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"Do Not Speak Indigenous Languages To My Child": How Right Are Such Parents?

Most parents nowadays discourage speaking local language to their children. How right are they?

As for me I will never speak English to my children, never. They have to learn to speak, write and read in the father's/mother's language. I am a Yoruba man- Odu'a Tokan tokan- and will never relegate my culture to the background. Yoruba Language is very rich- how u respect, greet and conduct yourself.

An average Ibo girl or Boy will always discuss with her/his parents in their local language even if they have never being to their village. An Hausa man is ever ready to teach u his language.

International a french man is very proud of his language likewise the German, Dutch, Korean, Chinese, Japanese e.t.c

Their performance in school is never affected. Prof 'Wole Soyinka and Chima Achebe parents never spoke english to them when growing up, but today they are international literature Icons.

In sociaolgy, there is something called Boundary Maintanance i.e. u preserve that which is your culture from external aggregation. Language is an emboardment of ones culture. It must be preserved. To my mind our problem is that of class, we want to be what we are not.

Do not get me wrong the children must be taught English and French Language as well in order to be part of the global village. But not to relegate our local Languages.

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Its better you make ur kids bi or trilingual, Its in there best interest , for instance , growing up in texas, na spanish and english , so learning both will make them more commercially viable and ooh yea, u get paid more

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I'm sorry dessi for referring to you as a boy. I really thought you were one -- guess I didn't read your post very well. Sincere apologies and goodluck with your man. Have you learnt how to cook his favourite dish yet [that's one of the romantic things you can do]?

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I don't know any Romanian so we'll trade cries. You'll cry in Romanian for my girl [hey it was only a crush] while you'll tell me the tribe your girl is from so I can cry in her language -- sound's fair doesn't it?

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I can't speak my language and neither can my cousins who were born in the U.S. It's really embarrassing. I wish I'd been taught as a child! So, all the parents on here who ARE teaching their children their mother/native tongue, PROPS to you! And that's real. If you're not, that's o.k. too, I know parenting is hard etc. etc. But at least consider it, b/c they may wish you had when they get to be my age! Also, native African languages are becoming more valuable abroad. Here in TX, my friends make $10/hour translating for school children! (It's a great college job.) The districts pay not the children. The trend going to continue and spread to the medical and legal fields (I think).

@ babymine

I feel you! But, at least you know Hausa right? You can always learn your own as well!

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Speaking of languages, my parents never spoke their language(s) to us in my family -- my Dad is from Kwale in Delta and my mom is Yoruba. They did speak my dad's language to themselves in our hearing and we picked it up. As a result, I do not have an accent etc etc. The only problem is that when I speak my language I can't talk rapidly because I think first in English before I translate in my mind. I haven't yet picked up Yoruba completely but at least you can't sell me with it.

I regret not being taught when I was growing up because children find it easier to learn languages without picking an accent when they're young. It's still a matter of choice and the ultimate decision rests with the parents.

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We wouldn't even be having this arguement at all if most people realized that children have more capacity for learning than we credit them for. Speak to them in your native language AS WELL AS in English - heck, tack on another Nigerian language, French and Spanish for good measure. They can learn and be fluent in all of them.

I can speak, read and write Yoruba perfectly well, complete with "ami ohun", I speak to my parents primarly in Yoruba. Conversely my siblings and I primarily speak to each other in English. For my SSCE i took three languages and had A1 in English, A2 in Yoruba and A3 in French - there's no mutual exclusivity here.

My advise is to let your children learn as many languages as possible. This world is fast becoming a global, "boundaryless" world and the more you can interact with people from all over the world, the better for you.

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@olex, I totally agree with you. But your relocation can't change your history.

@gospelman, If I don't let go my dialect is not an excuse for speaking or writing bad English.

My daughter speaks, reads and writes Yoruba fluently, this I ensure by teaching the beautiful language her myself.

She is the best student in her class. I have told her to always translate whatever she is taught in school to Yoruba for better understanding and it has worked out prefectly. I encourage you to do the same and see the difference in ur children's performance.

Any discussion in my home is in Yoruba except when we have visitor(s) that can't understand Yoruba around.

