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Uda

Classification: Lower Cross, Delta Cross, Cross River, Benue-Congo, Niger-Congo. [ISO 639-3: uda]

Uda is the name of the people who live in Mbo Local Government of Akwa ibom State in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The language is endangered; the Ethnologue lists 10,000 speakers, but the people put it at approximately 25,000. The major sources of endangerment may be from the neighbouring Oro, possibly also Efik as well as the English language, which serves as the official language and language of formal education in Nigeria. Connell has about a 500 wordlist on Lower Cross languages including Uda, in addition to a preliminary description of the phonology of the language by Urua (2011).

Language Consultants: Prince Chris Abasi Eyo: Both my parents of blessed memory were of Uda royal descent. I lived and grew up under them, and went to primary and secondary schools in and around Uda country until I was 20 years old—at that time I was deemed mature enough to leave home. Away from home, I continued to live with my senior siblings where Uda language remained the main stay of our domestic means of communication. Even in this fast westernizing urban culture, my children speak Uda at home. On average, I use Uda in around 80 – 90% of my daily interactions. My wife, who was born an Anaang woman, has had her maiden tongue dwarfed by the Uda language used predominately in my home. As a broadcaster in the 1990s, I was a news translator of the Uda (Mbo) language, while working with the Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation. At the moment, I am a member of Oro (the parent language group of Uda) Orthography Development Committee, set up by the Oron Union. Besides my close contact with Uda and her culture, like my ancestors I am highly revered by the Uda people. As one of a few with the richest Uda vocabulary, I am one of the best bets for this assignment.

Barrister Mfon Ibok Asanaenyi: I have spoken the Uda language from the womb so to speak. My mother is Uda, and is uneducated. My father though well educated spoke Uda fluently, so the language used at home was Uda.

Instructor: Eno-Abasi Urua, Ph.D. is a Professor of Linguistics and current Director of International Programmes, University of Uyo in Nigeria. Professor Urua has taught and researched in Linguistics (Phonetics and Phonology, Language Documentation of Lower Cross languages) in the University system for upwards of 25 years. In the course of her professional career, she has been an Association of Commonwealth Universities Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland (1993-1994), a visiting research scholar, Department of Linguistics, University of London (1999) and an Alexander von Humboldt (Georg Foster) scholar at the Fakultaet fuer Linguistik und Literaturwissenschaft, Universitaet Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany (2000-2001). Professor Urua has partnered with Nigerian and international scholars in documenting and describing Nigerian languages which led to the establishment of a graduate programme in language documentation in 2005, the first such graduate programme in a Nigerian university. Professor Urua has publications in local and international journals.


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