Medefaidrin is a language and script that was created in the 1930s by Bishop Aikeld (Michael) Ukpong and Prophet Jakeld Udofia (a.k.a. Akpan Akpan Udofia), two church leaders in a congregation of Ibibio speakers in the Ibiono and Itu Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria. They claim that the Holy Spirt revealed the words of the language to Bishop Ukpong, and that Prophet Udofia wrote them down, and also created an alphabet to do so. Medefaidrin is considered a sacred or spirit language by the people who use it. The alphabet and language is also known as Medfidrin or Obɛri Ɔkaimɛ ('freely given').
By 1936, the Medefaidrin language was finalised, and a school was set up by church members to teach children in the language. Not long after, the British colonial authorities closed down the school. However, the alphabet and language continued to be used by church members to write liturgy, hymns, letters and contracts. Over time people gradually stopped using Medefaidrin. Then in 1986, Udofia started teaching it in a Sunday school in Ididep. The Department of Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at the University of Uyo, Nigeria is supporting efforts to revitalise and document Medefaidrin.
The Medefaidrin language grew out of glossolalia ('speaking in tongues') and is based on English, with influences from Ibibio, an Benue-Congo language spoken in southern Nigeria. Fewer than 20 people speak Medefaidrin, and only a small number of them can use the Medefaidrin alphabet.
Download an alphabet chart for Medefaidrin (Excel)
Information about Medefaidrin
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Page created: 23.02.23. Last modified: 15.03.23
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