The Impact of Vernacular Programmes in Preserving Indigenous African Culture

Essay, 2016

11 Pages, Grade: B


Vernacular Programmes and the Preservation of Indigenous African Culture


The Mass Media are considered principal institutions with the mandate to facilitate dialogue and provide relevant information to the citizenry. Through news and messages provided by these media members of the public get a better understanding of their society (McCombs and Shaw, 1993 cited in Browne, 2008). Dialogue carried out by humans especially through the instrumentality of the mass media mainly include exchange of information in a language understood by the people involved in the communication process. For this reason, effective, persuasive communication can only take place if a common language is used. Communicating in indigenous languages, it has been noted, enhances social cohesion, which facilitates the preservation of African cultures (Salawu, 2006).

These mass media have played cardinal human communication functions in society which include, survey of the environment to inform and warn (Surveillance), entertainment, education, information and socialization (Ukona, 2015). To accomplish these roles, the mass media use the amount of power allocated to them to transmit their signals (that is it content which is in consonant with their functions). Most especially, also, as it concerns this work, the mass media also play the function of transmission of cultural heritage. In the opinion of Lasswell and Wright (1987), this refers to the ability of the media to teach the various norms, rules, and values that exist in the society. This cultural heritage includes language.

Language, according to Sonderling (2009) cited in Mabika and Salawu (2014), is important and central in all aspects of our lives, from face-to-face situations to communication through the mass media”. For that reason, using indigenous languages to interact with the masses through the media, particularly radio, enhances the effectiveness of mass communication. Studies have shown that broadcasting in indigenous language through radio is the most effective since it reaches more peripheral areas than other media, and is easily understood by the audiences (Manyozo, 2009).

In Africa, radio is probably the most useful mass medium next to simplified forms of print and the poster. That is why Onabanjo (2002) says that radio is portable, accessible without electricity, relatively economical and almost universally available. Of course, large percentage of all state of the society access radio as a matter of course on a regular basis for entertainment, news, weather information, cultural programmes and regular service. More so, radio particularly increases access to and improve the quality of instruction to the listener/audience. Access to these modern mass media (radio, television, films) is also linked to individual modernity, hence, behavioural change of the audience, as, educational radio programmes was basically established as part of a formal school system. However, though it may be outside the classroom and yet remain instructional (Koike, 2000).

Koike (2000) also asserts that the use of indigenous language on radio programmes has implications for curriculum development, course construction, teacher training in a correctly balanced teaching system. He further explains that radio programmes however, will be used to improve knowledge when they have a unique contribution to the learning process. Most importantly, using radio programmes to teach will no longer be isolated from the conventional methods having to justify its use and its own merits. In line with this, Atamane (2006) suggests that if appropriately exploited, radio can bring authentic content to the classroom especially in the environment where it may not be easy to meet and communicate with native speakers of the language.

There is nothing too much then to argue that the use of vernacular programmes on AKBC radio is ideal. The presence of these programmes can be a strong sense of revival to indigenous languages as well as its culture generally. Our concern is to determine the perception of the audience towards these vernacular programmes in terms of relevance, consistency and credibility.

Statement of the Problem

Many scholars argue that the global spread and acceptance of English as a world lingua franca poses serious threats to the existence of most indigenous languages in Africa and the world over (Ndhlovu, 2004; Salawu, 2006; Magwa, 2008; Rao, 2009). However, Maseko and Moyo, (2013:252) argue that stronger indigenous languages also contribute to the killing of other smaller indigenous languages. For instance, Ibibio, Annang and Oro native speakers resident in Uyo the capital of Akwa Ibom State face the problem of diminished opportunities to use their indigenous language and to improve on their knowledge of the language and its cultural heritage. This is because the language of communication in the important domains of work, government bureaucracy, education, commerce and industry is mainly English.

In fact, the media is making things difficult at it has towed this direction in a majority of its programmes even the ones meant for a more localised audience. As a manner of concern, many students, now in Uyo do not have the opportunity of studying their indigenous languages and cultural norms in their schools. Due to lack of manpower, many schools are not teaching local language and culture in their schools. These students therefore lack knowledge in certain important areas such as vocabulary, myths and legends, cultural norms and practices etc. Even some of these students who are studying these languages in the secondary schools still have gaps in all those areas. As a result of this, the question bugging us to find answer to is; how do the Uyo residents perceive vernacular programmes on AKBC in terms of relevance, consistency, cultural promotion and credibility?

Research Objectives and Question

The objectives of this study were to: find out the features of vernacular programmes on AKBC radio; determine the relevance of these vernacular programmes to the audience; ascertain the impact of vernacular radio programme on preservation of local languages and culture; examine how Uyo residents perceive these vernacular programmes on AKBC radio.

The execution of this study will be guided by the following research questions: What are the major features of vernacular programmes on AKBC radio? How relevant are these vernacular programmes on AKBC radio to the audience? What is the impact of vernacular programme on AKBC radio on the preservation of local languages and culture? How do Uyo residents perceive the consistency of vernacular programmes on AKBC radio?

Definition of Terms

Vernacular: This refers the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in Nigeria as their mother tongue. Vernacular is used interchangeably with “indigenous languages” and “local language” in the course of this work. In the operation of this study, vernacular include: Annang Language, Ibibio Language, and Oro Language.

Credibility: This refers to the quality of a vernacular programme being trust worthy and reliable in terms of its moral content.

Relevance: In this work, a vernacular programme is rated as relevance if it can connect to topical issues that make up the matters at hand in society. That is, the programme has the ability to capture important and timely trends in society.

Perception: This refers to the idea or beliefs that one sees something and understands it.

Audience: This refers to the people that made up the listeners of the programme in general.

Communication and Language

According to Berlo (1960) cited by Sambe (2005) communication can be explained as the process that involves all acts of transmitting message to channels which like people to the languages and symbolic codes which are used for messages; the means by which messages are received and stored, the rules, customers and conventions which define and regulate human relationships are events. Notice from the definition above that communication entails a pattern of languages and symbolic codes. As far as communication is at the heart of all social intercourse, it maintains and animates life and at such should be intertwined with the language understood by the communication participations.

According to Asemah (2011), when information is passed between individuals, then, communication is believed to have taken place. In his words; “Communication is the process by which information is passed between individual. It is the system of passing information, ideas, messages, feelings, etc, between two or more people through previously agreed language, code, sign, or symbol. This implies that, for there to be any meaningful communication between or among language, code, symbol or sign…” Just like the definition by Berlo (1960) cited in Sambe (2005), Asemah (2011) lays emphasize also, on the need for an agreed upon language to regulate the communication process. That is, the particulate communication actors-sender and receiver would better understand themselves if they are guided by a language or symbol which they agree upon.


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The Impact of Vernacular Programmes in Preserving Indigenous African Culture
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impact, vernacular, programmes, preserving, indigenous, african, culture
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Edikan Ukpong (Author), 2016, The Impact of Vernacular Programmes in Preserving Indigenous African Culture, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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