Africa: The Fading Use Of Indigenous Languages – by Ogunjimi James Taiwo @hullerj

Published:22 Feb, 2013

“When an old man dies in Africa, it is like a library burning down.”Hampate Ba??

 

“Our culture has a rich oral tradition, oral history, stories told from one generation to another. But it is an oral literature our kids will never hear.”Paulo Chihale

 

It is a disturbing fact that African countries have embraced foreign languages at the expense of indigenous languages. As such, traditions and beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation are gradually going extinct. Proverbs and stories that served as moral lessons and generational teachings have been traded for the ‘fables of aesop’, Mills and bones, etc, and foreign films now serve as the instructor of today’s children. Indigenous languages have been labeled ‘vernacular’ or ‘gibberish’, and as such, most African children and youths in primary and secondary schools are even punished for speaking their mother tongues.

 

Students who pass foreign languages well are revered, while students who have high scores in their indigenous languages are looked down upon or called ‘local’. Some governments help hasten the death of some of our indigenous languages by showing preference, and school authorities also aid the extinction. For example, in Sierra Leone, a school principal punished students who spoke Krio in school and even washed their mouths with soap. In some Nigerian schools, students are beaten for speaking their mother tongues or even fined.??Africa has more than 2000 languages, making her the most linguistically diverse continent in the world. The sad truth however is that up to 300 of these languages have less than 10,000 speakers and 37 of them are in danger of completely dying out. The trading of Africa’s indigenous languages have led to today’s children feeling ashamed of speaking their mother tongue. Koome Kirimi observed, “The world is ailing from an illness; globalisation. The give-and-take dynamics of globalisation have seen African states give away more than they’ve received. African states are giving away their language, their culture, their identity.

 

“??Harris Garikayi gave his reasons for the fading off of indigenous languages as: “Indigenous languages are slowly dying simply because we Africans believe that foreign languages are superior to our local languages. English is considered a language of prestige and if you can’t speak grammatically correct English then you are considered to be primitive. I believe we need to decolonise our minds in order to take pride in and preserve our languages.”??The colonial school systems in Africa forbade the use of local languages and the process continued with those who took over power from them. African leaders have failed to re-ignite the love of our indigenous languages in the heart of the people, which actually defeats the purpose of independence. Many African elites have encouraged their children to forsake their mother tongues and embrace foreign languages because they feel it proves they are civilised people. We have been deceived into believing that mastering our colonial masters’ languages would usher us into paradise and upgrade us into civilisation.

 

The effect is that, many children and youths can’t greet or sing in their mother tongue. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure the survival of indigenous languages by ensuring that they communicate with their children and relate with them solely in their indigenous language. Enole Ditsheko reasons that, “It is ideal that before a person can claim authority in another language through books and interaction with teachers or in the case of our children, through multimedia platforms, he or she should master his or her own tongue.”??If Africa is to stop its languages from going into extinction, there is the need for urgent remedial steps to be taken, not just by the government, but by all families. The government must allow the use of indigenous languages in the school without stigmatising those who speak it. Pupils/students who excel in their indigenous languages must be showered with encomiums to serve as encouragement to them and to serve as a challenge to others. Families must be encouraged to relate with their kids in their indigenous language. Children must be made to understand and appreciate their mother tongue.

 

Ogunjimi James Taiwo??

Twitter: @hullerj

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A 15-year-old senior secondary school student, identified as Paschal Egbosimba, committed suicide in  Imo State. Before his death the teenager was living with his mother and siblings, and was a senior secondary school student of Passion Model Secondary School, Egbu.  He used an electric extension cable to hang himself from a ceiling fan, when his mother was away for a night vigil. The late boy’s mother, who wept uncontrollably, was heard saying she never scolded the deceased, adding...

Photos: Inside The Home Of A Man Married To A Sex Doll

Dirk and Jenny aren’t like normal couples. Their sentiments are: to love one another, to support one another and to share a lot of their private time together. The only thing that sets them apart is Jenny is a ‘real doll’ that Dirk bought for 6,000 euros (that’s $6,750). Dirk and Jenny have a fixed daily schedule. Every evening at 6 pm they are sitting on the sofa...

French Beheading Suspect Denies Jihad Motivation

The man being held in France under suspicion of beheading his boss and trying to blow up a chemicals plant has told investigators there was no religious motivation behind the attack, a source close to the inquiry said on Monday. The source said Yassin Salhi, 35, told investigators he was not a jihadist and repeated earlier statements that he committed the act outside the southeast city of Lyon on Friday after a row with his...

