Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Not Too Proud Of Me In This Aspect

I woke up today and did not actually know what directed my train of thoughts to this issue about Nigerian Languages.
I started thinking about how many kids in the generation after us actually know how to speak their parent's language compared to other African countries.I actually know one of my friends sister's sons that can't speak their parents language just because the parents did not introduce them to it and it is only the last born that only understand the language because the grandmum was around when she was born and growing up.

Reminiscing about the issue for a while,I started thinking about our generation as well and start to wonder how many people can read and write in their native language even if you can speak and understand it.I can't write in my native language and can only read a couple of words which might take a while for me to really be able pronounce it very well,which I am not proud of anyway.

I tried thinking of where to place the blame on,is it our parents,the primary and high school went to(for people that schooled in Nigeria) or we ourselves for not been interested.For example,we were never for one day taught any Nigerian language at the primary school that I attended,but been bombarded with enough French classes and some Latin classes and on getting to high school,it was crazy.I remember in JSS1,I was the class captain and out yoruba teacher was one mean ass chic like this and I mean she was a chic...fine,curvaceous and sexy thang.She almost beat the living daylight out of me for flunking all the test we had then.I could not even read in yoruba.Well after struggling through JSS with help from classmates because they were looking for favor me excluding their names from noise makers and sort,got to SSS and the principal announced that,every student has to choose a Nigerian language to learn through SS1 to SS3 and you can not choose your own Native language.So if you are a yoruba,you have to choose either Igbo or Hausa.I was almost questioning God why he did this to me again since I thought I already escaped that phase in life.

Well I ended up choosing Igbo,because my deskmate'mum was Igbo and his dad is yoruba and he has a yoruba name,but understands Igbo very well.So both of us ended up choosing Igbo and that was when I found out that Igbo is not that had to write as yoruba is,because in yoruba you have to keep putting all the signs on top pf the letters for people to actually know what you are talking about.Anyway I ended up getting As in Igbo all through my SSS,God bless Mr Okoronkwo.

With all that said,I just thought about it today,because this past Saturday at a friend's house warming party,we were just discussing about sending our kids to Nigeria or Ghana for high school experience,because of the crazy high school system I think in my opinion they have in this country.

A couple of questions popped up in my head that,what if your kids now take an interest in your native language and comes to you for help,either to read or write,what will you do? Or what do you say to making sure your kids learn your native language and speak it to them as well.


At Tuesday, August 01, 2006 9:08:00 PM, Blogger Cherub (former Bijouxoxo) said...

I never could figure out how to place the "ami ohun" (pronunciation signs) on the words. I actually learnt Hausa as my Nigerian language but i've forgotten almost all that i learnt.

I know how to speak Yoruba, and even write but without the signs on top. It's sad, the way some people try to prevent their kids from learning their native language.

I remember back in school in Nigeria, the "posh kids" weren't allowed to speak or learn any language other than English, French and other European languages. Isn't that something?

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:37:00 AM, Blogger DiAmOnD hawk said...

it's the fault of our parents no doubt. I mean I cant speak my language but yet i met someone in the States...born and raised...that speaks it fluently..

To be honest, I just never placed any importance to it. I always felt it kinda "razz" or "local" when ppl wont start speaking it in school. Im more mature now... and Im learning now as well...Im improving too...but im too old to ever speak it completely fluently especially with a "weird" accent

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 4:42:00 AM, Blogger DiAmOnD hawk said...

[would not wont]

soooo NB u have a kid? or were you actually...and comfortably...talking about the future which if i am to be presumptuous includes marriage...

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 12:28:00 PM, Blogger NaijaBloke said...

@bijouxoxo yes it was the "ami ohun" thing that I had problems with.I can write it from speaking it o,but putting the ami ohun on it is the problem cos I never figured it out and I think thatz why it is difficult to read now.I know how to speak yoruba past fluently self,please schooled all my life in naija including college and only did my masters here.

@Diamond..somehow I don't really blame our parents that much cos left to me I think my parents were trying to give us quality education by sending us to a better school(private schools) where the schools refused to teach u ur language all in the sake of teaching u English and french.I assume u r Igbo right?
Diamond I don't have kids that I know of sha unless Halle Berry or Beyonce comes out saying I gave dem belle o.Yeah I am comfortably talking abt the future which u r very right on the presumptuous part includes marriage.

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 12:30:00 PM, Blogger NaijaBloke said...

@bijouxoxo ..I could speak a lil' bit of igbo when i was in high school,especially the cursing out part,but now the only thing I can sayin Igbo is probably "Aha mbu Naijabloke" means My name is Naijabloke

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 3:52:00 PM, Blogger Nigerican said...

I was never able to talk with my dads parents cause they only spoke our language.One day my cousin translated as my grandmother spoke to me with tears in her eyes saying "i wish i could speak english so i can talk to my grandchild".I regret not learning my dads language and i really can't blame anyone but myself.My dad was too lazy to teach me and my mom's not Nigerian so she wouldn't have been much help either .I speak hausa though(lived in the north).

At Wednesday, August 02, 2006 7:03:00 PM, Blogger NaijaBloke said...

@Nigerican -I feel u on that issue,men that why I vowed that my children must learn my language o even if I dont get married to a Nigerian.
I actually have a Mexican American friend and u won't even know that shez not a Nigerian if u hear her speaking pidgin English.She is so good at it that i always make fun of her that she was sent here by mistake.

At Thursday, August 03, 2006 2:19:00 PM, Blogger Biodun said...

