M. Tabang Bisong, Kachua Effumbe


This study entitled ‘Language and the behavioural patterns of the Hausas, Ibos, and Yorubas of Nigeria’ is designed to find out whether or not language determines the behaviour of its speakers, using the Hausas, Ibos and Yorubas of Nigeria as a focal point. The theoretical linguistic tool adopted in this study is linguistic determinism championed by Edward Sapir (1884 – 1939) and his follower, Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897 – 1941) in the popular Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. To achieve the objective of this study, linguistic tools such as words, proverbs, idioms and wise-sayings relating to types of food, clothing (wears), politics, education, law and other aspects of the culture of each of the above linguistic communities were randomly collected (through interview) for the purpose of finding out whether any of them can be said to be responsible for any particular behaviour being exhibited by members of the linguistic community. The study unambiguously revealed, among others, that each of the words and expressions is either responsible for the thought pattern of its users, or for a particular behaviour being exhibited by the speakers of the language. This means that the Hausas, Yorubas, and Ibos of Nigeria view life along lines laid down by their respective native languages and as such are (behaviourally) distinct to the extent of the difference in the contents of their languages. Based on the above findings, recommendations are made to the Federal Government of Nigeria, school policy makers, curriculum developers and Language Engineers on how this conflict of thought pattern and world view, occasioned by heterogeneity of language (or culture) in Nigeria may best be handled for socio-political harmony, and peaceful co-existence.


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