Some FCT residents on Tuesday called on parents to teach their children how to speak or communicate in their mother tongue.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja in separate interviews that the inability of children to express themselves in their native language was worrisome and have contributed to the extinction of Nigerian languages.
A linguist and school teacher, Mr. Augustine Ifueko said: “as a teacher, I will say we should be blamed too. In many schools, it is an offence for students to speak in vernacular and that contributes to their lack of interest in local languages. When a pupil is punished for speaking his or her language, what do you expect? So, these children grow up without interests in their languages because they see it as inferior to the English language,” he said.
Similarly, a civil servant, Mrs Favour Adams, put the blame on parents, saying: “Parents are supposed to teach children their local dialects, especially in their formative years. But some have neglected their duties and have taken up the role of school teachers. They have become English teachers at home as they prefer communicating with their wards in English,’’ she said.
According to her, the first learning environment is the home, the child should get used to his/her mother tongue before the English language.
A lecturer at the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja, Mr Abayomi Agboola, blamed inter-tribal marriages for the development, citing his own case as an example.
“My mother is Igbo, while my father is Yoruba, so there was this communication barrier. The only means of communication was English language, so they raised us using English,” he said.
He expressed concern that unless urgent steps are taken, our local languages might become extinct and this may lead to an identity problem.
“Language defines people’s identity, so to lose one’s language is to lose one’s identity. If we allow our local languages to go into extinction, we will lose our identity as Nigerians,” he warned.
Also, an actress, Ms Olaide Morenike, traced the gradual erosion of Nigerian languages to western civilisation.
“We have allowed western culture to takeover our own culture and part of it is what is affecting our languages today. Today, people prefer foreign films and music to our own and children grow up copying everything they watch, especially the English language.
“People, especially the young ones, should be encouraged to have interest in movies and music produced in our local languages this will make our languages stand the test of time,” she said.

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