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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Creating 'Union Ibo': Missionaries and the Igbo Language
Author:Van den Bersselaar, Dmitri
Year:1997
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:67
Issue:2
Pages:273-295
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:missions
Igbo
Igbo language
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161445
Abstract:It has been argued that certain ethnic groups in Africa owe their existence to the 'invention' of their language by missionaries who created a written dialect - based on one or more vernacular(s) - into which they translated the Bible. In the case of the Igbo language, the history of the Christian Missionary Society's efforts at creating a written standard Igbo shows that this process was not always straightforward. Since the 1850s, CMS missionaries made continual attempts at creating a written form of Igbo, but it took half a century before they produced the first translation of the Bible. By that time, they had created a new Igbo dialect, based on several existing dialects, which they named Union Igbo. From the start, the missionaries were faced with resistance to the introduction of Union Ibo, in particular from Onitsha, and although they forced some vernacular education upon the population of Igboland, most Igbo were far more interested in education in English. Union Igbo was a failure and its impact appears to have been limited. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.
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