Some parents in Kaduna on Friday restated their commitment in ensuring that their children learn and speak their mother tongue fluently.
The parents made the commitment in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on the International Mother Tongue Day being marked on February 20, every year since 2000.
The Day is being observed to promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multiculturalism, and contribute to promoting peaceful dialogue and social inclusion.
The 2020 theme is: “Languages without borders’’.
Hajiya Amina Isa, a mother told NAN that mother tongue helps in providing a definite shape to the emotions and thinking of a child.
Isa, who stresses the importance of learning mother tongue said, it is crucial in enhancing other skills such as critical thinking.
According to her, knowing mother tongue well gives pride to the individual, boosts one’s confidence and creates awareness in the individual’s mind while also helping them connect with their cultural identity in a better manner.
She said mother tongue has a huge positive influence in defining the personality of an individual.
Another parent, Mrs Saadiya Yusuf, said she will ensure that she instil her culture to her children so that they can easily be identified wherever they go to.
Yusuf called on parents to always teach their children how to speak their language.
“There are situation whereby you have some important things to tell your child privately and you are in the presence of other people, you can easily use your mother tongue, so it is very important.
“To me, one will not be able to teach anyone a second language if he does not have that mother tongue language within him because mother tongue is extra important,’’ she said.
However, Mr Samuel Daniel, a father, said “even though it is important to learn our mother tongue but I prefer my kids to learn and speaks English language fluently unlike any other language.
“We are in a digital world, it is very important for my children to learn English language more than any other language.’’.
A language expert, Dr Audee Tanimu-Giwa of Kaduna State University said mother tongue cannot be underrated because no matter what any language one learns, it was fashioned by the mother tongue.
“That is why whenever one is not able to speak his second language fluently, then you will hear people say it is the influence of their mother tongue,’’ he said.
Tanimu-Giwa, who is also an Associate Professor of English, said mastering of the second language should not be difficult for one because of the competence one has in his mother tongue.
“This simply means proficiency in the mother tongue creates simplicity acquisition of the second language by whoever is speaking it,’’ he said.
According to him, the mother tongue makes us who we are as it is God given, because we do not stress ourselves to learn it.
“That is why it appears simple to the speaker because he or she did not go to school to acquire it,’’ he added.
He said Nigeria is a very peculiar country with numerous languages.
“This is why we cannot adopt a single language as our mother tongue because if we could, then the colonial masters would have done that for us.
“English only serves as a unifying language for all of us in Nigeria,
“For instance, if you notice the major three division of languages in Nigeria not discounting the mother tongue, the east cast their news first in English and then in Igbo language, likewise in the north and west.
“This is so because without a recast in the mother tongue, a lot of information will be lost,’’ the creative writing teacher said.
The professor said if Nigeria tries to adopt mother tongue as a unifying language, so many factors such as religion, ethnicity, and tribalism will come in to disrupt the establishment.
“For us to save the extinction of the mother tongue each major language should have its orthography, we should be able to teach it, write it and recite it, and also document it.
“If a language is well documented, then in thousands of years to come, it will be used in history.
“Any language that is not ready to adopt itself, then it is not helping the users,’’ he said.
He recommend that every language user should be able to use of it widely be it through media, writing, documentation and so many other ways.
Edited By: Kabir Muhammad/Maharazu Ahmed
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