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My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi - Literature - Nairaland

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My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Davidflight: 8:11pm On Mar 29
I bumped into this article by our own Ada-Igbo, Adaobi Nwaubani, and I just can't restrain the hatred I bear for some of our Igbo parents. That our language is nearing extinction is because Igbo parents in their incenssant quest to westrnise their children, refuse them the ultimate benefit of engaging their language of identity.

Often times, children are scolded or given harsh corrections by their parents whenever they speak their language. Here is a case that justifies this reality which is clearly ravaging our society and battering our identity as a people.

Read here...

"In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani recalls how she was banned from speaking her mother tongue

My parents forbade my local language, Igbo, from being spoken in our home when I was a child.

Unlike the majority of their contemporaries in our hometown of Umuahia in south-east Nigeria, my parents chose to speak only English to their children.

They also conversed between themselves in English, even though they had each grown up speaking Igbo with their own parents and siblings.

On the rare occasion my father and mother spoke Igbo with each other, it was a clear sign that they were conducting a conversation in which the children were not expected to participate.

Guests in our home adjusted to the fact that we were an English-speaking household and conformed, with varying degrees of success.

Our live-in domestic staff were equally compelled to speak English.

Many arrived from their villages unable to utter a single word of the foreign tongue, but as the weeks rolled by, they began to string complete sentences together with less contortion of their faces.

Over the years, I endured people teasing my parents, usually behind their backs, for this decision. “They are trying to be like white people,” they said.

Similar accusations were levelled against Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s former prime minister, when he replaced Chinese with English as the official medium of instruction in schools.

But, as he explained in his autobiography, From Third World to First, “With English, no race would have an advantage… English as our working language has… given us a competitive advantage because it is the international language of business and diplomacy, of science and technology.”

My parents seemed to share these convictions.

Each time it was my turn to stand and read to my primary school class from our recommended Igbo textbook, the pupils burst into a giggling session at my placement of the wrong tones on the wrong syllables.

Again and again, the teacher made me repeat the words. Each time, the class’ laughter was louder. My off-key pronunciations tickled them no end.

But while the other pupils were busy giggling away, I went on to get the highest scores in Igbo tests. Always.

Because the tests were written – they did not require the ability to pronounce words accurately.

The rest of the class may have been relaxed in their knowledge of the language and so treated it casually, probably the same way a reckless Briton might treat his or her study of English.

I, on the other hand, considered Igbo foreign and so approached the subject studiously.

I also read Igbo literature and watched Igbo programmes on TV. My favourite was a comedy titled Mmadu O Bu Ewu?, which featured a live goat dressed in human clothing.

Speaking Igbo was also banned in the boarding school I attended.

The Federal Government Girls’ College, Owerri, was one of the country’s “Unity Schools” founded after the Nigerian civil war to promote integration among ethnic groups and to discourage divisions and tribalism.

Local languages were part of the curriculum, but speaking them beyond the classroom was a punishable offence.

And so, under the tutelage of some of the country’s best teachers, I continued my ardent study of Igbo, despite not having the opportunity to practise how to speak.

By the conclusion of secondary school, I was confident enough in my knowledge of Igbo to register it as one of my subjects of choice for the university entrance exam.

Everyone thought I was insane. Taking a major local language exam as a prerequisite for university admission was not child’s play.

I was treading where expert speakers themselves feared to tread. I still meet many Igbos who have been speaking the language all their lives, but are unable to read and write it fluently.

On the appointed day, presided over by supervisors in premises outside my school, less than six of us sat in the large hall, never mind that the exams were taking place in an Igbo town.

When the results were eventually released, my score turned out to be good enough, when combined with my scores in the two other subjects I chose, to land me a place to study psychology at Nigeria’s prestigious University of Ibadan.

In Ibadan, south-west Nigeria, home to the Yoruba ethnic group, I was free to speak Igbo at last.

Far away from home, from the giggling voices, and from those who did not allow me to speak Igbo, I was finally free to express the words that had been bottled up inside my head for so many years – the words I had heard people in the market speak, read in books and heard on TV.

Speaking Igbo in university was particularly essential if I was to socialise comfortably with the Igbo community there, as most of the “foreigners” in the Yoruba-dominated school considered it essential to be seen talking their language. “Suo n’asusu anyi! Speak in our language!” they often admonished when I launched a conversation with them in English.

