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The main purpose of the work is to investigate the sociolinguistic analysis of ibibio folksongs in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. In the course of this work, three objectives were set and three research question were also formulated. Elicitation method was used for data collection while simple random sampling technique was used to choose its respondent. A descriptive research design was used in the study. The population of the study was fifteen people selected from three core Ibibio speaking local government areas of AkwaIbom State namely, Uyo, Ikono and Itu. In the course of this research, various Ibibio folksongs were surveyed of which seven(7) was used for this research purpose. The songs were notably categorized into segments such as peace, war, marriage history songs among others. It was concluded that Ibibio folksongs have element of categories in the life of people involved. The sociolinguistic analysis of Ibibio folksongs, with a focus on variables like peaceful coexistence, love, and unity, offers a fascinating exploration into the cultural and social dynamics of the Ibibio community. Ibibio folksongs, deeply rooted in the community’s language and traditions, provide a unique lens through which to examine how language, music, and cultural expression intersect to promote values crucial for community cohesion. This analysis delves into the role of these folksongs in celebrating the Ibibio identity, conveying messages of peace and togetherness, and instilling a sense of unity and love among the people. It underscores the importance of folk music not only as an art form but as a powerful instrument for sustaining and enhancing harmonious coexistence, love, and unity within the Ibibio community.














  • Introduction

According to Holmes, sociolinguistic is the study between societies. Consequently, sociolinguistic is concerned with the relationship between the cultural context in the region. The tax of sociolinguistic is to describe how language works in our everyday lives, especially how people in certain areas or situation may speak in different language variations.

Various areas are presented in songs and this determines the form of the song. A song can be monologue as in dirge or in the form of conversation as the ones rendered by drunks in the drinking spot, children in the playground or people in the farm doing communal labour. These songs are usually rendered by members of the society who have wider knowledge of the society where language is used interpreted and understood among a particular people, class, and communicators of whatever kind.

Sociolinguistic analysis of Ibibio folk songs involves studying the linguistic and social elements embedded in these traditional musical expressions of the Ibibio people. By exploring language use, dialectical variations, cultural context, and societal influences within these songs, one can gain insights into how language and culture intertwine to shape the identity and communication practices of the Ibibio community. This analysis delves into the unique linguistic features, sociolects, semantic nuances, and historical aspects of Ibibio folk songs, shedding light on the rich sociolinguistic fabric of the Ibibio people.

1.1       Background of the Study.

            It is irrefragable that Ibibio is one of the ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.Ibibio is the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria after the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The Ibibio people live and occupy what is politically known as Akwa Ibom State today in an area of land in the extreme southern corner of Nigeria. The available written evidence today suggests that the Ibibio’s once lived and developed the town called Arochukwu, in the present Abia state before coming to Ibom village.Ibibio is like most cultures that is not void of songs.The Ibibio people, known for their rich cultural heritage and diverse linguistic traditions, have a deep-rooted connection with folk songs as a means of communication and cultural expression. Ibibio folk songs encompass a wide array of themes, including love, marriage, communal experiences, folklore, spiritual beliefs, historical events, and societal norms (Uya, 2020). These songs have been passed down through generations orally, reflecting the linguistic and cultural evolution of the Ibibio people.

Folk songs are traditional songs that have been passed down through generations within a particular community, culture, or region (Kennedy, 2021). These songs are typically orally transmitted and reflect the cultural, historical, and social aspects of the people who sing them. Folk songs are an essential part of a society’s cultural heritage and serve various purposes, including; cultural preservation which often contain stories, beliefs, and customs of a particular culture or community.  Samuel (2019) opined that folksongs serve as a means of preserving and passing down cultural traditions and values to future generations.It also serves as historical documentation;many folk songs have historical significance, recounting events, battles, or moments in a community’s history. They can provide valuable insights into the past and how people experienced and interpreted historical events.Social commentary,entertainment and celebration,identity and connection language and linguistic variation,cultural exchange, education among others are the uses of folksongs.

Folksong commonly derive their names from the different occasions on which they are performed Chukwuma (2014). In Ibibio society, folksongs are classified into different categories such as praise songs, tale songs, work songs, omen songs, satirical songs, lullaby songs, games songs, deterrent song and heroic songs. Adali-Morty (2019) Comments that “These songs can be song only on the appropriate occasion. One does not sing a mourning song unless a death has actually occurred. Even to sing a farming song at home in the village, or sing a hunting song without a cause, one has to apologies first to the gods. It is sacrilegious to sing these when feeling, have not been aroused or when it is not intended to arouse feelings”.

Ibibio folksongs are varied and are as numerous as the occasions that give rise to them. Uya (2020). Has it that Ibibio folksongs are classified into work songs, children play songs marriage songs, dirges, vulgar songs, chants and invocation. Ibibio folksongs are part and parcel of a community’s customs, beliefs, and tradition as they have been entrenched to the people’s consciousness.  Each generation team the songs, Imbibe the values and meanings conveyed by the song. The song serve as bridges linking the past to the present and from generation to generation.

Samuel, (2019) in his study said that traditional ethnic music, notably folksongs, as a culture indicator provides an avenue for clear expression to the level complexity, and a set of norms differentiating and sharply characterizing cultures when analyses of their song texts are systematically embarked upon. Kennedy (2019) defined folksongs as songs of Unknown authorship passed orally from one generation to another, sung without accompaniment and often found in variants (of words and tunes) in different part of a country.

Folksongs like folktales appear to be universal and exist in many community. They have no known authors, the songs are as old as the people, and are local to particular community. They are regarded as communal property because the authors are not known. They are part and parcel of the community customs. The folksongs reflect things found in the community. Belief and traditions and they have been entrenched into the people’s consciousness and belief, each generation of people learn the songs and entrenched in the past from generation to generation.


1.2       Statement of Research Problem

Ibibio folksongs as every other folksongs in other ethnic group are useful in diverse ways which in communalism brings about peace, socialization, harmony, growth and development of the community. Although it has been noticed that Ibibio folksongs are rarely sang in recent times, children are not taught the folksongs, and religious beliefs and misconceptions about folksongs hinders the benefits that folksongs transfer to the society.Folksongs transfersmessages to the people, as such, this research will go along way in preserving the folksongs of Ibibio, so that the present and upcoming generation will be exposed to folksongs of their communities.

This research of Ibibio folksongs is seen through the eyes of an Ibibio. It is not the song of Nigeria, but the research is convincing that there are many aspects of Ibibio song which could be applied to Nigerian music in particular Africa in general.  In other words, Ibibio traditional folk song has not gained much attention in the contemporary African art music for people to enjoy and appreciate. It is on this note that the researcher seeks to address the problem in the course of this research.



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Account Name: Emmanuel Idorenyin Samuel.