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A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families - Culture - Nairaland

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A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families by tungamaje: 12:55pm On Oct 30
I decided to write this piece since I was once an Igbo young man who was about to start off a family. I was then working in Abuja and was about to relocate to Akure. My greatest worry then was how to make my future kids identify with their Igbo identity since definitely they would be brought up outside Igboland . When my wife eventually came and we transferred to Ondo State, I discussed this with her and it was agreed that Igbo would be the only language spoken in our home, this way Igbo would be our children’s first language.

When the first child came, we began to speak Igbo to her right from the day she was brought home from the hospital. I once read a research which said that a baby begins to hear right inside the womb. I remember sometimes asking the infant, ‘Nne, I nokwa ofuma? Mummy onyegokwa gi nri? We continued to speak Igbo to her until she began to talk. I was amazed that all we had been speaking to this little girl were registered in her brain as she began to communicate with us in Igbo. Now she is 8 and has three siblings, the second girl 5 and half, their brother almost 3 and an infant of almost 6 months.

Whenever we go outside, people including fellow Igbos are pleasantly surprised that these little kids speak fluent Igbo despite the fact they were born in a Yoruba society.

I remember when our first daughter started school at the age of four. The first day in school was terrible for her but after about a week, she overcame and began to assimilate the ‘strange’ English language. We applied the same system with the other two. I remember when I went to register my son in the school this year and the headmistress seemed not happy that we spoke Igbo with my children because she believed it would affect their assimilation of the lessons since they are taught in English. I let her know that was the main reason I brought them to school so that they would teach them. When they play around with their Yoruba classmates, they would learn their language. Where would they learn Igbo if not from their parents? The woman agreed.

At home when they speak Yoruba among themselves, we discourage them. Not that we hate Yorubas, but we let them know that although we live in a Yoruba city, we are Igbos. During the last end of session exams, my daughter came first in her class and even scored Excellent in the Yoruba language.

Why am I writing this? In the 1990s, many parents thought that for their children to be sophisticated, they should embrace English and dump their Igbo language. That’s why we now have children who are Igbos but cannot speak their language. Some parents didn’t even find it wrong that they discouraged their children from speaking Igbo but allowed them to speak Pidgin English which my teacher those days told me was a language the uneducated people used to make up. Since the standard English was difficult for them, they tried also to speak their own English. That’s why we hear people say for example ‘Wetin?’ Wetin is from the English words What thing? They didn’t know that What thing? is even wrong in English. In English, we simply say ‘What?’

So you should emulate us as you are about to start off your own family so that your children would know their identity. Even if you live in an environment where pidgin is widely spoken, don’t allow them to speak it at home. They can speak that outside with their friends. You would see that like a magic, your children would be very fluent in Igbo

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Re: A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families by MelesZenawi: 5:44pm On Oct 30
Wonderful.


If you born outside Igboland and you can't speak Igbo, that's your business.

Jisike Nwanne mmadu.
Re: A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families by nlPoster: 9:56pm On Oct 30
Do Igbos outside the southeast not speak their language?

I know some don't but I would assume many do.
Re: A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families by totosucker(m): 12:48pm On Oct 31
I was born and raised up in the north and i understand Igbo language fluently
Re: A Must-read For Young Igbos Who Are About To Start Off Their Families by tungamaje: 8:16pm On Nov 02
totosucker:
I was born and raised up in the north and i understand Igbo language fluently

That's very good. Your parents played their part very well. Unfortunately many see pidgin English as better than Igbo. I once challenged an Igbo lady mocking a little girl of about 5 years old who was recently brought to Abuja from Igboland for reciting what she learnt at school. She was counting otu, abuo, ato and so on. She told the girl to stop reciting those figures in 'that local language' because we are now in Abuja. I was really annoyed and stopped from insulting her. On the other hand, she was happy her kids spoke pidgin instead of Igbo.

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