About this project
The Owé Living Dictionary project is led by Nigerian linguist Dr. Bolanle Elizabeth Arokoyo, who holds a PhD in Linguistics, and has been documenting the grammar and lexicon of Owé since 2000. Dr. Arokoyo is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. She is a Living Tongues Fellow and coordinates many ongoing documentation projects in Nigeria.
In 2021, Dr. Arokoyo collaborated with Anna Luisa Daigneault and Gregory D. S. Anderson at Living Tongues Institute to organize and import 2188 entries into the first-ever Owé Living Dictionary. This was accomplished with digital editing assistance from Living Tongues interns Ashlie Devenney and Thorin Engeseth, and programming by web developer Jacob Bowdoin. This dictionary will continue to expand with help from Samuel Olanrewaju.
Owé is a dialect of Yorùbá spoken by the Owé people within the Kabba District in the present Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of Kogi State. There are varied histories of origin but in all, the people believe that they migrated from Ile-Ife. One other belief is that there were three separate settlements that have grown and merged into one single town. Kabba, comprises of three clans called Katu, Odolu and Kabba. The Owé people can also be found in neighbouring villages like Òtù-Egunbe, Gbélékò, Kákun, Ẹgbẹ́dá, Òkèdayò, Apánga, etc. The Owé speaking community is linguistically homogeneous (Baiyere 1999, Arokoyo, 2013, 2018). Genetically, Owé belongs to the Yoruboid language family group of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo.
Kabba, the Head-quarters of Okunland and also headquarters of old Kabba Province, is about eighty kilometers west of Lokoja, the Kogi State Capital. The town is located approximately on Latitude 70 49159.998211 and Longitude 60 416.0E-411. Kabba is situated on a land mass of about 2,706km2 (1,045 sq ml) and is on A123 Highway in the Southwest. The postal code prefix is 261. According to the 2006 National population census, Kabba has an approximate population of one hundred and forty six thousand (146,000). Owé sons and daughters are widely travelled and can be found in every part of the state, country and outside the country. Hence the population of Owé speakers is much higher than the stated population.