety. It is on this light that this research is quick to state, and also by way of recommendation, that if something is not done soon and fast particularly in the area of instruction, documentation and standardization, the shift though gradual for now, may become irreversible and language death may therefore become inevitable.


Metrics Loading ...


Abu kyari, D. (2020). Personal Interview. Hyam Bible Translation Headquarters.

Akindele, Femi., & Adegbite, Wale. (1999). The sociology and politics of English in Nigeria: An introduction. Obefemi Awolowo University Press.

Akmajian, A., Demers. A. R., Farmer, K.A., & Harnish, M.R. (2001). Linguistics: An introduction to language and communication. MIT Press.

Alaoyo, A. Ayo. (2007). Introduction to sociolinguistics. Ogunleye Publishing and Printing Press.

Austin, P. and Simpson, A. (2007). Endangered languages: Language loss and community response. Cambridge University Press.

Babarinde, Olusanmi., & Nwosu, Chika, Florence. (2019). Language shift and attrition: Typical sociolinguistic phenomenon in Nigeria. Journal of Languages, Linguistics and Literary Studies, Vol. 9.

Bailey, R. (1991). Images of English: A cultural history of the language. Cambridge University Press.

Bamgbose, A. (1993). Language and the nation: The language question in sub-saharan Africa. Edingburg University Press.

Batibo, H. (2005). Language decline and language death in Africa. Multi Lingual Matters Ltd.

Brezinger, M. (1991). Language death factual and theoretical explorations with special reference to East Africa. Mounton de Grugter.

Carnie, A. (2 007). Analyzing sociolinguistics. Blackwell Publishers.

Campbell, Lyle. (1992). Language death. In Keith Brown and Nigel Vincent (eds), The Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Aberdeen University Press.

Christopher, M, Nkechi. (2014). Linguistic diversity, code switching and language shift in Nigeria. Journal of Siberian Federal University, Humanities & Social Science, Vol 3.

Coulmas, F. (1999). The far East. In J.A Fishman (ed), Handbook of language and ethnic identity. Oxford University Press.

Crystal, D. (2000). Language death. Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. (2008). A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics. Blackwell.

Crystal, D. (2004). Creating a world of languages. Lingua Pax.

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language. Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. (2000). Language death. Cambridge University Press.

Dega, Aondona. (2014). Language endangerment: Globalisation and the fate of minority languages in Nigeria. Conference Paper. LAN.

Dorian, Nancy, C. (1981). Language death: The life circle of a Scottish Gaelic dialect. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. Longman.

FAQ. Endangered languages. Unesco.org.n.d

Essien, O.E. (2001). The Minority question revisited in four decades in the study of languages and linguistics in Nigeria: A Festschrift for Kay Williamson. National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN).

Fasold, Ralph. (1994). The sociolinguistics of language. Blackwell.

Fishman, J.A. (1991). Language maintenance and the role of the family among Immigrants groups in the United States: Persian-speaking Bahasis, Cantonese, Urdu, Spanish& Japanese: An expository study.

Goddard, C. Semantic Analysis. USA: Oxford UP, 1997.

Gumpez, J.J. (1997). Language and social Identity. Cambridge University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotics. Cambridge University Press.

Halsted, L., Murphy, k., &Huizen, A. N. (2015). Bilingual code switching in an experimental Setting and identity language heritage influences related to any observed code switching. Brighton Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science. 11 (4): 1-13.

Hayab, R. (2016). Basic Hyam grammar with enthnographic notes. Beltina Digital Press.

Holmes, J. (2013). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Routledge.

Huang, Y, (2007). Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

Hudson, R. A. (1996). Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press.

Ibileye, G. S., &Bosan, R. (2013). Meaning relations in computer-mediated communication. A Journal of English and Literature, Vol. 1.

International Telecommunication Union itc.com16 Nov. 2009.Web.n.pag

James, Paul. (2006). Globalism, nationalism, tribalism. London: Sage Publications.

Janse, Mark. (2002). “Aspects of bilingualism in the history of the Greek language”.Adams, Janse& Swan.

Jones, M.C., & Singh, I. (2005). Exploring language change. Blackwell Publishing.

Jowitt, D. (2010). Christianity: A concise history. Kraft.

Kaplan, R. (2010). The Oxford handbook of applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Kristin, D, A. L. (2010). Linguistics for everyone. Wadsworth.

Labov, W. (1972). Sociolinguistic patterns. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Language vitality and endangerment (2003). UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages

Longe, V.U., & Ofuani, O. A. (1996). English language and communication. Ilupeju.

Martin, N.J., & Nakayama, T. K. (2010). Intercultural communication in Contexts. Higher Education.

McGregor, W.B. (2009). Linguistics: An introduction. Continuum International Publishing Group.

Michael, Krauss. (1992). The world’s languages in crisis.

Nelson, Diane. (2001). Language death. The Routledge Companion to Sociolinguistics

Omachonu, G.S. (2014). Language documentation: A dependable linguistic practice for minimizing the effects of endangerment languages in Nigeria. A Conference Paper. LAN.

Onah, P. E. (2015). “English language in Nigeria and the variety question”: Voices a Journal of English Studies, Kaduna State University, Vol No 2.

Osakwe, Mabel. (2012). Language, communication and human capital development in a globalized world.Kraft Books Limited.

Ostler, N. (2011). Language endangerment. In Cambridge Handbook of Sociolinguistics (ed) Raj Mesthrie and Walt Wolfan, 315-334. Cambridge University Press.

Romaine, S. (1992). Bilingualism. Blackwell.

Rymer, Russ. (2012). Vanishing voices. National Geographic Magazine.

Sapir, Edward. (1963). Language: An introduction to the study of speech. Report Hart-Davis.

Sasse, Hans-Jurgen. (1992). Theory of language death, language decay, and contact-induced change: similarities and differences. In M. Brenzinger (ed), Language death: Factual and theoretical explorations with special reference to East Africa. Mouton de Gruyter.59-80.

Schmitt, N. (2002). An introduction to applied linguistics. Hodder Arnold.

Simpson, A. (2008). Language and national identity in Africa. Oxford University Press

Smith, F., & Miller, G.A. (1968). The genesis of language-A psycholinguistic approach. The MIT Press.

Tsunoda, Tasaku. (2005). Language endangerment and language revitalization. Mouton De Gruyter.

Ugot, M. (2010). Code switching and code mixing in a multilingual base Local Government Area in Cross River State, Nigeria. Global Journal of Humanities, Vol (8) No

Usman, Bukar. (2014). Language disappearance and cultural diversity in Biu Emirate. Kladimas

Ward Haugh, R. (2010). Introduction to sociolinguistics. Wilwy-Blackwell.

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.

Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. UNESCO.

Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Culture. UNESCO



DOI: 10.53032/tcl.2022.7.6.03
Published: 2022-12-30

How to Cite

Ndaks Kingsley Fumen, & Dr. Hannatu Kwasau. (2022). A Sociolinguistic Assessment of Language Shift in Hyam. The Creative Launcher, 7(6), 19–34. https://doi.org/10.53032/tcl.2022.7.6.03



Research Articles