ILL IGBO LANGUAGE SURVIVE TILL THE NEXT GENERATION?
Will Igbo language still be relevant in the next generation? Will it still survive as a language in the next 50 years to come? Will people still speak this language or will they have a modernised one? WILL IGBO LANGUAGE SURVIVE TILL THE NEXT GENERATION?
The gradual fading away of Igbo language is disheartening. Yes, I must confess that sometimes I become confuse myself. I become frustrated at the level at which our cultures and languages are gradually fading into abyss of darkness and many of us don’t even care of it but our greed to gather moisture of wealth and kill ourselves is what rules us daily. This is only what we inherit from nature. It is us, the only thing we are identified with then, why are we allowing it to go into extinction? Why are we allowing it to leave us in such a manner?. It is our language and culture and there is no way we should allow it to go into extinction like that. The problem we have is that we fail to communicate in our mother tongue to our children as parents and if we fail in this aspect, then, this language will soon die before the next generation comes in because language and culture is meant to be passed from one generation to another to that I can remain relevant among the people. We don’t educate our children or young ones on the importance of the language, we don’t, we prefer foreign languages to ours and this is killing us. Could it be that the only extinction of humanity and their languages will lead to the recovery of the Earth’s environment?
I think our languages should be made compulsory in our exams instead of English language. I think these languages like Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa should be made compulsory completely in schools so that every child born in Nigeria should be able to be educated in his/her mother tongue. I don’t see the reason why it should be a vernacular when a child speaks an Igbo, Yoruba, or Hausa language in the class. I don’t see the reason why such child should be punished for that where as it is not so in countries like India and China, Hong kong and Japan; Indonesia and Malasia. They all use their native languages in the classroom to teach the younger generations. Our cultures and languages should also be taught in these schools up-to University level. Our histories should also be taught. The only history which is been taught in our schools are that of Biafra and Nigeria civil war; the cause and it damages in the land reforming or redressing already healed wound. Aside this civil war been taught in our schools and the amalgamation of the southern and northern protectorates and the coming of the Europeans into Nigeria in 1914, nothing else. We are just clueless people dancing to the rhythm of the Western beats. No school is teaching us the Nigeria before 1914, no school is teaching us the life of our forefathers in the stone age, how they were surviving before the Europeans came in. We no longer see the people in us, our ancestral souls baking red and black ink! our ancestral hands embrace dryness and emptiness of the world we are made of. Africanism gone, Nigerianism lost in the jungle of greed and selfishness, Igboism, a thing to retrieve from the western world.
The future of this nation is dancing in the dark listening to music of lost. Nothing is working, everyone seems to be in wedding with the culture of the white. Recently, Halloween was celebrated by Nigerians, both the Igbo, The Yoruba and the Hausa people celebrated it in one way or the other but never in a history has our own being celebrated that much. We now prefer to be known by these foreign cultures and languages after these men who colonized us has left the shores of our land. We no longer see the beauty of our names, our ancestral clothes, Our lawyers still wear their wigs, our Teachers still dress just like them, our ancestral attires lost to the white man’s own. I think we should look into this. It is in our hands, the ministry of education and communication, and ministry of culture and tourism should have a look into this. This is our own, it is our language and should not be allowed to go into extinction by any means and forms. Parents should learn how to educate or teach their children how to speak these languages. Hence, our ability to control ourselves from the twisted hands of Colonizism is very key because this has tortured us in such a way that we forget the diversity of our cultures and our root, furthering the dexterity of our immediate family in breeding us. Family is the smallest unit of the society in it a child learn his/her first word, he or she follows what he or she sees the parents or siblings doing. He/she learn to conquer self and his or her environments. For the sustainability of these languages, the family has a major role to play as the mother factor to enforce this into the society and through which a child knows his or her environments. Let’s stop burning down the bridges that would sustain us tomorrow.
I happened to be in wedding one Saturday, the coaster we were in were all Londoners, the Babes in the bus just flew in from London to Nigeria to attend a wedding party. They were of Igbo origin according to their names but they were born and bred in London. They were all speaking the white man’s tongue, I spoke to one of them, I spoke igbo to her and she didn’t understand what I was saying. She was confused, she later told me that she hasn’t be opportuned to learn the language because her mother and father never spoke the language to them in the house. The bitter thing there was that she was fascinated about the language, she asked me to teach her but I told her there was no way she could learn the language within the minutes we were in the bus. I am not against civilization, no, I am of the opinion that our own blood should not be mixed with fire and water. We shouldn’t throw our own languages away to embrace a foreign language as ours.
I am not sure of what would happen to igbo language particularly in the next 50 years to come. I am not sure if it will still survive or be relevant looking at the level at which things are going now. Our schools have decided to make English compulsory where as our own mother tongue is optional. Students can now decide to write igbo language in their WAEC or not, students can decide not to attend any igbo language lectures in the class. I can’t see this happening in China and India and Pakistan or others places. Why are we like this? We are being enslaved spiritually and physically. We are being enslaved mentally and emotionally by those things that our colonial masters left behind us. Will igbo language be relevant till the next generation?
©John Chizoba Vincent