This work seeks to explain the attitudes exhibited by teenagers Uyo, AkwaIbom State to their Ibibio language.  Most work done in this field is centered on language loss/death.  Therefore this work will be concerned on the attitudes exhibited by teenagers to their Ibibio Language vis-à-vis English and pidgin and its effect.

The framework of this research is based on socio-linguistics approach of Baker (1992) in his work titled: Attitudes and Language.

This study is divided into five (5) chapters; chapter one is basically an introduction of the research to be carried out.  Chapter two is the reviewing of relevant and related literatures, chapter three deals with sources of data collection such as questionnaires only.  Chapter four highlights on language attitude among teenagers in Uyo and its effect (a brief discussion), and findings, while chapter five is conclusion and recommendations of the research, including references and appendix.


Title page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgement iv

Abstract vi

Table of Contents vii


1.1 Background of Study 1

1.2 Significance and Scope of Study 2

1.3 Purpose of this Study 3

1.4 Methodology 3

1.5 Statement of Problem 4


2.0 Concept of Attitude 5

2.1 Definition and Explanation of Language Attitude 8

2.2 Determinant of Language Attitude 11

2.2.1 The Home/Family 12

2.2.2 The Government 13

2.2.3 The School 15

2.2.4 Negligence/Ignorance 17


3.1 Description of Instruments (Questionnaire) 26

3.2 Population of the Study 27

3.3 Method of Data Analysis 27

3.4Data Presentation and Analysis28

3.5 Data Analysis 28


4.0 Result/Effect of Language Attitude 43

4.1Language Shift43

4.2Language Standardization45

4.3 Language Death 46


5.1 Conclusion 52

5.2 Recommendations 53

References 55

Appendix 58



1.1 Background of the Study

In the time past, language attitudes has been analyzed and debated upon with respect to how languages can be endangered, and how they can die.  The two main points to be considered in this research are:  attitude and language, and how teenagers manipulate them.  

Attitude is defined as the way that one thinks and feels about somebody or something, the way that one behaves towards somebody or something that shows how one thinks and feels.  While language is defined as the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country. Also, another dictionary definition of language is a particular style of speaking or writing.

So for the purpose of further development and preservation of the Ibibio Language, this research is going to be concerned with the behaviour exhibited by teenagers In Uyo, AkwaIbom State particularly those in the Uyo Local Government Area of the State to their indigenous language

1.2 Significance and Scope of the Study

The study “language attitudes among teenagers and its effects” is a study of how language is being approached and manipulated by teenagers in Uyo district of Uyo Local Government Area of AkwaIbom State, for their day-to-day interaction, fellowship and relationship.

1.3 Purpose of this Study

This research aims at seeing why teenagers behave the way they do to language (what influence and inform the behaviour so exhibited to language), see the effect of their behaviour on their indigenous language, and proffer possible solutions aimed at internalizing the language in the minds of these teenagers thereby preserving the language.

1.4 Methodology

In analyzing various related texts in relation to this field, a socio-linguistic method of approach is used in examining the behaviour or attitudes exhibited by teenagers in Uyo Local Government Area of AkwaIbom State to their indigenous language vis-à-vis English and pidgin.

Also, questionnaires are used in the observation of their attitude to language as a means of data collection.

1.5 Statement of the Problem

Most language users do not see the language that they speak as a definition of their race, their culture, and their personality.  Negligence, ignorance and quest to follow the current trend have left Africans in general and Nigerians in particular far from their root – their source/who they really are.

So in this research, ways in which we have drifted from our culture (through the embracing of a foreign language) are being elaborated upon, and suggestions on how to re-position our attitude to our indigenous language are made explicit.



2.0 Concept of Attitude

One of the subjects that socio-linguists are most interested in is the study of language attitudes.  Appel and Muysken (1987:16) is of the view that in any society, social or ethic groups have certain attitudes towards each other, relating to their differing social positions.  These attitudes affect attitudes towards cultural institutions or patterns characterizing these groups.  So based on these assumptions, this study argues that the fate of the Ibibio Language will most virtually depend upon a large degree on contemporary local linguistic attitudes.

