Monday, 23 March 2015
So yesterday, I was minding my business when a woman approached me with her two girls. One was a toddler and the other couldn't be more than 7 years of age. The woman needed to ask me something, but there was a gap in communication, as she was a non English speaker. I kept trying to decipher what she was saying, till her daughter who I said was about 7 came in as our interpreter. She relayed my message fluently to her mother in their God knows what language and spoke back to me fluently in English.
I looked on with a smile as they left and flashed back to my visit to Manchester, where I met an adorable and impressive little man named Ayomikun, a six year old boy. Though Ayomikun was born in the UK and has never been to Nigeria, the Yoruba he spoke was very impressive for his status and profile. On entering the living room on his arrival from school, he prostrated and said "E Kule ma", "E Kule sir" in his British accent. I couldnt help but smile. He could speak a very reasonable amount of yoruba and even said random things in Yoruba. I had to commend his mother for such impressive work.
Now, we have those who were born, bred and even buttered in Nigeria who cannot speak a sentence of Yoruba or their tribal message. While I do not play the role of a judge, as I myself have been in the category of Yoruba girls who couldn't speak Yoruba when I was younger, I think language is very important and is indeed a powerful tool. I realised the power in speaking the local dialects one Saturday morning in Lagos, where my ability to speak Yoruba and be humble, saved me and two igbo friends from what could have been a terrible experience.
Though, English language is one of the most widely spoken languages worldwide, it is extremely rare, if not impossible, to see a French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever nationality or foreign ethnicity child who cannot speak their national or native language besides English. My Nigerian compatriots on the other hand, with our chronic history of inferiority complex and absurd culture of anything foreign is superior, think it is a thing of pride or class for a child to be a cultural ignoramus.
The real class lies in the ability of a child to speak or know his native language and culture, at the same time, be able to speak English fluently. Even if they can't speak fluently, parents should endeavour their children know a bit of their onions, at least, they should understand, so as not to be sold with their language.