Boko Haram Kills 603 Civilian JTF

Boko Haram militants have so far killed 603 Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) members in Borno State. The dead civilian JTF were attempting to prevent bomb strapped Boko Haram insurgents from detonating their bombs in large crowds. Barr Jubril Gunda, the legal adviser of the CJTF disclosed this on Monday during a two day summit on Security and Governance in the North East organised by the CLEEN Foundation in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Mozambique Lifts Homosexuality, Abortion Ban

Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights. The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature” — though no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975. Breaking the law was punishable by up to three years of hard labor. “It's a symbolic victory, as social inclusion...

Read President Buhari’s Speech To Govs Over Unpaid Salaries

ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, AT THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL, HELD AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA, ON MONDAY 29TH JUNE 2015. Protocol I am delighted to be here with you at this occasion on the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) for this Administration. The National Economic Council was established by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria...

Is Beyoncé OBSESSED With J.Lo’s Style?

In fashion, as in life, everyone needs someone they can look up to. For some people, that person is Beyoncé. For Beyoncé, that person would appear to be Jennifer Lopez. Just look at all the outfits they have in common! 1. Distressed denim shorts suit with chain details and long, wavy hair. J.Lo performing at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on March 29, 2014. Beyoncé performing in New Jersey during her "On the Run" tour on...

Idris Elba Denies James Bond Reports: ‘It’s Just A Rumour, I Have No Idea’

Idris Elba has denied any truth behind reports that he is in line to play the first black

Kogi Elders Denies Endorsing Governor Idris Wada For Second Term

Against reports that some members of the Kogi Elders Council have endorsed the aspiration of Governor Idris Wada to run for a second term in the 2016 gubernatorial election scheduled to hold in the last quarter of the year, the elders of the state has denied endorsing the governor. The report has stated that notable names like Senator Tunde Ogbeha, former Governor of the state, Idris Wada and many others at a meeting in an undisclosed location endorsed the...

NDLEA Arraigns Drug Baron, Two Others In Court

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday arraigned a drug baron, Ikejiaku Sylvester Chukwunwe, before a Federal High Court in Awka. Chukwunwe, who was described as the most wanted drug trafficker in Anambra, was arraigned on 13 count charges. Also dragged to court by the agency were Oluchi Nduaguba and John Atuenyi. However, the trio pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them by the prosecutor. Chukwunwe was charged for conspiracy...

Walmart Apologises For Making ISIS Cake

US retail chain Walmart has apologised after baking a cake containing the flag of ISIS. A spokesman for the company told ABC News that it was sorry for the error, which occurred after staff at a local store failed to recognise the image. "An associate in a local store did not know what the design meant and made a mistake. The cake should not have been made and we apologise," the spokesman said. The cake...

Tunisia Attack: ‘Paralysed’ Police Let Gunman Run Amok For Half An Hour, Says Witness

Armed policeman were “paralysed by fear” and allowed the Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui to freely massacre British tourists for more than half an hour before shooting him dead, witnesses claim. Even though two police officers arrived at the scene within minutes, it was said to have been around half an hour before Rezgui was killed. In that time, 38 people,...

At Least 20 Reported Dead After Military Plane Crashes

At least 20 people have been killed in the military plane crash in the Indonesian city of Medan, CNN affiliate Trans 7 TV reported, citing local hospital officials. At least five people have been killed after a military transport plane crashed in an Indonesian city shortly after takeoff, authorities said Tuesday. The C-130 Hercules aircraft went down with 12 people on board in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, said Indonesian military spokesman Maj....

Buhari Promises Improved Power Supply

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday promised that his administration would give the highest possible priority to the rapid improvement of power supply across the country. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke while granting audience to officials of CGGC, the Chinese construction company working on the Mambilla Power Project. Adesina quoted the President as saying that it was quite regrettable that power generation in...

El-Rufa’i Begins With Free Education In Sept And Upgrade Of 255 Hospitals

Kaduna state Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, said at the weekend that his administration would start free education in primary and junior secondary school across the state when new session commences in September. He added that the state, in collaboration with General Electric Healthcare, would also refurbish and re-equip 255 hospitals. Addressing the first town hall meeting with residents at the weekend, he said his administration would commence upgrade and refurbishment of schools, training of teachers and renovation...

Buhari Orders All State Governors To Settle Unpaid Salaries Of Workers In Their States

While inaugurating the National Economic Council in the Abuja earlier today, President Buhari charged all the state governors present at the meeting to endeavour to settle the unpaid salaries of civil servants in their states. He asked the state governors to look inwards and find more ways to increase their Internally Generated Revenue...

FG Probes N3.8trn Missing Oil Funds

A panel of four governors was, yesterday, constituted to probe the affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, following revelations that the corporation withheld N3.8 trillion of the N8.1 trillion generated from oil receipts. The committee comprising governors of Gombe, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Kaduna states is also to unravel circumstances of the disappearance of another $2.1 billion which was allegedly unilaterally withdrawn by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in the last six months of its...

