Motherhood

To Speak Or Not To Speak?

   

My two and half year old niece amazes me. She speaks English and Yoruba quite well. This is because sometimes she spends time at her grandparent’s house in Ibadan and her great grandma who hardly speak any English stay at my parents’ as well. So you can imagine the English and Yoruba conversations that go on in that house. One time my grandma called her and I heard her say “Mama, mo n bo o”. Another time someone else called her and she replied “ I am coming”. That cracked me up! The girl even says some Yoruba words that I don’t know. At that age she can interpret English to Yoruba and vice versa and she knows who to speak English and Yoruba to respectively. If I say I am not amazed, I lie.

So  I was sharing my amazement with a friend and she was like “ah they have turned your niece into iya arugbo (old woman) ” referring to her speaking Yoruba. I laughed at the time but thinking about it later, I wondered, when did speaking your local language  become razz or an old person’s thing to do. If children don’t speak it when they are young is it when they are older they will speak it?

I think many  people are guilty of this notion. The worse ones are some that live in Nigeria and refuse to speak their local language to their children “Please , I don’t want my children to be razz” (so that means that you are razz because you speak it too ?), “We only speak Queen English in our house” (Fake fake). What a sad and ignorant thing to think.

I observe Asian parents with their children  and all you hear them speak is their native language. And I can bet you that those children can speak English fluently. Why do we have this mentality that if our children speak their local language they won’t be able to speak English? You! yes you, don’t you speak both English and Yoruba and maybe learn other foreign language like French effortlessly? Or what exactly is the issue, I really what to understand it. If someone can explain it to me I will appreciate that.

I have one kind of respect for people who can speak Yoruba well and English even better. It trips me. I am definitely not the best Yoruba speaking person (I can hardly pray well in Yoruba or read a book in Yoruba) but I can converse relatively well in Yoruba. My wish is for Princess to understand and speak Yoruba well enough amongst other languages. I want her to be able to hold her own wherever she is. Because of this I speak Yoruba to her as much as I can. Yes I am razz like that, bite me! lol

An uncle of mine who works with the American embassy told me Yoruba language is hot cake in the States and there are Americans looking for people to teach them Yoruba. What am I even saying, my sister, once had a job in her school to teach one of her American lecturers Yoruba and she was getting paid per hour ( i think), no be say dem tell me. I tell you, this language we have so belittled has serious potential. And you are there feeling cool speaking Queen English. Proud that your children don’t speak Yoruba. Yeye!

Yoruba is such a rich language and if we are not careful it will go into extinction with all this nonsense posh behaviour we acquired from only God knows where. Today, Latin is considered a dead language. Even though it is still taught in schools, there are no native, fluent speakers of Latin. What a shame!

We all need to do our part if we don’t want same happening to the Yoruba Language. I beg una, keep speaking the language. Hopefully our mentality will change gradually.

I have said my own o! If I have offended any one by this note, e ni binu ni o (don’t be annoyed) because na true talk I talk and you know it. 🙂

Olorun a ko wa mo se (somebody please translate!) Lol

Writer : Aloted – http://alotedbabe.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit – Fuse


Click to comment

0 Comments

  1. nifemioyedele@hotmail.com'

    Neefemi

    September 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I am proud to speak my language, everybody should and i intend to have my kids speak it even better than i do.

  2. bolajuwon2002@yahoo.com'

    ayobola

    September 15, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I am proud of my language and the culture. When i traveled somewhere and they saw me kneeling to greet, they were fascinated and called it ‘RESPECT’.

  3. fadenyke277@yahoo.com'

    Nikky

    September 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Yes,tell dem let dem hear.Speakin yoruba language is a pride 2 me evn in public places,so lets try 2 teach our younger ones 2 speak gud yoruba lang. it’s our heritage so lets protect it.

  4. parisbornnaija@yahoo.com'

    sola

    September 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Well, I just happen to be one of the few people with great respect for my heritage. My friends yab me silly when I switch from English to Yoruba regardless of whose ox is gored(mi ran yan o).. lol…
    Even on fb, I update status in Yoruba.. And I tell anyone who cares to listen, my children will learn at least 2 indigenous languages and 2 foreign (plus or minus French, my other craze.. lol)
    emi gan mo pe mi razz! *wink*

  5. Pingback: The OK Road | FEMME LOUNGE ::: Young Women Doing Life Together

  6. sollybabe@gmail.com'

    Solsy

    September 27, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    True talk. i am a yoruba lady recently married to an edo man. i speak both english and yoruba to my daughter (though she is still young to capture)and encourage my mother inlaw to speak edo language to her as well.

