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Documentation of Ososo language and Ovbiko Maiden Initiation Rite

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Language Ósósọ̀ (ISO639-3:oso)
Depositor Agnes Temitope Legbeti
Affiliation Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State
Location Nigeria
Collection ID 0676
Grant ID SG0713
Funding Body ELDP
Collection Status Forthcoming
Landing Page Handle


Summary of the collection

The deposit is as a result of a documentation of Ósósọ̀ language and ovbiko maiden initiation rite. It is a project that got funding from ELDP during the 2022 round of grant awards. The deposits comprises data on Ósósọ̀ language in use in naturalistic settings as well as data showcasing the place of pride accorded maidens in the community. With consent, participants have been recorded at different stages of the initiation and the feelings of the community towards this agelong tradition have also been captured in interview sessions held with them. Every recording is in both video and audio format. The metadata of all the sessions are in lameta.


Group represented

The group represented in this deposit are the Ósósọ̀ people and they belong to the group Thomas (1910:1) described as “the Edo-speaking people”. There is an agreement on their historical origins with the oral account of Benin ancestry evidenced by the narratives of the aged consultants in particular and most indigenes. According to them, the Ósósọ̀ people, led by a hunter named Ọshiosọ, migrated from Ogbe quarters in the present Benin Kingdom around the 17th century due to the high handedness of the monarch. They had their first stop-over at Órùgbè but had to leave again due to attacks from marauders. When they got to Ósùnọ̀, still considered as their ancestral home till date, they stopped for awhile, but moved again out of fear until finally, they got to their present settlement on a hilly location surrounded by rocky enclaves, safe from marauders. Ósósọ̀ is between 1,200 to 1,400 feet above sea level, on longitude 60 to the East and latitude 70 to the North. The people, the town and the language are referred to by the same name “Ósósọ̀”. This documentation project was carried out in their community.


Special characteristics

This documentation once again draw attention to women related rites in Africa and the place of pride of this initiation rite shows a defiance of modernization that disdains such rites to a large extent.


Collection contents

The session to be treated as an introduction to the corpus of this project includes a session which provides brief introduction to the maiden initiation rite, still faithfully observed by the indigenes and naturalistic language use documentation showing an everyday conversation and a folklore that is part of the oral tradition of the people.


Other Information

Orthographic convention:

The orthography used in the transcription is largely based on my proposed orthography and the one put together by the community’s language development committee sponsored by mission for language.


Acknowledgement and citation

Users of this project should acknowledge Agnes Legbeti as the principal investigator and the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as the funder of this project. Users of parts of the corpus should acknowledge by name the people who recorded the given session, the individuals appearing in the recordings whose words and images are used as well as the Ósósọ̀ community. Any other contributor involved in the data collection, transcription, translation and whoever contributed in any way should be acknowledged by name.

To refer to any data from the collection, please cite as follows:

Legbeti, Agnes. 2022. Documentation of Ososo language and Ovbiko Maiden Initiation Rite. Endangered Languages Archive. Handle: Accessed on [insert date here].


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