| My mother tongue shows my identity; it legalizes my acceptance into my cultural home.
The fact that English is a common language used in my day to day expression does not make me an English man. If I only understand English all in the name of keeping up with globalization and to increase my job prospects, then how do I go about keeping up with my origin and my cultural prospects?
I believe you will agree with me that the best option is to be good in both languages, English and my native language, in order for me to be an effective communicator at home and abroad.
As a little boy of about nine years old, I went with my family to my native home (Nyomkpo in Bassa local government area in Kogi state). On our arrival, my uncle at home warmly welcomed me. He placed me on his lap and said, "tio wo na?" (how are you?) I quite understood him, but I didn't know the reply. I replied, "fine." He told my father about my inability to speak our dialect, and he was unhappy about it.
We returned back to Lokoja, the capital of the state where we were, and my father prohibited everyone from speaking English. At school, on the other hand, vernacular speaking was prohibited, and any one who was caught speaking any other language besides the English language would be severely punished. With this development, I and my kid sisters, Mercy and Ruth, were able to balance the two languages fairly.
The last time we visited home, I was in Secondary School, and I assisted the parishioner who was not a native to interpret his message to my natives. People became very excited. "They tend to listen more than they used to," said the parishioner. After the service, the natives related warmly with me, and I saw the pride in my father's eyes.
After my secondary education, I assisted my mum as a sales boy in her provision store in Bacita Estate, Kwara state. The dominant tribe there was the Nupe tribe. They were not good in English, so they spoke to me only in Nupe whenever they wanted to buy anything. Only the product name gave me a clue as to what they needed. After a year, I had learned to speak Nupe, and the people were very happy. They patronized us more than ever, and I began to understand their culture.
My experience during my first year in the university is also worthy of note. I stayed in the hostel with three students who were from Igala tribe, and they switched to their local language when they didn't want me to hear them. They were very united, and I loved them.
Presently, I head my tribal students on campus (Bassa Nge Student Association, KSU chapter). I came across a lady who bears my native name, and I asked her if she was from my tribe. She replied no, but someone close to her confirmed she was. Some people are ashamed of their mother tongue sometimes due to inferiority complex. But on a good day, language brings people together, and I feel quite safe when I am in the midst of people who speak the language I understand.
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Department of philosophy and Religious studies. Kogi state university. Ayingba. Kogi state Nigeria.
Good article Dalia
| Aug 29th, 2011
Hi Aguyr, your article is very interesting and highly important because till that moment some people struggle with their native language and the most common languages such as English ,but we have to focus on mother tongue language because it represent the statue of your country and our identity too we can't ignore this fact even if it will annoy anyone else , i knew many people speaks a lot of languages but they lost their native language because of that and this mean they lost a big part of themselves
thank you for your submit i see personally that it's very important to think about it
| Jun 9th, 2011
Both very true and encouraging. Good writing...
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