    I will encourage her to speak my language and that of her dads fluently and of course english and any other foreign language (french or spanish).i envy people who can speak many languages,afterall,it doesnt take anything from you. Abi bawo ni?

  7. bolanlemakeuppro@gmail.com'

    Bolanle O F

    September 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    O!

    This is a subject that makes my head rolllll! So please forgive me in advance, I know my reply will we long o!

    I am one of those that has spent most of their adult life ‘abroad’ and in all honesty I speak more Yoruba now than when I lived in Lagos. thinking back, I know we grew up speaking both languages but relocating met me making more of an effort to keep Yoruba going in my lead :).
    HAving been to schools with a very wide international bunch, I know it is strange for a non-English person to NOT speak their own language, very strange! I know quite a few people that you couldn’t converse with their family as an outside cause they spoke no English, with no apology I must add.
    O! This is modern day Kolo-mentality, a nija person that can’t speak any nija language ke? Its a shame. I realise that language helps you understand culture much better and that heritage is lost and ‘wasted’ if it is not emraced and celebrated.
    I am ashamed to see Nija people that would rather their children speak French than Igbo. chai! God forbid!!!!:) My son is 16months old now, learning English and Yoruba and left to me, he should speak Yoruba first! He will always pick up English.
    The depth of expressions you can achieve in other languages cannot be compared with English alone.
    Ashamed to speak your mother-tongue? To me = an underlying need to disassociate yourself from your heritage. Just say you wish you were born ‘English’ and get over it!FULL STOP

  8. bolanlemakeuppro@gmail.com'

    Bolanle O F

    September 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    1. O!
    This is a subject that makes my head rolllll! So please forgive me in advance, I know my comment will be long!
    I am one of those that has spent most of their adult life ‘abroad’ and in all honesty I speak more Yoruba now than when I lived in Lagos. Thinking back, I although we grew up speaking both languages, relocating ment me making more of an effort to keep Yoruba going in my head .

    Having been to schools with a very mixed, international bunch, I know it is strange for a non-English person to NOT speak their own language, very strange! A few people had parents that you couldn’t converse with as an outsider cause they spoke no English, with no apology I must add.

    O! This is modern day Kolo-mentality, a nija person that can’t speak any nija language ke? Its a shame. I realise that language helps you understand culture much better and that heritage is lost and ‘waisted’ if it is not embraced and celebrated.

    I am ashamed to see Nija people that would rather their children speak French than Igbo. chai! God forbid!!!!:) My son is 16months old now, learning English and Yoruba and left to me, he should speak Yoruba first! He can always pick up English.
    The depth of expressions you can achieve in other languages cannot be compared with English alone.

    Ashamed to speak your mother-tongue? To me = an underlying need to disassociate yourself from your heritage. Just say you wish you were born ‘English’ and get over it! FULL STOP

  9. ebonyoma4eva@yahoo.com'

    Omada

    September 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    all i can say is some people are silly! speaking your language is razz? rubbish!
    if you like blow grammer from now till Jesus comes you will never be English!

  10. afrikangoddess@gmail.com'

    N. Amma Twum-Baah

    September 28, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Very interesting topic of discussion. Thanks for raising the issue. I have heard a lot of that too – that teaching your children how to speak their local language confuses them. I was raised to speak both languages too (Akan – I am Ghanaian), and I’m did, and am still, doing just fine.

    I think for a lot of Africans it has more to do with our inbred discomfort with who we are. I’m not quite sure when all that changed because my father’s generation was not like that. This generation is something else. We don’t want to look “African,” we don’t want to speak “African,” and we definitely don’t want to hang out with “Africans”!

  11. lolaolojede@hotmail.com'

    Lola

    September 28, 2010 at 7:45 am

    That’s how we see it o! The northerners, hausas, to be specific don’t joke with their language no matter how educated they are. Many of them speak the local language to their children as they grow up and when they start school, they learn english.

    We should be proud of our language and speak it anywhere. It amazes me to see a grown up adult not able to speak his/her local language. It’s embarassing to me….

