A Survey of Language Use by Speakers of Minor Nigerian Languages in the Social Media Spaces


  • Philip Oghenesuowho Ekiugbo Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, National Institute for Nigerian Languages, Aba, Nigeria
  • Eyankuaire Moses Darah Department of Languages and Linguistics, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria


Minor language, Social media, Facebook, Nigeria, Communication, Twitter


This study presents a sociolinguistic survey of language use by native speakers of minor Nigerian languages on two social media platforms, viz., Facebook and Twitter. Social contexts that are characterised linguistically by the use of more than one language create room for interlocutors to make linguistic choices. Given that social media serves as one of the major means of communication in today’s society, with some of its users being bilingual or multilingual, this opens up the possibility for users to make choices on the basis of some parameters. The goal of this study is therefore, among other things, to examine whether or not the choice of a minor Nigerian language is often made during communication on social media platforms and the factors that influence their extent of use. Data for the study was elicited from 120 L1 speakers of minor Nigerian languages who are users of Facebook and/or Twitter. The instrument for eliciting the data is a 21-item, self-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was subjected to test-retest to ensure internal consistency. Presentation and analysis of data were done using descriptive frequency. The study found that Nigerian minor languages are underrepresented in the social media space. Even in intra-ethnic communication, speakers prefer English over their mother tongue. This is similar to having the English language take over the home domain, as is the case with most minor Nigerian languages.