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Is Guosa Nigeria’s Long-awaited Indigenous Lingua Franca?

[B] Is Guosa Nigeria’s long-awaited indigenous lingua franca?[/B]

By IKEOGU OKE

Sunday, December 24, 2006

[QUOTE]

It began like a child’s play in 1965. Forty-one years later, the dream is within the realms of possibility. Alex Igbineweka, who evolved the new language, Guosa, believes that there is no need searching for an indigenous Nigerian Nigeria lingua franca when Guosa has all it takes to be just that.

Before the first utterance of Guosa was made in 1965, there was an agitation in Nigeria to have common languages for communication by all the ethnic groups after the 1960 political independence from Britain.

That led to the approval of nine Nigerian languages, including Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Edo, Fulfude, Efik, Izon, etc., by the government for media broadcast. As a young boy growing up in Nigeria then, Igbineweka was fascinated by the variety of languages in the country he was listening to on the TV. Out of curiosity, he began to acquire the various vocabulary structures.

An indigene of Edo State with Edo language as his mother tongue, when Igbineweka migrated to Enugu in the early 1960s, something amazing happened. He was set out to learn Igbo language, but found himself interlarding it with Edo language.

“I was unable to speak Igbo fluently, neither could I speak Edo fluently; I was missing them up,” he told Sunday Sun on recent visit to Nigeria from his base in the US.

In 1964, he told his family that he would like to be identified as somebody who would evolve a new language, but they made a jest of him, telling him to have a better dream. In 1965, when he came to Lagos to settle, his attempt to learn and speak Yoruba was similar to his experience with Igbo in Enugu. “I found myself mixing Yoruba with English. That was unusual, because for many people, it was common to mix Edo with English, but, in my own case, I was mixing Edo with Yoruba.”

Of course, that was a telltale sign that he was cut out to evolve a new language. The heartwarming piece of news is that Guosa is now an international language and has gradually spread its tentacles in international academic institutions worldwide. The American Heritage University in Southern California, for example, has adopted it as a subject.

Right now, anybody can apply to study Guosa language in the university and the university is ready to endow the language for research. Interestingly, West Contra Costa Unified School District Adult Education Dept, California, has included the language into its school syllabus. In both schools, Igbineweka teaches the language to students and the schools take enrollment fees from the students who study it.

Is it not surprising that while Guosa is making inroad into America education system, the reverse is the case in Nigeria? Igbineweka told Sunday Sun that when he first evolved the language in Nigeria, he tried all his best to get the Ministry of Education to support it, but instead of commendations, his initiative was criticized for lacking relevant parts of speech. He was disappointed in the position of the ministry, because it is not proper to use anglophone language to judge an African language.

“In the west, once you create something new, they encourage you, but here, they discourage you,” he lamented, adding that such a thing contributes to brain drain in the country.

Before travelling to the United States, he had worked extensively on the structure of the language, little wonder that he did not find it difficult to get the approval of the American authorities. What’s more, the language now has a dictionary. It took him nine years to write the dictionary of Guosa language vocabulary (about forty thousand words).

One of the problems of Nigeria, he said, is the multiple language we have, but experience has shown that any country that wants to be formidable and stay together must have one language. The leading countries of America, Europe and Asia are examples. Thus, he recommends Guosa language as Nigeria’s lingua franca.

Already there are indications that language would be acceptable by Nigerians. On November 23, 2006, it had its first trial in the country at the Training College, Moson College, Festac Town, Lagos, with thirty students. “The students were highly motivated,” he enthused.

He is, therefore, calling on the National Council for Arts and Culture and other relevant agencies to collaborate with him to realize the dream of having an “ultimate” Nigerian lingua franca. “If Nigeria will stay together, the new language will be Guosa,” he emphasized. “I am following the great steps of great people to make my own innovation. This is my own contribution to Nigeria,” he affirmed.

Below are the English translations of some Guosa words: àbíncí (food), gbóntì (hear/listen), in mo ng shìengá (I am going). The word “Guosa” is derived from Igbineweka’s Edo middle name, because when he evolved, it he did not want to use the name of any Nigerian language for it. But he hopes that if it is accepted as Nigeria’s lingua franca, the name of the language could as well be called Nigerian, just like in Chinese, German French, among others.

Unlike the aborted Wazobia language, Guosa language is formulated from both the major languages and other minority languages in Nigeria. (Photo caption: Guosa Language Train-the-Trainer Programme at Ikeja Snr. Gram. School, Lagos, recently.)[/QUOTE]

www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/literari/2006/dec/24/literari-24-12-2006-003.htm

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21 answers

na which time man pikin go take learnt this one?

we nvr finish learning our mother tongue na new language.

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CHILD IS GREATER THAN MONEY

Yoruba-----Omoboriowo

Igbo-------Nwaka Ego

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we are not talking about english helping us or not what i am saying is that having english as our official languge makes us to be in league of speakers of the most widely used language in the whole world. let me tell you Uganda, kenya and tanzania have their regional language they call swahili, they still use English as the official language, we have our Igbo, Hausa Yoruba Efik, Tiv etc etc we can keep all these and use english as the official language. and of what use is a completely new language? have you thought of the logistics like getting teachers to do the teaching?

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I dnt agree with u.How has English helped us

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any new languge is needless English, our official language is enough it is the 'language of the world' if can not speak English you can not work in the UN. it is the language of sports, all sports stars both male and female all over the world know this that is why they learn to speak it.

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Any site to check?Pidgin is the best

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guosa ko, gatrso ni, abeg comot jare , apart from englisg , i suppoort pigeon 24/7 , gusta abi wetin u call am sucks!!

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somebody said China is encouraging their people to learn English language and at the same time encouraging other nationals to learn Chinese. East Africa has a common language called Swahili and they all understand it and this to me is being independent and not calling yourself independent and at the same time dependent on your colonial masters language for communication. if left to me a new lingua franca is welcomed without discarding English language and both could be combined like the East Africans do with Swahili

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unit you spoke my mind dearie. @tellmemore: Are you kust being cynical or you are such a destructive critic? whether you like it or not, Nigerians post here and it would be highly unpatriotic for any one of us to see such statements about our contry and keep mum. akara, please deal with him

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Looking for a Nigerian language was probably a mistake in the first place.

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Pidgin is fine.Ha dt one go come be WASSCE.

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I dont think the Alex guy is a very serious guy.

How the hell did he think such thing will work in Naija?

In Asia, epecially China; their govt is encouraging English lang., because of its relevance in the economic sector.

And someguy is down there talking about GBOSA, sorry guosa.

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instead of developing and expanding pidgin English as our second language, they are talking of Guosa or what. More people in Naija speak and understand pidgin English than any other language.

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tell them to leave poo for latrin abi how them dey spell

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Why introduce another language when English that is supposedly the language of business is being butchered left and right. The world is fast becoming a global village and the more the international languages u can speak the better for u (especially in business) so to say. I'm not against the protection of our culture/heritage, reinventing one is unnecessary, a waste of scarce resources by me!

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That's rubbish

English is the best for now and no magic can change English as our lingua franca.

So damn it

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May be for the coming generation. But for me ah ah. How many can even speak English successfully, less talk of Gbosa Guosa.

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a new language who will learn how 2 speak it?hell no

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