As it is always
implied, the origin of any language must be related to the origin of its people.
In the same
vein, the origin of the Efik language is related to the origin of the Efik people-THE ORIENT. late Rev. Hugh Goldie (Missionary)
had made some useful tentative suggestions as to the philosophical affinites of the Efik by drawing attention to the similarity
between it and the semitic language and also its relationship with the Syro-Arabic and the Hebrew language. ALL the language
families: sernific, Hebrews and Syro-Arabic herein referred to belong to one parent family, since semite (semitic) embraces
any of the groups or races that include the Hebrew, Arabs, Phoenicians and Assyrians. The Efiks are originally orriental and
so is their language and so they often claim, EFIK EDI MBAKARA" ie "The Efiks are Whiteman"
Below is a list of
words and names to show the similarities between some oriental words and Names with those of the Efiks.
EFIK & ASIAN WORDS - SIMILARITIES
Hebrew; Nook (Goth)
(More are there as recorded by Goldie and Akak).
EFIK & ASIAN NAMES - SIMILARITIES
REFERENCES - OLDTESTAMENT(BIBLE)
Arit, Ared, Aret
1 Ch. 6:41
1 chr. 7:8; 1chr.6:28
Prince Ofion Akak (Co-ordinator of Efik Language Programmes)
The literary important
of Efik Language dates back to the earliest attempt at written records when the Efiks started a form of secret writing "NSIBIDI"
known only to its highest tittles holders.
By the 18th century,
successful records has been achieved in writing of the language. The early missionaries put in a lot in the development
of Efik orthography Language and Literature. Some of such popular missionaries include Rev. Hope Waddell, Rev. Hugh Godie
and Edgerley. Others including the Efiks were Mr. E.M. Falk, Prof Westermam, Mr. Gaskin, Rev. Maegregor Pritchard, Okon Efiong,
Ballantyne, Father Meehan, Dr. Henshaw, Mr Westgarth, chief Ekpengong, Messrs Essien Archibong, Amaku, and Ayo. Mr E.E Nkanga
the author of the popular"Mutanda Oyom Namondo' played a great unforgettable role . The Efik Language shares almost the same
alphabet with English except C, J, Q, V, X and Z. The vowels include A. E. I. O. U.
By way of briefity, I hereby highlight the following important historical facts: 1. In 1812, Efik was one of the earliest
language with the original orthography devised by Efik son, King Eyo Nsa Honesty.
In 1860, it was one
of the first three Nigerian languages to be codified with its own orthograph and grammar
In 1862, Efik language
was the first Nigerian language used in translating the Holy bible (New Testament).
In 1868, it was used
to complete the translations of Old Testament.
The two first Efik
Priest who assisted Rev. Hugh Goldie and other missionaries for the translations include: Rev. Essien Ukpabio in Greek Town
An Rev. Asukwo Ekanem In Mbiabo Ikot Offiong
Thus as early as that,
Efik language had become a vital vehicle for the dissemination of Education, Religion, Trade and Commerce in the region of
Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State and even beyond to Cameroon and equatorial Guinea from 1880 - 1950 Efik had popular Newspapers
and these included UNWANA, OBODOM, OBUPKONG etc.
Efik has produced
many literary men and women who surfaced with pride in African Literary world
In 1933 an English
Post- graduate student, Miss Ida Ward got her D. Litt degree in Efik Language. Prof. Okon Esien a fomer H.O.D, Linguistics,
University of Calabar also bagged his
Phd in Efik Language from the University of Edinburgh,
late Obong Akpanyung an Efik language specialist and Author also studied and specialized in Efik language from school
of Oriental and Africa studies, London.
the Efik language has for long gotten international status as a Research and Phd subject since 1930s
In 1938, at the literary
contest by the International institute of African
languages, London, E. N. Amaku's popular Efik literature Abasi Ekpenyong toppled
the list for the first prize award.
In 1962, E. A. Edyang's
popular SIDIBE (Efik drama - Romance) got the first prize during the Pan- African Drama Competition organized by an AmericanUniversity.
In 1970 again, Dr.
E.N. Amaku's popular Drama, INYANG Abari Ndem fetched the author another first prize award.
In 1972, the
University of Ibadan for his great contribution
in Efik Pose, Drama, Pror of letters