Language and gender in Nigeria: perception, patterns and prospects

Type Working Paper
Title Language and gender in Nigeria: perception, patterns and prospects
Language, unfortunately is amongst the least understood concepts ever studied.
Paradoxically virtually everyone believes they 'know' much, if not all about language.
Some may even, in response to the challenge implicit in this assertion, rattle off in
their mother language or any other to show their fluency and 'presumed' excellence in
language use. But does fluency in the use of a language constitute knowledge and
effectiveness in the language? It is doubtful. Bloomfield, 1933 in a sound
consideration of the issue of linguistic research and general assumptions about language,
rendered a treatise that in all fair considerations has proved prophetic and confirmed over
the years this dilemma of language learning, comprehension and use.
Bloomfield remarks
The most difficult step in the study of language is the first step.
Again and again scholarship has approached the study of language without
actually entering upon it (Bloomfield, 1933 p.21)
What is this first step? One may ask. I would humbly submit that in my understanding the
first step is the erroneous assumption that we know all about language. Bloomfield's
Assertion came several years before the manifestation of Digitized language, that is
computer language - yet another type of language. However, for the avoidance of doubt
here this paper is focused more on human language (HL) and Human Language
Technology (HLT) than other forms of language.

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