Parenting: Should We Be Worried About The Increasing Number Of Nigerian Children Who Cannot Speak Their Native Dialect?
If you are observant, you will notice that most of the teenagers and children in this country have little or no idea about their indigenous languages.
Every corner you turn, everyone is communicating in English language – parents to their children, children to their siblings, and so on.
Who do we blame for this lapse?
Recently, a young lady named Tomi Adeyemi, who was raised in the US, had an interview with BBC where she mentioned that her Nigerian parents did not teach her and her siblings Yoruba language. Rather, her parents only spoke Yoruba when they had something secret to discuss in the presence of the children. So it was more like a code language reserved for top secret conversations.
Tomi’s parents are like many other Nigerian adults who grew up learning their indigenous language, but can’t be bothered to teach their children because they perhaps don’t think it’s a big deal.
But the truth is, our language is our identity. It is what tells people who we are. At this rate, our native dialects may be completely wiped out in the next 20 years or so. By then, everyone in Nigeria would only understand and speak English. In a country where culture and tradition is slowly losing its place to foreign religions and practices, that projection may not be far-fetched at all.
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We as a people need to understand that our native dialect is superior to any other language. Take the Chinese for instance, no matter where they live in the world, they ensure that their children understand and speak Mandarin. More than that, they teach their children their indigenous culture and traditions. Why can’t Nigerian parents do the same?
Some parents even try to outsource the job of educating their children about their mother tongue to school teachers. Your children need a lot more than 45 minutes of learning about their language in school. It needs to be a part of their daily lives, and what better way to make that possible than for you to communicate with them in that language every day.
If we don’t change this situation now, our Nigerian dialects would be extinct in a few decades to come.