By Ikechukwu Odu
NSUKKA_ The International Ecolinguistics Association, IEA, United Kingdom, has appointed Dr. David Wayas, of the Department of Linguistics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, its regional representative in Nigeria.
This appointment is sequel to the approval of Nigeria Ecolinguistics Association, NEA, by the steering committee of the international body, which is a global network of researchers who share ideas, opinions and articles about ecolinguistics, and explores the role of language in the life-sustaining interactions of humans, other species and the physical environment.
Reacting to this development, Wayas, said, it is a dream come true for him and other aspiring African researchers in the field of Ecolinguistics.
“It is dream come true. I have been handling courses entitled :Language and Climate Change, and Literature and Climate Change for many years now. When these courses were introduced and assigned to me as pioneer lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, it was a good challenge for me to explore the Internet for these virgin research areas. I then undertook an online programme that prepared me to discharge my responsibilities.
” I became so interested in the role of language and literature in climate change debate. I then shifted from syntax to obtain a Ph.D in Cognitive Semantics and Climate Change discourse with focus on the representation of climate change concepts in Nigerian indigenous languages.
” I am very happy to be enlisted as a member of the steering group, which is the highest decision body in IEA. This is an opportunity for me to lobby and attract research grants, mentorship and other benefits for the teaming researchers in this emerging area.
“Nigeria society will benefit in different ways spanning from appropriate language for mitigation and adaptation strategies to sustaining ecosystem,” he said.
Wayas, also said that the first aim of ecolinguistics is to develop theories which see humans not only as part of society, but also as major player in the larger ecosystems that life depends on, adding that it is also used to address key ecological issues, from climate change and biodiversity loss to environmental justice.
He enjoined Nigerian researchers in the areas of linguistics, communication, literary studies, languages, geology and soil science to identify with the NEA in order to cross-fertilise ideas and explore other benefits the association avails to members.