Overweight Woman Flaunts Her New Muscular Physique

An overweight 27 year old Canadian woman shed a third of her body weight, she went from being overweight in high school to placing in national bodybuilding tournaments. Trista Elaschuk who used to weigh 195lbs now weighs only 130lbs and is now participating in various bodybuilding competitions. Trista said she decided to lose weight after...

A Mathematical Formula Reveals The Secret To Lasting Relationships

If you're fortunate enough to find someone you want to settle down with forever, the next question is: How do you achieve happily ever after? According to mathematician Hannah Fry, it may come down to a simple formula. Fry, who works at the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in London, explains in her 2014 TED Talk and recently released book, "The Mathematics of Love," that the...

’30 Days In Atlanta’ Wins Four Awards At The Ghanaian Golden Movie Awards

West Africa's Highest grossing movie, 30 Days In Atlanta won 4 awards from 15 Nominations at the maiden edition of the 'Golden Movie Awards' held on Saturday, June 27, at the State House Banquet Hall, Ghana. This is coming just as AY the Producer of the Movie is preparing to do a sequel with the Hollywood and Nollywood Stars in August, here in Nigeria.

Tour Guide Reveals Moment He Threw An Ashtray At The Tunisian Gunman, In A Bid To Save Tourists

The man, known only as Mahdi (top left) attempted to thwart the killer by throwing an ashtray at his head after seeing him gun down dozens of tourists as they sunbathed on Friday. The 26-year-old tour guide has since told of trying to pile tourists into a little fishing boat to escape the beach, describing those murdered as 'like family'. He said the fear of losing his job was what spurred him to attack Seifeddine Rezgui, the...

Caitlyn Jenner Dines With New Transgender Women Squad (PHOTO)

Caitlyn Jenner continued living her best life at New York City's Pride celebration, enjoying a dinner with a few notable transgender women on Sunday night. After enjoying the parade, Caitlyn dined with Candis Cayne, Chandi Moore, Geena Rocero, Allie Hoffman, Sam Feder, Trace Lysette, Barbara CarRellas, and Trace Lysette. Caitlyn rarely tweets, but when she does it is pure magic. Such a fun...

Mozambique Scraps Ban On Same- Sex Marriage!

Mozambique decriminalized homosexuality Monday when a new penal code came into force that swept away old Portuguese colonial laws, in a victory for campaigners for gay rights. The old code, dating back to 1886, targeted anyone “who habitually engages in vices against nature” — though no known prosecutions took place after Mozambique became independent in 1975. Breaking the law was punishable by up to three years of hard labor. “It's a symbolic victory, as social inclusion remains the main challenge,”...

Saraki, Dogara Blast Ex-APC Chairman

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, yesterday, debunked claims by the former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Bisi Akande that their election as Senate President and Speaker was facilitated by oil barons describing the allegation as baseless, false and unbecoming of a respected statesman. The duo also said the allegation levelled against them was lacking in substance and merit and...

”I Feel No Remorse For The Death Of Those Demons” – Mum Who Killed Her 2 Kids

A mother who killed two of her children leaving their bodies in her kitchen freezer has pleaded guilty to their murders saying: “I don’t feel no remorse for the death of them demons.” Mitchelle Blair of Detroit, Michigan, callously admitted abusing her 13-year-old daughter Stoni Blair and nine-year-old Stephen Berry, before their deaths.The bodies of the children were discovered in a deep freezer at her apartment on May 24 when bailiffs arrived to evict her.The mother has...

Deputy Chair Of Boko Haram Victims’ Support Committee Resigns

Fola Adeola, the Deputy Chairman of the committee on the Victims Support Fund has resigned. The fund was set by the immediate past administration to pool resources and provide support to victims of Boko Haram insurgency and other similar clashes. Mr. Adeola, a former Vice-Presidential candidate, who tendered his resignation last Monday to the Chairman of the committee, Theophilus Danguma, did not give any reason for quitting. Mr. Adeola could not be reached for comment as...

Kim Jong-Un Shows Off Airport Designed By Architect He Likely Had Executed

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have executed the chief architect of  the  new international Pyongyang airport...This news comes after he was pictured touring the building with his wife last week(above)..According to reports, the architect may have been  executed because Kim didn’t like the design. The project is the country’s latest bid to appeal to potential tourists since Kim ascended to power in North Korea three years ago and features a jewellery store, coffee bar, a pharmacy,...

ISIS Beheads Women For The First Time In Syria

Monitor says ISIS killed two women and their husbands in Syria's Deir Ezzor province after they sought health remedies.  ISIS has beheaded two women for the first time, in eastern Syria's Deir Ezzor province, a monitoring group said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that ISIS beheaded the two women and their two husbands after accusing them of using "magic for medicine". It is not known what non-traditional health remedy...