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Onanugaola,

If you look at those who will never let go of their dialect,check their English;full of grammatical blunders.These are the kind of guys who will never let you hear in the office.They converse out loud in their local dialect and when they speak and/or write English,you feel sorry for them.These are the guys who probably spoke Yoruba,Ibo or Hausa 90% of he time when they were in school and at home.

I am not against letting the kids learn any local dialect.As a matter of fact,I would love my kids to learn and speak most local dialects as well as well international languages/dialects;as many as they can afford to.I do not have any problem with that.But they had better be pretty excellent in their written and spoken English first and foremost.They ought to know when to use any local dialect. Not conversing in a local dialect that the people around/visitors do not understand.That's the bottom line.

My nephew can speak both English and a local dialect.But he only responds in the local dialect when you use that to converse with him.His major language is English and he is barely 5.He cannot open up a conversation with you in a local dialect.

See?

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@onanugaola

"I am a Yoruba man and am very proud of my race. I will see to the fact that my language never die”

Given that Yoruba has millions of speakers across the globe, it will likely not be dying away in the next 1000 years. But it will change substantially within this period that the Yoruba of the year 2000 will most likely be unintelligible to someone living in the year 3000.

It is good for parents to speak their native tongue to kids but this should be a choice. There is nothing you can do about preventing a language from dying away (and a new language from being born). We live for only 70 or 80 years and die. Languages evolve over hundreds of thousands of years. Every language on the planet is in a constant state of evolution, borrowing new words and concepts, inventing words and getting rid of archaic vocabulary. The process is so slow that we do not notice it. Between 1900 and 2000, Yoruba (as spoken in urban areas) borrowed quite an amount of words from English. You only need go to Lagos and hear people speak Yoruba. Hardly are three sentences made without recourse to a word, which is Anglo-Saxon in origin.

English has been successful not because someone protected it, but because it was willing to borrow from other languages. From West Africa, East Asia and Europe, new words entered the English language continuously. Protected languages like French have seen a marked decline in their global prowess.

“Culture, everybody believe is dynamic and changing but must these changes take away from u who are. I mean your history.”

All of humanity has a common origin. Human life originated in Africa and spread out to the rest of the world. There is genetic evidence to prove this. So the bottom line is that we are all Africans. The immense genetic diversity one finds on the African continent testifies to the fact that human beings have lived much longer in Africa than on any other planet.

So, if we all want to trace our history to the beginning of the origin, we are all Africans descended from a single man and woman, who probably lived in the Rift Valley of East Africa or somewhere in West Africa (no one can tell).

Because we lived isolated for so long, each region of the world developed a unique history and culture. The last century saw the opening up of the world (thanks to ships and airplanes) and now people travel up and down, sometimes leaving their ‘ancestral’ lands to settle somewhere else. This is all part of the never-ending story of human migration, which has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years. It got much quicker in the last century and will continue till the end of time.

“People like you want to continue the suppression of our indigienous language. You can never be an English what u are is what u are:: an African”

Pardon me, but I am not suppressing anything. People should be free to speak what languages they like but it will be an absolute waste of time to protect languages by the use of laws. Indeed I can never be an English person because I am human. My society tagged me a Nigerian before I was born because my parents claimed to be Nigerian. Till this day, I wear that tag.

I look forward to the day when spoken words would be obsolete. It’s only a matter of time before we would begin communicating with our minds (maybe a few hundred years more—not too long, considering the fact that the world is about 4 billion years old!). There would be no need for spoken languages.

You tell me what I am is what I am: an African. Why must you tag me? I should have the freedom in today’s world to decide whether I want to be African or Brazilian or American (provided I have the money to travel and relocate). That should be my choice. Let me tell you something: Africa was not always the way it is. Are you familiar with the Bantu conquest of the pygmies and Khoi-Sans! We are here today because our ancestors who were Bantus conquered other primitive tribal groups centuries ago here on the African continent. Today the pygmies are reduced to forest regions in Central Africa while the Khoi-Sans (so-called Bushmen) have been decimated. But the Bantus (the Hausas, Igbos, Yourbas, Ashanti…etc) have multiplied and conquered all of Africa. The problem is they now speak almost 1500 languages that they feel they are so different from each other.

Cheers.

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@olex, thanks for ur frank option.

Culture, everybody believe is dynamic and changing but must these changes take away from u who are. I mean your history. I am a Yoruba man and am very proud of my race. I will see to the fact that my language never die. Never will that happen. English might seem to be the universal language of communication but my language i richer in concept and scope then the English language. People like you want to continue the suppression of our indigienous language. You can never be an English what u are is what u are:: an African.

