FEL 2020 grant: Stories and literacy materials in Urhobo, Nigeria

This is the seventh grant awarded by FEL for 2020.

Overview. Urhobo is an endangered South-Western Ediod language spoken in northern Nigera. The Urhobo Studies Association has developed a 9-year basic education curriculum in a bid to revitalize the language. This is aimed at ensuring that the language is taught as a subject at primary and secondary schools where Urhobo is the local language. However, the lack of reading materials in Urhobo seems to limit all the efforts made so far. This project seeks to collect stories that are suitable for higher basic education reading material, develop them into reading materials, as well as develop questions to test comprehension of each story.

Grantee. This project is led by Emuobonuvie Maria Ajiboye

Emuobonuvie is from Oria-Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area, Delta State, Nigeria, and is married to a Yoruba man. She is one of the foundation members of the Urhobo Studies Association, domiciled in the Department of Languages and Linguistics, Delta State University, Abraka, and served as its first secretary. She was the first staff member to be engaged by the University to teach courses in Urhobo Language and Linguistics, and has supported use of the language in football commentaries, rap music, and some aspects of information technology. . She entered Urhobo language studies via an undergraduate field assignment in her second year at the University of Benin where students were asked to collect and document oral narratives from their home villages in their native tongue, and to translate them into English. She has attended training and conferences in Africa, the US, and Germany, is a Fellow of the National African Language Resource Centre, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a Fellow of Ife Institute of Advanced Studies of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. She is currently undertaking a PhD programme in syntax and semantics at the University of Benin, focusing on a morphosyntactic study of vowel reduplication in Urhobo.

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