Saving Nigeria’s mother tongue from extinction

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The ability to speak in your mother-tongue cannot be overemphasized.  It is the glue that binds Nigerians together and enables us communicate our fears, feelings, values, traditions and culture, Jovago has found.

However, with the recent trend where parents interact with their children in the language of the British, the tendency for the next generation to side-line the local dialect for English language is raising gnawing concern among historians.

According to United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Nigeria has 521 languages out which 8 are extinct. They are Ajawa (Bauchi State); Basa-Gumna (Niger and Nasarawa states); Kpati, Kubi, Mawa (Bauchi State), Auyokawa, Teshenawa (Jigawa State); and Gamo-Ningi (Ningi Local Government, Bauchi State) languages.

Even in Nigeria’s multi-ethnic context, these numbers are alarming, therefore, all hands must on deck to prevent unpopular languages from fading into extinction.

To check the current trend, the erudite scholar, Babs Fafunwa has recommended a viable solution which highlights the importance of teaching children to speak their mother-tongue for first 6 years in school. He believes that this will significantly expose them to these intricacies of these languages.

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Based on a report he made public, when a deep look at the result of the exam of students taught in English language and in their mother-tongue were compared, those taught in their indigenous languages came out tops.

Sociologists who have studied the additional benefit associated with posit that the viable solution would be to teach our local languages as aggressively as we teach English. Although English is considered the language of business, they state that room should be made for verbal flexibility at the work place.

In addition, parents should endeavour to communicate with their children in the indigenous language at home.

Finally, government and stakeholders should develop a workable primary and secondary school curriculum that fully integrates local languages and other relevant international lingos to give our future leaders a wholesome identity and experience.



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