Twisted And Evil: Parents Of ISIS Bride Slam Her Poem Praising The Tunisian Beach Terrorist Attack

 The family of a British woman who fled to join Islamic State in Syria have said they are 'sickened' by a poem she wrote praising the massacre in Tunisia and attacks in Kuwait and France. Former private schoolgirl Aqsa Mahmood left her home in Glasgow in November 2013 and married a militant from the terror group in February last year. She has since posted a series of radical messages , including a call for others to copy the murder...

You Can’t Blackmail Us, PDP Tells Buhari

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said that no amount of “intimidation, blackmail and propaganda” by the Presidency would stop it from demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari kick-starts government and commence implementation of his campaign promises for which he was voted into office. PDP had on Sunday said that Mr. Buhari’s first 30 days in office saw Nigeria only in motion without movement. Mr. Buhari promptly replied the PDP saying he is taking his time...

Jude Okoye Supports Wizkid For Calling Out Organisers Of BET Awards

A few hours ago,Wizkid explained why he did not attend the BET nominee parties and pre-award shows.He said he wouldn't do that knowing the award for the best International African Act is given backstage .. Jude Okoye has agreed with him..Missed the earlier tweets, read below...

Buhari Orders Re-Issuance Of Villa Press Pass To Deutsche Welle Correspondent

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday ordered the re-issuance of Presidential Villa Press Pass to Deutsche Welle correspondent, Mallam Ubale Musa, who was expelled from villa by the previous administration. The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed this while presenting the re-issued villa press pass to Musa at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Adesina said that Musa’s re-accreditation as a...

APC Insists On Ekweremadu’s Removal

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress on Monday insisted on removing the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, of the minority Peoples Democratic Party. Punch learnt on Monday that the ruling APC was still miffed that Ekweremadu emerged as the deputy senate president and had vowed never to allow “a senator from a minority party take over the duties statutorily assigned for the majority party.” A leader of the APC, who spoke on...

NNPC Yet To Remit N3.5trn Into Federation Account -Oshiomhole

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is yet to remit $3.5trillion in the Federal Government coffers between 2012 and 2015. Oshiomhole who is a member of a four-man committee constituted to go through the books of the NNPC and Excess Crude as well as the Federation Account from 2012 to May 2015 stated this after the inauguration of the National Executive Council in Abuja on Monday. The Edo governor said it was the...

G7 Countries To Support Nigerian Military With Equipment

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has said that the Group of seven (G7) countries will be supporting Nigeria’s military with equipment in its fight against surging terrorism. The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Speaking to governors at the inauguration of the National Economic Summit at the Presidential Villa on Monday, Mr. Buhari said, “The requirements of the military have been prepared by the Service Chiefs...

Oil Barons Didn’t Influence My Emergence- Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has denied reports that Nigerians associated with dubious claims in the infamous oil subsidy influenced his election as President of the eighth Senate. According to his media office, the Senate President said such reports were wrong and mischievous. He further denounced such rumours as false, untrue and calculated mischief. “Again, the attention of the Senate President Bukola Saraki has been drawn to a malicious, false and totally reprehensible news report, wherein it...

‘NIMASA, NPA, NCC not paying monies generated to FG account’ – Yari

Zamfara governor and the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari has stated that revenue generating agencies like NIMASA, NPA and the NCC have not been paying monies generated from their agencies to the federation account as required by the constitution. Speaking on Monday to State House Correspondents, Yari made this declaration after a four-man committee (consisting of  Governor Yari alongside Governor Adams Oshimhole of Edo, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom) was constituted...

‘Stigmatise HIV/AIDS Patients, Risk Six-Months Jail Term’

In its commitment to enforcing the rights of the people living with HIV and AIDS , the Ondo State Government has warned that anybody caught discriminating against the PLWA in the areas of employment, medical treatment, hiring, assignment, promotion, demotion, transfer, retirement, among others, would face the law. The Secretary to the Ondo State Government and Chairman, Ondo State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Aderotimi Adelola, stated this in a statement on Monday.

Aso Rock Conducts Comprehensive Audit Of Security Personnel

Authorities of the Presidential Villa, Abuja have ordered a comprehensive audit of security personnel and forces deployed to the villa, necessitated by the ongoing inter-agency rivalry in the Villa. According to a memo signed by the Aide-De-Camp to the President, Lt. Col. Lawal Abubakar, the exercise was needed for “accountability and deployment.” The memo dated June 25, 2015 read, “Request for strength returns of security personnel and forces deployed within the Presidential Villa, Abuja.” “The need for proper accountability by all security...