Great Benin Bronze


Investing in The Future of Indigenous language in Africa.

By Uwagboe Ogieva

2 Mayo 2013

Language is a medium of communication, key factor of conversation and expressions. Its practice and exercise helps us to encode and decode information. Learning a language is the easiest thing anyone can do with much interest and enthusiasm. Constructing or developing any language could be as easy as when trying to construct and interpret, tones and sounds into a readable, writable and speakable expression. like on the guitar notes and piano tunes.

Research have shown that many African languages are bellow standard and left to rot because little or no crucial attention to standardize and develop them. Nearly all countries of the continent maintained their colonial linguistic heritage, culture, religion, education, political structures and discipline. Countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia uses English as their first language, Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, and most north Africa countries uses French, Angola uses Portuguese, Libya uses Italy while guinea equatorial uses Spanish. With the current state of globalization and digital age, human development and evolution, more technological awareness, the quest of making a super state, identity consciousness, stabilizing and modernizing democratic polity, economic structure, social, cultural and educational institutions, language become one of major concern.

There are more than 1000 major languages all across the African continent. Nigeria for example have about 12 major languages: Edo, Tiv, Igbo, Kanuri, Hausa, Efik/ibibio, Nupe, Yoruba, Igala, Urhobo, and many of these languages are yet to meet the requirement and materials as first language in their various nations.

In spite of the increase of faculties in institutions, books, teachers and movies on indigenous language, there are still huge challenges facing the language industry in Nigeria and Africa. The Edo people of the Midwest of Nigeria though have made an impact to implementing the use and learning of Edo language through their music and movie productions in Nigeria, many Edos still have problem with reading and writing in their mother tongue. Some Diaspora organizations have raised serious concern to this menace confronting the use and application of Edo language among the Edo people of Nigeria but it seems their voices are not loud enough for the government and corresponding institutions to take drastic action to save the language from extinction. Unesco have warns in 2008 that if many African language are not paid the proper attention, many will disappear in the next 50 years. African language like culture, religion, tradition, moral upbringing and many other socio values have been suffering abuse, misinterpretation and misused in most cases by their own. Sometimes when we talk about reading and writing African language people tend to be afraid `cause of it limited counts, less used and their ability to speak, read and write it fluently. Again back up with an inferiority complex.

However, beside limited and less comprehensive dictionaries on most African languages, much can be done if the people are willing to keep these languages alive. One could make use of what he or she has, love them, add value to them, develop them and be able to sell them with much values and creativity. Our ability to ideologically expand, research, innovates and put to function our resources and heritage makes us a super economic state which in tune will open the way for more employment opportunities. As an African, my experience took a new dimension when I first arrive in a new country in Europe, a different continent that uses a language different from one I was brought up with. A language I never heard before but could study and perfect its usage within a short period of time. African languages can actually be develop and standardize, so will make and easy and writing of these languages practicable both for indigenes and foreigners.

Reasons why most of these languages are not effective:

  • Not made compulsory, mandatory or obligatory for everyday activities and writings.
  • Limited and less comprehensive books and dictionaries
  • Lack of update and upgrade on news words and technology.
  • Poor habit of devaluation and negligence, poor attitude of buying into others so easily without consciousness of self defense and protection.
  • Less concentration on research, assessment and methodological
  • Lack of documentation and preservation
  • A compulsory writing literature

Merits if Applied.

  • Fast assimilation and understanding of data and information
  • High self esteem
  • Good mental health
  • Help attain higher level of IQ
  • Improve mental health
  • Enhance development of the brain
  • Protect, defines and collocates ones identity, heritage, security, and social peace
  • A unifying factor of a people
  • Links gaining recognition and honor by international communities.
  • Defines and evidentially portray truth and realities of history, position, and destiny of a people with their various contributions to humanity, pasted, present and future.
  • Gives originality and values to a people.

Demerits on negligence

  • Lots of identity and history.
  • Possibilities of low IQ and much dependency
  • Confusion and Psychological disorder.
  • Slow growth and development
  • Slow learning process.
  • Less recognition and honor by international community’s (except for their interest)
  • Impossibility of unifying a people or society without a unifying language

Ways to Improvements

    1. Adequate Dictionary elaborations and materials
    2. On Software, DVD/CDs, computer language translations.
    3. On Music, films, theatre acts, dramas, comedies and series
    4. On Satellite transmissions and interpretations
    5. Adequate textbooks avaliable in all level of education (translated)
    6. Documentation of events, history, incidents, occurrence in Edo language
    7. Use of the language in communication medias like:Television, Radio, newspapers, magazines, posters, handbills,
    8. In Websites or WebPages
    9. On Mobile phones applications
    10. Enforce the obligation of the teaching of the Edo language in all schools and universities in the state. A compulsory subject with math and English 
    11. Sponsor dictionary and software programs, research and more books through libraries in the state. (3) Organise awards, competitions, seminars and conferences including policies to implementing the language thought out Edoland... 
    12. Motion should be raised in the Edo house of Assembly to use the Edo language as second language through out the state.  

Steps to learn a new African language:

  • Develop interest and likeness
  • Get any simple dictionary, textbooks on its basics. DVD/CD as well (If any)
  • Practice and learn in an institution. If no, but to learn on personal study, then share with  friends, partner, comrades, family members to practices
  • Keep your constancy and dedication to it and in few months you are GREAT!

By Uwagboe Ogieva

2 May 2013


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