Journal of West African Languages

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A realistic orthography for Ò̩kọ A realistic orthography for Ò̩kọ



Interest in writing Ò̩kọ, a language of the Ogori and Magongo people in Kogi state, Nigeria, dates back to the 1970s. The attempts by several local speakers to produce short texts in the language is indicative of this interest; but such efforts have been marked by inconsistencies. Over the decades, a workable or accepted writing system has been difficult to evolve. Orthographies (alphabet) proposed by a few scholars have varying levels of acceptability and systematicity; some due to authors’ lack of linguistic expertise in language description, while others require greater linguistic rigor to be realistic. The goal of this article, therefore, is to propose a realistic orthography for Ò̩kọ users. The work is based on over 30 years of elicited oral data, documenting different contexts of use of the language, mainly in audio and audio-visual formats. This has been followed by a careful systematic linguistic analysis (including phonological) of some of the data. It is discovered that, while the orthography is typical of the West-Benue language family under which Ò̩kọ has been classified (Ethnologue), some of the assumptions by most other authors require serious review. The findings include a sound system with 28 phonemes but 27 realistic orthographic characters.


Volume Number 46.1
Topic #1 Orthography
Topic #2 Orthography
Author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Language English
Language Family Other Benue-Congo
Subject Language Oko

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