Cultural Dominance and Language Endangerment: The case of Efut in Cross River State, Nigeria



Okon, M.M. & P. Noah


Work Unit:

University of Calabar, Nigeria; University of Calabar, Nigeria


Vol.9 No.1 (Serial No.14) 2021






The Efut culture, and by extension language, seems to have been mortally threatened after their speakers’ migration to Nigeria from Cameroun in the 16th Century. The linguistic situation resulting in language shift was especially exacerbated in the last seven decades, largely due to the dominant cultural influence of Efik, Ibibio and English. The most ostensive vestige of the language manifests in the Ekpe ‘Leopard’ secret society songs, rituals and proverbs (performed by, and intelligible mostly to octogenarians). The Efut language sociolinguistic status is between post moribund and dead stage(s). This paper attempts, therefore, to x-ray ways to revitalize and revive it. Two such revival strategies are the use of digital communication technology and Efut in Nollywood movies. Data for this work came mainly from songs, proverbs, interviews, wordlist and available historical literature. The prognosis for reviving Efut appears realistically poor, at present. However, with appropriate input and pragmatic will from all stakeholders, it would be hasty, uncharitable, to consign the language to irreversible extinction. This optimism is sustainable only if language engineers, policymakers and the Efut nation do not continue to sit on the fence.

Key Words:

Efut, Balondo, language endangerment, cultural dominance, language engineers, reversing language shift


doi: 10.26478/ja2021.9.14.8


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