So from the statement made above by Appel and Muysken (1987), it can be seen that the concept of attitude is the fact that languages are not only objective, socially neutral instruments for conveying meaning, but are linked up with the identities of social or ethic groups which has consequencies for the social evaluation of, the attitudes towards languages.

The concept of attitude is viewed from two (2) perspectives, they are:

1. Behaviourist approach

2. Mentalist approach

Accroding to Fasold (1984:147-148) under the behaviourist perspective of attitudes are to be found simply in the responses people make to social situations.  He further comments that this viewpoint makes research easier to undertake, since it requires no self reports or indirect inferences.  It is only necessary to observe, tabulate and analyze overt behaviour.  But for Agheyisi and Fishman (1970:138), they warned earlier that attitudes of this sort would not be quite interesting as they will be if they are defined mentalistically, because they cannot be used to predict other behaviour.  Fasold (1984) claims that the more straight forward behaviourist approach, to attitude is just one kind of response to a stimulus.

Also, the mentalist approach to attitudes is viewed as an internal, mental state, which may give rise to certain forms of behaviour.  It can be described as an intervening variable between a stimulus affecting a person and his/her response.  In this research the mentalistic approach will be adopted in examining the attitude of the AkwaIbom people to their language.  The thought behind the adoption of the mentalistic approach is that it provides interesting results that can be used to predict other behaviour.  Although, the mentalistic approach has been widely adopted by researchers of language attitude, it poses significant research problems because internal, mental states cannot be directly observed, but have to be inferred from behaviour or from self reported data/questionnaire.

2.1 Definition and Explanation of Language Attitude

This work adopts a descriptive research method into the attitudes exhibited by teenagers of AkwaIbomState to their language.  These attitudes are viewed in two ways:

1. Negative language attitude

2. Positive language attitude.

The word attitude is a commonly used term, and it is not restricted to only a particular class of people.

According to Bern (1968:68) “language attitude is simply one’s feelings towards language which may either be positive or negative, and which has the ability to affect the life and growth of the language”.  From the definition, it is explicit that if native speakers do not attach importance to their language and negligence begin to set in, then such language is being underutilized and may out of abandonment begin to die.

Ikhimwin (2011:234) defined attitude as “simply a behavioural pattern towards someone or something in a particular situation”.  From this definition it is quite obvious that the behaviour of a native speaker to his/her language is very necessary and it is the main concern of scholars researching on attitudes and language.  These behaviours that scholars center on, if positive will help to further preserve the language but if negative such languae is obviously heading towards extinction.

McGuire (1985:9) defines attitude as “that which locates objects of thought on dimensions of judgment”.  In accordance with this definition Adzen (1988:4) sees attitude as “an object, person, institution or event and as such has the ability of affecting that which it comes in contact with”.  This goes to show that individuals can be affected by economic or social status that will now stimulate a negative attitude or behaviour towards his/her own language thereby endangering the language in question due to social class or economic status.

Furthermore Adegbija (1994:38) says that “it is an evaluative judgment made about a language or its variety, its speakers, towards efforts at promoting, maintaining or planning a language, or even towards learning and teaching it”.

The life, growth and spread of any language, depend on the attitude of the speakers of the language.  For a language to be preserved or restored, then the attitude of its speakers must not be over emphasized.  The study of language attitude is important as it serves as the only measurement for language growth, decay or death, since language attitude cannot be observed directly.  People’s attitude or feelings is a yardstick to show the line in which their language is going (in terms of language growth or language death).  A positive attitude towards a language will encourage its growth, development and its chances of survival are wide.  On the other hand, negative attitudes towards languages have been recognized as the major causes of language endangerment or language death.



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