  12. Kissy5@hotmail.com'

    Faith

    September 28, 2010 at 8:30 am

    I live in London and I see my friends trying hard to make their kids speak native language. What bothers me is they only speak the language when the kids is misbehaving, maybe so that the people around will not understand. Although I may not understand, the terrifying looks on the child face says it all. As a Nigerian, some have extreme ways of doing things, I believe that if you want your kids to learn a language, you can start by speaking it around them.

  13. oibidun@ymail.com'

    ibidun

    September 28, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Am proud to be a yoruba woman and i speak yoruba with my children, why shold i hide my language. i pity those who does that teach their children their local language because tim will tell

  14. darkgurl18@yahoo.com'

    Rukevwe

    September 28, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Well, it is quite a shame but we have turned our native language to.let me briefly share my experience,i am from Delta State and was born and brought up in Ibadan but my father banned speaking of english in our home,only my native language was spoken. he said that is why he sent us to good schools where we will learn english language and he didnt even give us english names either!!! during my IT training in 2005,my coordinator was from my place but i didnt know, he asked for my name and i told him, he then started speaking the language to me and i was responding,after a while he shook his head and was looking at me, he said his children cant speak and he blames himself because of what my father did to us.later, the data for my project was to cost me N12,000 but just because i could speak, he gave me all free of charge while my classmates paid. this is just one out of several.
    please parents, i really urge you to teach your children their mother tongue especially we mothers as children ted to be with us more often. i am even happy that my kids will learn two languages as my fiance and i are not from the same place and he is already teaching me his language. there is nothing as good as speaking and understanding your mother tongue, i can bet you it will open doors for you one day.

  15. oniomonike@yahoo.com'

    Nike OnI

    September 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Nice advise for those that are ignorant of this…

  16. buchyx@yahoo.co.uk'

    buchi

    September 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    personally i feel a bit sad that i cant speak but can interprete my mother tongue (ibo) and funny i can speak yoruba fluently. the thing is that while growing up our nursery and primary schools discourage us from speaking the various nigerian language in school and it was a corporal offence to do so.

    I can say that majority of my friends as well cant speak our native language and learnt that the critical period and school age period is the best tyme.

  17. chyohany@yahoo.com'

    Phebe

    September 28, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I don’t speak any other language fluently than English and am dead jealous every time i see people speak my language. I guess i didn’t learn to speak Igbo cus my parents were from different tribes(Efik and Igbo) so the easiest way to communicate was English. My dad told me that wen i was little because i grew up having just one family friend who was a Yoruba,i learn t to speak Yoruba so well, but soon after we moved,i forgot everything.Am Igbo and i understand very well but i cant speak. Now as an adult i make so great an effort to have a full conversation in Igbo and not switch over to English in between cus i got stuck.Am getting married to an Igbo man and am determined my kids will speak their mother tongue just the same way they would be able to speak English.

  18. ourniyi_706@yahoo.com'

    ola oni

    September 28, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    well there should be a balance.

  19. beautyay@yahoo.com'

    Beauty Fabulous

    September 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I speak my mother tongue with great pride and also Yoruba and Igbo.
    I speak all four to my two months old son.
    I want him to be a linguist too.
    There should be no shame in speaking one’s mother longue.
    Its your identity and once you lost it, you lost your identity…period!!!

    So mothers the ball is in your court…I rest my case.

  20. tolucci10@yahoo.com'

    tolulope

    September 28, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    am so loving this , the idea of not letting one’s kids learn the mother tongue is a colonial mentality , the feeling that ‘anything native is primitive’.am an ijesha and am so proud of it , i can speak it fluently and when i have kids , i will surely teach them not only yoruba but the hard core ijesha.

  21. kattyagbo5@yahoo.com'

    catherine Agbo

    September 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    This is about the best topic I have read on femme Lounge.
    It is a pity and really disgusting for someone to try to create an identity that is not theirs.
    For crying out loud, we are Africans with our native languages and we should get used to that and not try to be more english than the english.
    It is a shame on any adult who does not know how to express themself in their native language.
    Unfortunately, you find many who cannot even express themselves in english fluently saying proudly that they cant speak their languages.
    I had an experience with a boy of about 28 recently. I was somewhere with my younger sister and naturally we were speaking in our native language-Tiv and then this young man is like “anty e be lyk se we from d same place only say me i no sabi speak d language”.
    I was really annoyed at him and I asked him “since you do not speak your language and you cant speak good english too, how do you communicate?” Lol!
    He was quite embarressed cos the people around had a good laugh.
    I think this whole idea is an off shoot of colonialism. If we have truly gained independence, we should drop this kind of mentality and embrace our cultures.
    As my own form of protest to coloniasitation, I will only give my children native names in their parents’ dialects.

