Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 122

Article in Press

PRELIMINARIES TO KIONG ORTHOGRAPHY

Margaret Mary P. Okon

  •  Received: 04 August 2017
  •  Accepted: 27 February 2018
Kiong is a Delta-Cross language spoken in Odukpani and Akamkpa LGAs in Cross River State by the Okoyong people. Variants of the language names are Kurop, Korop ,Korup, Akayom, Okonyong and Dorup. The Okoyong claim a Bantu origin, from the South Central Africa. Migration is said to have brought them to Cameroon, where they lived for decades before their final settlement in Nigeria. A remnant of Kiong-speaking people still live in Cameron today. The Kiong language is in a precarious state with regard to its future survival. It has no enviable literary culture. Only few speakers are alive today, spread over Ekongatanako, Ankiong, Onim and Ekori Clans in Cross River State and the Mundemba area in Cameroon. Kiong seems threatened by its speakers, especially, as majority of them do not speak the language, and by the influence of Efik and English. The use of Efik and English in the cultural, religious (western), commercial and educational life of the people has adversely affected the growth of Kiong. This fact is aptly captured in Okon and Noah (2009). Indeed, the number of Kiong speakers has drastically decreased over time. Furthermore, the geographical location of the Kiong language community does not help matters. It is hemmed in by other cultures of greater educational and commercial eminence (Efik, Ejagham/Qua)"(p.319). Kiong is in a moribund state because it has “ no native speakers in the youngest generation”, Eiselohr (2004:2). As if to exacerbate the situation, Kiong has no formal orthography or official status. It is not used in the media, education or administration. At present, Kiong is barely kept on the life support via local cultural ceremonies and the meetings of the Okoyong Development League. In Adegbija’s (2000:284) analogy, Kiong is one of the “over 90% African languages…that exist as if they don’t really exist… that live without being really alive”. If the bleak linguistic fortune of Kiong is to be reversed, it will need more than these mundane usages. The time for language experts, educationists and native speakers to re-double revitalisation efforts is now. Hence, this preliminary attempt towards codifying Kiong whose ethnic population is estimated at 570 by Simons & Fennig (Eds, 2017)