Personal Stories

Oluwadamilola Asks Her Mother Why She Was Not Taught How To Speak Yoruba, Here Is Her Mother’s Response


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Many parents encourage their children to speak more of English language than their mother tongue, for reasons best known to them.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Oluwadamilola is unable to speak Yoruba. It is often embarrassing when she comes across Nigerians and she can’t relate with them.

Telling anyone she is Nigerian is often met with disbelief because she pronounces native words with an English accent, even her names, which her all in Yoruba – Oluwadamilola Ganiyat Ariki Sodeinde.


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“As a child, because you were the only child, and maybe other things I’m not aware of, you spoke well, you grapsed things well, you were very alert, you were very intelligent but when it comes to speaking, your speech was kind of… some of the words were twisted” Oluwadamilola’s mother told her in a conversation hosted by the BBC.

When her parents heard that if they spoke too much Yoruba to her, it would affect her English, they were worried and had to stop. Years later, Oluwadamilola’s parents realized that the advice was due to prejudice.

Despite that, Oluwadamilola doesn’t feel more of British than Yoruba, Oluwadamilola is still keen on learning her mother tongue.

Watch the full conversation on BBC.

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