Yeah it is a big issue, I still feel the parents r mostly to blame. My parents taught me n my siblings how 2 speak yoruba, I am not so fluent in ijebu though I understand it. I was lucky to attend a primary skool that taught yoruba, so that is the only reason I can write it. My kids HAVE to know how 2 speak n write in yoruba definitely. If it means taking lessons or somethin, although I have the speaking aspectlock down n all

At Friday, August 04, 2006 9:25:00 AM, Blogger kulutempa said...

kids need to learn a language, and african kids need to learn their native languages. they need to feel like they belong somewhere. i have this dumb ass friend with two kids who thinks that it would be better for his kids to learn a language like french rather than his native Hausa because, and i quote, "learning your native language in nigeria makes you tribalistic." i almost punched him for being so stupid. and it's sad, cuz i can't speak my own native language and so for the rest of my life, i will be referred to thusly by my countrypeople, "the poor thing. do you know she cannot even speak Khana? it's a pity. nobody will even know where she is from." b*tches...

At Friday, August 04, 2006 7:22:00 PM, Blogger Tutsy said...

What can i say? Mehn u hit the nail right on the head........i was just having this debate with my cousins about two weeks ago, about how annoying and irritating it is for children of Nigerian decent not being able to speak the language or better yet, don't you just love it when they give you the bullshit excuse "i can't speak it...but i understand it" as in WTF.....if u are smart enough to understand it then ur ass should be smart enough to speak it....i can even tolerate not being able to write it, 'cuz i can't write my native language either.

But bottom line, i blame the parents...YES...its all the parent's fault why the hell would naija parents encourage thier kids to speak English only? all in the name of "i don't want them to get confused"....or better yet "i don't want them to develop an accent like mine" then they get all hyper and shit when the kid comes home with an akata or oyinbo boy....isn't that what they set themselves up for....i mean common...if thier kids was too good to have an accent or speak thier native language then why should he/she marry someone with such attributes? Some cases are even so bad the Kids can't pronouce thier names correctly....men!!! that make me sick to my stomach......or some kids are even quick to issue disclaimers when they tell u u ..."well my parents are Nigerians, but i was born here" ....... so you see....you can't grow corn and expect yam to germinate, u reap what the hell u sow.

Although my siblings and i were born here, we all had our High School Education in Lagos were we learned all about our culture, and Language.....i have confess that feeling is PRICELESS, even if i am as rich as Oprah tommorrow i am still sending my Kids down to Nigeria for a dose of that Upbringing instilled in us, 'cuz i have to admit that was one of best decisions my parents ever made. Honestly, I am a little apprehensive about second generation Nigerians in the U.S, as in...alot of lineage is about to get eradicated

We see Hispanic, Chinese, Indian, Russian Kids speaking thier language fluently...helping thier parents with translation, yet has never set foot in thier country of Origin....but the Nigerian kid born in Yankee ....hell no..he/she is busy posing trying so hard not to be labeled an "AFRICAN"

Sorry i took up so much space....lol..u touched a sensitive topic...lol

At Saturday, August 05, 2006 9:00:00 PM, Anonymous Diamond said...

wow tutsy...first off...being able to understand and not speak is NOT an excuse...it's FACT...cuz if that's the case we should say you should be able to write it...i guess you excuse that because YOU cant write it so it makes sense to you.

and i think as a whole..ppl need to accept where ppl say they're from. Is it by force that ppl should say they are from somewhere they cant truly identify with? Except of course it's blatantly obvious that they're lying...as in they have a thick accent but are claiming something else...which gives an idea of where their esteem may lie. but everyone is a work in progress...

to each his own.
i always wonder why peeps get so emotional over things like this..why is it so hard to accept ppl just as they come

At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 6:54:00 PM, Blogger SapphireAster said...

ok so my parents didnt let us speak yoruba at home but they spoke the language to us. I learnt how to speak the language when I became a boarder in SS3. I dropped yoruba in SS1 and planned on being absent during the SSCE exam date.

Mehn...my father sent me back to go take the exam...I got a C. O well. Anyways, I think I would blame parents as well.

Asfor me, my kids will know how to speak it to the extent that I know. My non-Nigerian boyfriend is learning already!

At Tuesday, August 08, 2006 7:46:00 PM, Blogger Lee said...

This Issue is one which I think I would blame on the parents sha...
I come from a biracial background and having lived in Nigeria, I speak Yoruba fluently and my Dad's local dialect.
I was able to understand because my paternal grandma lived with us, so we had no choice but to speak to her in yoruba,while she replied us in the local dialect.(Ife).
Now coming to my other half, my mom never spoke to us in Filipino, she was just being lazy and both parents used it as thier secret language but then again, thats why I moved to Asia to live with my grandparents and study here. Now i do understand the filipino language and heck the dialect, yea they have so many dialects too. So i guess, I'm not loosing anything.
Its something I have learnt from, If I marry a Nigerian, and I don't live in Nigeria, I will train the child to speak the language (my dad spoke yoruba to me at times but my response was always in English), or I'd send the kid to Nigeria for vacation to understand the culture firsthand.. and ohh well if i get married to an Eskimo, we gonna send the kid up North also, so its all gravy..-:)
Nothing beats firsthand knowledge of Cultural Ethics and Values..So if I have to send them back to Nigeria or Gambia or Senegal or wherever, well its for their benefit too.

At Wednesday, August 09, 2006 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous didi said...

tutsy hit the nail on the head.i blame parents not necessarily teachers.

At Friday, August 11, 2006 6:40:00 AM, Blogger Nneka's World said...

I must say that i am one of those people who cant speak my language, understand it very well, but learning how to do so.

Its a shame, but its one of the facts of life.
My parents never forced us, but i'll make sure my own kids understand it


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