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By EKAIWE IGINUA OSEMWEKHA
Last updated: 03/21/2011
I can define education as a state of giving on through which a person gets utility and a mental perspective of his other neighbourhood, in other words, it is a process where both formal and informal education make a great contribution in the order of return in accountability.
However, the teaching of English Language in Benin Kingdom did not quite reflect my definition because our language was referred to as vernacular, not to be spoken in the classroom.
Consequently, the early learners of English language became enslaved by the limitations of their era. This led to inferiority complex which translated to a hallmark in the midist of other tribes like Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba who were determined to maintain the statusquo of speaking their language despite the challenges militating against their use in classrooms.
This attitude culminated to a depressive magnitude that the obnoxious English Language designed to create a yawning gap in communication amongst the Benin speaking, translated to Pidgin English.
If those assumptions is cut down to the desired specifications, it would become clear that the bifocal interactions between the community of Benin speaking people generated lesser opportunity for individual.
The fact remains that when the populace have good communication skills in their mother tongue like it is done in civilized society of Europe that they can fully comprehend the introduction of English as a foreign language.
So, when this basic requirement of life was removed or restrained by people who tried to entrench foreign culture on our people it tantamount to a society shed of basic necessity of life.
A good or bad society is usually assessed by good or bad communication skills or by the degree of anti-social behaviour. Our children have been turned to a generation that can no longer speak correct English or their mother tongue.
A good example of a generation that can no longer speak their language is in the Benin places. A woman who wanted to purchase beef meat?” The trader replied: “Na two hundred naira”. Then the purchaser replied: “Na one hundred naira I get”. The retailer responded: I no think say your teeth strong well to shop meat. If not for the quick intervention of other traders, a serious fight could have started.
Let us look at another market scenario at Ibadan. I was about to purchase a loaf of bread and I said to the retailer. “How much is your bread?” The lady retorted: “Me Ogbe Oyi-ne”. In trying to inquire further, the lady rhetorically said: “filejare, Omakebeboke, me Ogbe”. I was wondering how non indigene can buy anything in such environment. But after knowing that these people will not speak Pidgin English, I was compelled to learn the language.
In Europe, if you speak English to an Italian police, he will reply; “me Italiane no speak English”. So, if you want to live comfortably, you must endeavour to interact in Italian language.
A respondent, His Royal Highness, the Enogie Obazuwa as to why many Bini people prefer speaking Pidgin English to their off spring instead of Edo Language said. “For seventeen years after the deportation of Oba Ovoramwen to Calabar, the Binis became scared and wanted to embrace the English Language.
Agho Obaseki who was a messenger to the British people had little skills in English Language and the white man had wanted to enthrone him as king and he rejected the offer twice. But when it became clear that Oba Ovoranmwen was no longer coming back, he wanted to succumb to the demand of the white man. The Ero of Urubi objected to such offer and told the white man that as it is customary in Benin land, it is only the Oba’s son that can be crown as Oba. Oba Eweka II was subsequently crowned as Oba.
When the introduction of no vernacular was permitted in schools, Pupils came home and started communicating in English that was not very correct. The chaotic discord occasioned by Britain invasion of Benin Empire have great negative impact on our language artifacts and economy.
However, they should know that our language is not vernacular, but Edo Language. Also, they should remember where they came from, that for about four hundred years after Williams of Normandy conquered English in 1066, Norman French became the language of the English Court and schools.
So, the modern English contains many hundreds of French words or their derivatives. No instance, all the following are French origin: abbit, assize, beef, charity, comedy, courtesy, homour, justice, verdict, tragedy, trespass, e.t.c.
So, like Edo Language, French is a functional language whose knowledge enhance our knowledge or English since the latter is to a larger extent derived from it.
For shoe remenace and richness in Language surpasses French or any other language.
In the light of the above, the Benin people should stop teaching their children Pidgin English, instead, they should endeavour to speak correct Edo Language at home in the market places and public gatherings.
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