Language beyond Man-made
By Muhammad Mahdi Hamal Julde
It’s an undoubted fact that many local languages have extinct, and many more are in the process of cessation as a result of running out of their practitioners. The only factor that keeps a language extant is by having a lot of speakers. The more they are, the stronger it could be and vice versa. Language is a form of communication using words either in written or oral form which its significance in life of human race cannot be overemphasised.
In Nigerian context for instance, our multiple tribes, languages and cultures are some of the recipes that make us alluring to the global community; the benefits of which some of us consider irrelevant and not valuable.
I find it worthy to make an awakening call and draw our attention towards the realization of fact and understanding our values and appreciating them. This is because I come across people who deny their native language in the midst of their fellow native speakers. They are of the mindset that “let’s speak what thousands can understand”.
Yes, there is nothing bad in learning or speaking non-native languages, foreign or local. In fact, it even increases one’s value and social status. But where the problem lies is that, ignoring or considering one’s native language as useless and not worthy.
However, among the factors responsible for the negation of our mother or father tongue are mostly fueled by the fault of parents to speak with their offsprings in native language right from their childhood. This scenario is what often found in the urban centres where majority of the non-indigenes are swallowed by dominant language to the extent that they can’t speak their known native languages.
Furthermore, there is also a category of people that are self-defeated and cannot longer expect anything good from their circle, this class of people are submissive to any antagonism that may be plotted against them, their culture and their personality, they regarded their native languages as inferior. The dominant cloud has overshadowed and controlled them outrightly to the extent that they finally surrendered and gave up.
In another circumstance, people deny their native languages out of shyness; they always feel ashamed of being heard speaking minority or strange language in a public so as to avoid being discriminated or marginalised by the speakers of dominant language. It’s quite alarming on how our teeming youth are awkwardly neglecting their cultures and embracing other people’s.
Upon their growth and experiencing the challenges of life, some people tend to regret their mistakes and they end up blaming their parents for not teaching them their native language, which at that time is too late because, once you can’t speak your native language, you can find it embarrassing to attribute yourself to that tribe, which ultimately renders your tribe less and one who has no tribe could not get a story to tell.
From that stage, this generation of people will only serve and could be remembered as the finishers of their tribe and language. One fact about language is that it’s the mirror of any tribe, the tribe defines the culture and the culture is the way of life of life.
To sum it up, our native languages are so important in our lives. There is a need for us to keep them lively and vibrant, use them optimally, preserve them and preserve our cultures.
Muhammad Mahdi Hamajulde, student of Mass Communication, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.