The Eleme are an enthusiastic and aspiring group of people. This section includes notes on the Eleme population, the endangerment of the language and culture and photo galleries of individuals involved in the documentation process.
Conservative estimates of the Eleme population based on data from the 1953 and 1963 censuses place the total number of speakers at around 50,000 (Faraclas 1989: 385). Modern estimates however, place the population figure slightly higher than this. The Ethnologue cites the population at 58,000 (UBS 1990). The Nigerian Congress Online places the figure at 51,228.
In terms of language endangerment, Eleme currently appears to be relatively safe. Despite large numbers migrating to the Niger Delta to find employment, immigrants to Eleme speaking villages tend to learn Eleme. Additionally, while intermarriage with other social groups is common, children born into multicultural families are also likely to learn Eleme. However, concerns have been expressed about the loss of indigenous vocabulary and the speed at which non-indigenous terms are absorbed by the language (Obele 1998: 10). Lingua francas in the areas surrounding Eleme include Nigerian Pidgin, variants of which are spoke throughout Nigeria, and Igbo, the language of Port Harcourt, the nearest city to Eleme. The vast majority of Eleme people speak Nigerian Pidgin, with monolingualism in Eleme limited to the elderly. However, accurate statistics regarding the number of monolingual, bi- and multi-lingual Eleme speakers are currently unavailable.
Soon to be included on this page is a photo gallery of individuals involved in the documentation process