Welcome to Tribes and Tongues®
One of the most deeply-rooted desires of Nigerian parents is to see their offsprings fluent in their languages. The reason for this is simple. Language is the ultimate purveyor of culture. Without language, aspects of customs and traditions peter out over time. Those customs and traditions that do survive are shallow and distorted, lacking the nurturing nuances which only language can provide. This is why the struggle to pass on languages to future generations has become an albatross for many Nigerian families.
Some ethnic groups fare better than others. There is also a varying degree of success depending on the family. But why is this such a struggle for Nigerians? Why does it seem to come easier for other cultures from Asia, Europe and the Middle East?
Many assume the problem is with parents not speaking their languages to their children. Is this the story in its entirety? Do the languages themselves have a role to play in this? Are there other exacerbating factors that must be addressed to help get this monkey off the back of Nigerian parents?
I welcome you to join me on this page as I begin to explore these thoughts from the perspective of a linguist. You will read some thoughts that will challenge you and others that will make you scratch your head. You will have an opportunity to weigh in, to disagree and to defy some of the thoughts. You will also have many “aha!” moments. But one thing is guaranteed – we will learn a lot together and there will be no dull moments. Welcome to Tribes and Tongues® on Nigerian Parents Magazine.
Please follow on Twitter @ejikeeze and @naijaparentsmag