see what English language has done to us
by ovbokhan okuonghae
With no disrespect to English speaking countries, I think that English language has done great harm to this younger generation. In our present society, it is very rare to see children speak their mother language, what we hear them speak is English language as if its their parents that invented it or formed it. Even children who know how to speak it find it difficult to do so, because their environment do not permit it. The troubling part of it all is that, our parents do not see anything wrong with it. They can go to an extra length just to make sure their kids speak English language. This they believe make their child an 'ajebota'. Nowadays, a child who speaks his or her mother's tongue fluently and finds it difficult to speak good English fluently, often time gets to be laughed at and may even be ostracized by his or her peers. It is now as if a child who knows how to speak good English is more outspoken than the one who is so fluent in his or her native language. They may even go to the extent of calling him or her local. This goes to show why many parents fail to speak/teach their children/ward their language (native). Even market men and women who may not be lettered have made English language (pidgin) their major language they used to communicate to their children. This is nonsense! What stops or prevent you from using your native language since you know you can't speak good English? This is an erroneous impactation that should be corrected. It is time we start appreciating our various languages because it is what represent us. Hey! Don't get me wrong, I am not indirectly saying you shouldn't teach your children English Language, but it is also of great importance to teach your children your native language. It is not enough to tell them the 'name' of their language, their origin( village, local government) and all of that, teach them the language! It is their identity. It is what reveal the authenticity and originality of their origin. If you fail to teach them, they inadvertently become a threat to the language. You discover that they now hate their language, culture etc. In order words, they are ashame if their identity. As a parent, why not make your native language your primary language, and English language the secondary language, make it a second fiddle. This is the way it should be and not the other way round, Otherwise, it will be a misplaced of priority. It is unarguable that, people's culture and traditions are best passed or transferred from one generation to another using the mother tongue. Tell me, how then can our culture and traditions be transfer to the next generation if we continue to make English language the number 1 in our homes? No wonder children of these days no longer understand the significant of their culture. What we hear them say is " we are in the 21st century, we need to flow with the trend". Hmmmmmmmm, of a truth, English language has driven our indigenous language down the drain. There are many relevant lessons/values that the use of English language can not express. Therefore, it is imperative for us to ensure that our native language never dies. English language has exposed information that ordinarily is meant for private consumption. As a mother or father, how do you intend to tell your children to do something 'personal' in the present of an 'outcast' when you refused to teach your children your native language?? It will not be a misplace of intelligence if I conclude that the constant use of mother's tongue strengthens the unity of our people and preserves our cultural heritage. The incessant transfer of blame by our parents and school authorities should be sacrificed on the alter sheer determination and unified responsibility. Parents as well as our various school authorities should be determined to inculcate the speaking of our native language at home and in schools. Both parents and school authorities should make it one of their compulsory responsibilities. Otherwise, we will continue to hear from our 'parents that the fault ( that is, the inability to speak our native language) is from our schools, they failed to include it in school curriculum. While the school will say is our parents that have failed to teach these children, they always prefer to speak English language to their children.' Let's be proud of our native language, because we will never see and hear any English speaking country speaking yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, urobo or Edo language. This is because they love and cherish their language. Let's do same, so that we will not be thrown into extinction!