First of all, I’d like to apologise for the title of this write-up... for want of a better one I had to settle with this.
So, a Yoruba man marries a Yoruba woman, they communicate in Yoruba language but with the children, they communicate in English language. Hence we have children of Yoruba descent, living in Yorubaland who do not speak any other language but English yet fail English language in their exams.
The Igbo man does the same, only that he lives in Lagos but you know what?, he raises children who speak neither Igbo nor Yoruba. Same can be said of almost every tribe. As a people, we prefer foreign languages to ours. The population of youngsters who speak no Nigerian language is on the increase.
How about inter-tribal marriage? Coming from such union does not automatically transport one into a non Nigerian identity or does it? The emphasis by parents on their children speaking only in English language has helped in eroding our culture. Maybe it’s not so important to retain our language as part of our identity. We’ve practically lost everything anyway; music, dressing, food… so why keep the language?
Language is a subset of a culture. Cultures are a set of distinct behavioural patterns which tell a people apart from another. Inclusive of culture is thought pattern, disposition to issues and general outlook to life. Gradually we are losing ours... did I mention culture is a form of identity? We are losing our identity!
If the loss of identity means the acquisition of another (in its entirety) maybe there’d be no cause for alarm. We choose and pick what to imbibe. If only we took on the culture of excellence, never say die mentality, diligence, modesty, critical thinking, innovation, learning (not cut and paste) cleanliness and all others, we might as well just be on our way to evolving a better culture as a people.
If you must insist that your children speak only in English language, do us a favour and let it be ‘sound’ and ‘correct’. Save us the embarrassing “come and go and sleep”