  22. Lolaolemoh@yahoo.com'

    Lola

    September 28, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Dis is really interesting.am sooo loving this…..i speak yoruba 2 my children well. D problem is not just d language,what abt our food!!!
    I was wt a friend in london and her son takes only cereal.he calls d likes of eba and amala SHIT!!! Dat is really annoying.i cant let one child kill me wt buying cereal and milk all d time. Now,it nt abt d money,but we need to let our kids grow up at least, a bit of d native way.

  23. tolucci10@yahoo.com'

    tolulope

    September 29, 2010 at 11:30 am

    lola, i love this , ‘wat about our food’. In nigeria , it has become a fad not to introduce nigerian dishes to kids , it’s about ‘ coco pops, kellogs,rice kripses and e.t.c’, they don’t even like naija made cereals like ‘nasco cornflakes ,golden morn ‘. it’s becoming very crazy among the middle class in nigeria , they just want to be like the joneses.

  24. tbs4real@yahoo.co.uk'

    Tunbosun

    September 29, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Cool read,
    Apart from Yoruba or whatever our ethnic language is, being money earners and blah blah, I just find it the most expressive language in the world. Where the same word have like 5meanings depending on the tone of ur voice, the look on ur face, and even ur gestures.
    What a miss…for those who think Yoruba is nice.
    I even have some people change their name to suite their work environ, not me.
    My name is Tunbosun, and I work in a multi-national, half of the people I work with thot the name was too long, but I told deem…it’s my name, and u have to learn it, cos I chose to learn urs.
    So sometimes, I think we just push d boundaries for razzness too far… What exactly is razzness?
    I have nieces and nephews that have never visited Nigeria too, and they understand whatever u express to deem in Yoruba. And dats so col, cos when I go to pick them from school, when am with them, and I converse with deem in mega Yoruba, I see impression on peoples face.

    Yoruba is my language, Ijebu-ode is my hometown.
    Those are the things that make me proud.
    So if u re English or Jamaican or costarican or Spanish or waterer, u ve to learn how my name goes, it’s T U N B O S U N!
    Capiche?

  25. faloyeronke@yahoo.com'

    foluke

    September 30, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    If there is anything i value with the Igbos is the fact that they are proud to speak there language anytime, anyday, anywhere.but Yorubas,we too dey pose pose and not proud of our language.e je ka be asa wa laruge.lets not forget our routes.once a Yoruba ,always a Yoruba.you can not change your origin,you can only change your location.its time we start the crusade now,else Yoruba a di ohun igbagbe.thanks for bringing this up.
    Oluwafolukemi is my name.i hail from Idanre in Ondo state , a proud decsendant of Oduduwa

  26. akinyele_t@yahoo.com'

    toyin

    October 1, 2010 at 4:43 am

    PLZ jare which one of the American Embassies? make i go put application @ dis recession time? if na language be d deliverer; lemme know abey ni oruko oluwa ti yin oni baje ooo!!!!

  27. fun19uk@yahoo.com'

    Funmilayo

    October 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Meaning.. God will teach us how do it! What a lovely note! God bless u.

  28. jumokeanimation@yahoo.com'

    jumoke

    October 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    men i do agree with this weeks writer and i am ashamed to say i do not speak Yoruba just English and French fluently. my fatner forbade my mom from teaching when we where tots, he wanted her to speak his dialect and it hurts to be unable to converse with my grandmother who speaks only Yoruba. i try to speak but get laughed at and discouragement sets in all the time. i would like someone to speak with me and not laugh when i reply. its a sign of strength and Nigerianess if you ask me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Woman.NG is the first and biggest blog for Nigerian women. We write, aggregate and curate inspiring, informative, and entertaining content for women, across multiple platforms.

For Adverts & Enquiries:

Email: info@woman.ng
08177780045

Copyright © 2015 Woman.NG. Designed by Soft Runner

To Top