U are mistaking language to be the same thing has culture. language is just a small portion of our culture.

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Speaking your native tongue to your kids should be a matter of choice. Where I grew up in Nigeria, most parents spoke English to their kids. Several families were made up of husbands and wives who came from different ethnic backgrounds and found it more convenient to converse in English.

It is important that kids grow up very proficient in English because this has become the language of global communication and business. And without a doubt, English is the future language of Nigeria. As people from more ethnically diverse backgrounds marry, English would be more widely used.

While culture is a very important aspect of our lives, we should not loose sight of the fact that culture is not static but dynamic. In other words, culture changes and so do languages. You might call yourself a Hausa or Yoruba man today but your progeny six generations down the line would likely call themselves something else.

Today, we associate English with the United Kingdom but lets not forget that the Anglo-Saxons invaded England around the 5th century. These were the folks who gave rise to the language we all English today. In other words, the origin of the English language isn’t Britain!

Painful as it may sound, many languages in Nigeria will die away with time. This is a fact and there is nothing we can do about it. All through history, languages have been born and languages have died. Most languages spoken in the Middle Belt/Southern parts of Nigeria trace their origin to a single original language according to linguists. Northern languages, and Hausa/Fulani in particular, have been heavily influenced by Arabic over the past few centuries. A great deal of the vocabulary found in Hausa is of Arabic origin. Check out the numeral system—99% Arabic!

I see myself as a human being not restricted by linguistic or cultural affinities. In other words, the fact that I am human is much much much more important than what ethnic group I come from or what language I speak. In the long run, language is but a means of communication and if we humans could find another means of communicating without using the written or spoken word (say using our minds, as may happen in future) what then would it mean to be Yoruba, or Hausa or Ijaw?

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My opinion: ones ability to speak ones mother/fathers tongue is a matter of choice. The fact that one may/may not be able to read,write or speak in one mother/father tongue/dialect doesnt make one a better/lesser human. Any one wants to dispute?

@papermoon

Pls, theres nothing run with a kid saying to his/her parents "hey mommy, wats up". A mommy who is socialized and knows that time is changing will not see her children addressing her with such words as rude. That one says "e", "e", "e" etc, before every word does not actually mean the person saying it has an ounce of respect for whoever is been addressed.

And yes, its nice to dobale for your parents, but in todays world, its not necessary. The main thing is RESPECT, right? and that can come in many ways. Do you know that in some parts of the world, if you prostrate(half/full) to greet anyone, you are seen as a member of a cult? two of my friends were arrested because of such, they were JJCs in North Korea. Worse, they had some tribal marks on their faces. THey(my two friends and the person they greeted - an elderly man) spent 3weeks behind bars, because of prostrating, tell me that the koreans did not understand our culture, right, but my guys spent time behind bars,

still best is to make sure your kids understand and can adapt to the changing world around them, but trying to chain them to one, just because thats where u came from is to me, child abuse,

the reverse effect is that the more one tries to force kids to learn their mother/father tongue, the more they dont want to learn it, i think its to be done the other way around, let them appreciate it, on their own, they'll love it and then learn it

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Hey kimba, I dont think anyone here has said not speaking your local dialect makes you a lesser human, so take a chill pill and calm down. Everyone is just giving their opinions, no one is disputing anything with you.

I also beleive people should move with time and the changing world whatever but that doesnt mean they should loose their identities in the process.

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Well, well, well, i don't speak my language!

It's not something i relish saying but it's the truth.

Probably because i was given birth to abroad and my

Mum and Dad weren't from the same ethnic group, my

language wasn't spoken to me.

Now that i sit back and reflect, it hurts me real much

cause i can't participate in anything in my village especially

politics. You see people you are better than contesting

and actually winning elections!

You know you can do it also but the language factor weighs

you down.

So please parents should speak indegenous languages

to their kids no matter how embarassing the language is.

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Well, I for one speak my native language to my kids. Its the little I can give to them and make sure that in this "global village" world, they dont get lost wandering where they originated from.

One thing I dont allow though is anyone speaking to them in pidgin english. That I will not allow,at least not at this tender age(4 and 1).

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