“Don’t you hear the Yorubas speaking their own language?” Thus, in a strange land, I finally became fluent in a mother tongue that I had hardly uttered my entire life.

Today, few people can tell from my pronunciations that I grew up not speaking Igbo.

“Your wit is even sharper in Igbo than in English,” my mother insists.

These days, she enjoys it when I gossip with her in Igbo, although I still can’t get myself to speak the local tongue with my father who, despite being a typical Igbo man in many ways and a titled chief, has never regretted choosing English over Igbo.

Complete Reading: http://igbobia.com/?q=how-my-parents-banned-me-from-speaking-igbo-by-adaobi-tricia-nwabuchi.html

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by krak101(m): 8:16pm On Mar 29
Smart girl. But why will folks not want their kids speaking native languages


FTC in a long while. I dedicate this to all peace loving beings.

13 Likes

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Henryyy(m): 8:18pm On Mar 29
wink
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by sirusX(m): 8:37pm On Mar 29
Rising through challenges...

We need to change our mindset about how we treat our local languages, else it would become history to some families

Even some of those that travel abroad take time to teach their kids a thing or two about home of origin, language, culture and lifestyle

10 Likes

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Davidflight: 8:57pm On Mar 29
krak101:
Long story
Really...too long for you to read? Kai...Nigerians

22 Likes 2 Shares

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Davidflight: 8:59pm On Mar 29
sirusX:
Rising through challenges...

We need to change our mindset about how we treat our local languages, else it would become history to some families

Even some of those that travel abroad take time to teach their kids a thing or two about home of origin, language, culture and lifestyle
Honestly, the quest to be "Oyibos" just can't free our people from the crime of murdering our identity and cultural ideals

5 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by sirusX(m): 9:24pm On Mar 29
Davidflight:

Honestly, the quest to be "Oyibos" just can't free our people from the crime of murdering our identity and cultural ideals
Worse...it's still happening

1 Like

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by cstr151: 9:36pm On Mar 29
I actually won't be surprised. I heard one overbleached igbo bimbo talking about how she would forbid her children speaking anything apart from pure correct English.
The very depth of human stupidity and the zenith of brilliance and rational thought can be found in the igbo race.
It becomes a serious problem when stupid people begin to outnumber rationality.

42 Likes 4 Shares

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by igbofocus: 9:39pm On Mar 29
ignorant parents.............. we are gunning for the rebirth of NSIBIDI and AKAGU ....
i remeber showing my chinese lecture those nsibidi characters and how wowed she was!

its igbo or nothing.........................

and we are gonna make it happen!

26 Likes 3 Shares

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Yuneehk(f): 9:51pm On Mar 29
I can totally relate. I grew up not knowing how to speak just Igbo at home and I'm certain most Igbos in the West were just like me. My church with mainly Igbos probably knew this and started Igbo lessons inside the church premises. They urged parents to release their wards so they could attend too and that was where I first learnt the Igbo Alphabets.

Moving on to Senior secondary school, I stopped offering Yoruba and switched to Igbo language and even wrote it in WAEC(how I passed is something I still can't fathom cheesy )

I was sent far away to the east to further my education and that was when I took learning Igbo seriously. I had roommates from Enugu, Nnewi, Owerri and even Ngwa grin Little by little I started learning though I sounded funny because some spoke their dialects and not central Igbo(Igbo Izugbe) and that was how I learnt.

Now if I'm conversing with any Igbo person, I use Igbo. Makes the whole thing fun and at the same time, I get to master the language since practice brings about perfection. I won't make the same mistake my folks made. My children must learn Igbo. The Yorubas do it so we should too. I'm not ashamed of my place and I'm proudly Igbo wink

74 Likes 2 Shares

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by MrEgbegbe(m): 7:10am On Mar 30
Xd
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by TINALETC3(f): 7:10am On Mar 30
D story di 2 long biko ,me cn nt fit read it tongue
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by freshness2020: 7:11am On Mar 30
Morgan Freeman has said it all...

17 Likes 3 Shares

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by muller101(m): 7:12am On Mar 30
Ancient topic on FP.
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Adaowerri111: 7:12am On Mar 30
freshness2020:
Hmmm

Long crap
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by okonja(m): 7:12am On Mar 30
That is good
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Adaowerri111: 7:12am On Mar 30
Long crap
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Hoddor(m): 7:13am On Mar 30
It's all right....

