African culture

The Need for Africans to Value Mother Tongue

Mother tongue is the native language a child is exposed to after birth, its home and its environment. It is not limited to the environment but also origin, personal, cultural and social identity. When a child is born and brought up in another region or state aside from their native land, the child is then exposed to that state or region’s language. This is partly attributed to parents feeling excited when the children speak fluent English. Hence, they play little or no importance on the child’s mother tongue. The importance of the mother tongue cannot be overemphasized; hence everyone must know and value their mother tongue. 

 

Why the need for a child to know his/her mother tongue? 

A number of reasons are known for parents to build up the speaking and listening skills of their children in relation to their mother’s tongue. A number of the reasons are discussed below. 

Mother Tongue promotes Cultures

Language is the core element of any culture, without which culture cannot survive. No matter the translation of a language, it cannot give the whole significance as the source language. The mother tongue promotes our cultures and makes us stay connected to our roots as well as traditional and cultural values. Language is the natural keeper of the literary, historical and other properties of indigenous cultures. Recent research affirmed that a language disappears every two weeks globally due to abandonment, taking with it the entire cultural heritage. Therefore, the only means to maintain our cultures is to maintain our native languages and to ensure proper transmission of culture from one generation to another; language has to be undilutedly preserved. 

Mother Tongue Creates Unique Feelings 

Knowing one’s native language well springs up unique feelings in us. It creates a sense of belonging and keeps us in touch with our roots. An adage says, “the river that forgets its source will run dry”, so when we are still in contact with our traditional and cultural values, our pride and cultures will keep growing. 

Mother Tongue Increases Self-esteem

Understanding one’s language will give us the confidence to know our worth. Native language is the pride and identity of the speakers when one respects and values his language, it will give no room for others to disrespect the language. The confidence you have in your language will move you to defend it anywhere, but once the owner despised it, others will gain ground to despise it, even more. 

Mother Tongue Creates Unity 

There is solemn power of unity in the native language. The respective speaker walks together as soon as they discover they are of the same background and language, and in as much as one people speaking the same language start walking together, then everything they plan will be possible for them. Mother tongue coherence people, and by this default promote everything attached to them. Language is the main ground for everything related to people, without language, there can be no relationship. 

Conclusion  

Culture is enclosed in a language. They are inseparable as one’s deficiency will affect the other. Through language, we promote our cultures, we experience unique feelings. It creates a sense of belonging while increasing self-esteem. The mother tongue also promotes unity, identifies people of diverse backgrounds, and maintains history.  It helps us to learn and defend human rights and make us stay connected to our sources. Let us embrace our mother tongue with excitement, eagerness and pride, and promote our cultural heritage. Culture explains who you are, it’s either you exhibit it or it exhibits you, let us not devalue our cultures. Stay connected to your roots!

Saheed Olajumoke

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