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Igbo added to modern languages taught at Oxford University

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OXFORD University, one of the leading tertiary institutions in the world is set to begin teaching Igbo language and has appointed a Nigerian, Emmanuel Ikechukwu Umeonyirioha, as the first official Igbo language lecturer.

Igbo is a language spoken among the Igbo people who live in autonomous independent communities mainly in Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and São Tomé and this would be the first time the language will be taught at the university.

Sharing the news on Twitter after his induction which held on Thursday, February 17 Umeonyirioha wrote: ‘’It is official that I am the first official Igbo Language lecturer at the number one university in the world, the University of Oxford.


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“This became possible in account of the James Currey Society. This is the first time Igbo language will be taught at the university. History has been made. I am so happy and grateful for this opportunity. I promise to make the Igbo language and culture known to the world.”

International students make up almost 45 per cent of the University’s total student body – around 11,500 students from more than 160 countries and territories.

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Language is at the centre of the Oxford course, making up around 50 per cent of both first-year and final examinations and Modern Languages have been taught in Oxford since 1724. The University’s well-equipped Language Centre has resources specifically tailored to the needs of Modern Language students.

The course aims to teach spoken fluency in colloquial and more formal situations, as well as the ability to write essays in the foreign language, and the ability to translate into and out of the foreign language with accuracy and sensitivity to a range of vocabulary, styles and registers.

Some Modern Languages taught at the University include Czech (with Slovak), French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Students are also encouraged to spend as much of their vacations as possible in the countries whose languages they are studying.

The Igbo language is also taught at the UC Berkeley in northern California.

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