23 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Olumoze(m): 7:13am On Mar 30
Yeah, your parent loves you so much they can't wait to bring an end to their own Heritage to an end, soon igbo language would become extinct.

1 Like

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by sureheaven(m): 7:14am On Mar 30
I will forever cherish my mother's tongue. My language is one of my culture.

1 Like

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by cutiedave(m): 7:16am On Mar 30
Summary pls...plenty talk no dey full plate

1 Like

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by lonelydora(m): 7:18am On Mar 30
I have been teaching my 4 year boy how to speak some words in my dialect, and I must say, he is really improving. School can teach him English but at home he gets to learn my dialect.

I bought this for him too.

11 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Nobody: 7:18am On Mar 30
one thing Nigerians need to know is that you can never speak more English than the britons, that's why I get pissed off when I see some people who are subconsciously suffering from inferiority complex turn havard engliologist on other people's typographical error when they can't even read and write in their own language

13 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by illegalGangla(m): 7:18am On Mar 30
cstr151:
I actually won't be surprised. I heard one overbleached igbo bimbo talking about how she would forbid her children speaking anything apart from pure correct English.
The very depth of human stupidity and the zenith of brilliance and rational thought can be found in the igbo race.
It becomes a serious problem when stupid people begin to outnumber rationality.
Finishing!!!!

1 Like

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by DESTINY41(m): 7:20am On Mar 30
Sho me 1 person Who language epp

As far as understand ing between humans the rest is bygone


#mythoughtreally
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by SexyNairalander: 7:20am On Mar 30
booked

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by Emu4life(m): 7:20am On Mar 30
U throw away ur culture in d gutter just to grab a foreign one dat u cant even practice well and u expect pple to respect ur gutter culture.
No matter how Rich an hausa man will be, he will always speak hausa with his children.
Sanusi,kwankwaso,dr Ganduje, Attahiru jega, Indimis, Dangote etc. They all speak their mother tongue Wit their children and datz wat we call "CULTURAL ......"

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by awakeuche(m): 7:21am On Mar 30
Its actually a pitiable situation, all the kids of my extended family members living in Lagos suffer this disease..... SMH
And the worst part is that their parents regale me often, how their kids can not speak that local language and poo.....
I just stare at them and smh
Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by ElsonMorali: 7:21am On Mar 30
I'm sorry to say but the demise of that language is only just a matter of time. I don't hate Igbo or anything but those who know, know that that is just the simple truth.

I've noticed that Igbos have an inordinate amount of inferiority complex to the white man. Hence they revere more than other Nigerians things associated with the white man.

A case in point. I've hardly met an Igbo person who proudly bore his/her native name.

Almost all of them bear English names as their first name proudly and insist to be identified with that name only.

I've dated an Igbo girl who sniffed at my native Yoruba name that I bear quite proudly and kept reinforcing her English name in the same sentence asking me If it wasn't beautiful and that If we got married we'd name our kids beautiful sounding English names.

I just smiled to myself smh Really hard for her.

16 Likes 1 Share

Re: My Parents Banned Me From Speaking Igbo.. I Learnt From Yorubas ---T.N. Adaobi by mccoy47(m): 7:22am On Mar 30
ElsonMorali:
I'm sorry to say but the demise of that language is only just a matter of time. I don't hate Igbo or anything but those who know, know that that is just the simple truth.

I've noticed that Igbos have an inordinate amount of inferiority complex to the white man. Hence they revere more than other Nigerians things associated with the white man.

A case in point. I've hardly met an Igbo person who proudly bore his/her native name.

Almost all of them bear English names as their first name proudly and insist to be identified with that name only.


I've dated an Igbo girl who sniffed at my native Yoruba name that I bear quite proudly and kept reinforcing her English name in the same sentence asking me If it wasn't beautiful and that If we got married we'd name our kids beautiful sounding English names.

THOSE ARE NOT IGBOS THAT U MET! if I have met 100 igbos in my life, 95% bear igbo names! Even me as an igbo guy, I DON'T HAVE AN ENGLISH NAME!
So go get ur stats right!

20 Likes

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