Preserve your heritage, try speaking in your mother tongue

2014-02-27 10:00

Charity begins at home. We are responsible for stopping the virus that’s eating away at our heritage – our mother tongue.

Owning up and taking responsibility for teaching and feeding our children their mother tongue instead of leaving this to formal education is a starting point.

We lack an interest in learning or speaking our language.

We fail to construct a sentence in our language without using English.

This is proof that we cannot embrace who we are.

There’s a failure to create a source of inspiration and pride to carry our mother tongue to greater heights.

Choosing careers associated with our languages such as being writers, translators, linguists, terminologists, editors, proofreaders and language engineers will be of great help.

Have you heard of writers like Diphete Bopape, Rolfes Dhlomo, Mafika Gwala and Mhlobo Jadezweni or read books by people like Lenong la Gauta, Dikeledi, Joli’nkomo and uTshepo Mde?

Stats SA shows that isiZulu leads as the most-spoken language followed by isiXhosa.

English is a commonly spoken language but is only the sixth most-spoken home language.

It’s not surprising that the two languages (isiXhosa and isiZulu) are most dominant on social networks as people use them as another form of communication besides English.

Adama Bukari asks what the future of our heritage will be with the rapid extinction of indigenous languages.

We need the freedom to allow the free flow of indigenous languages during interviews, dialogues or any form of mass communication and to take pride in them.

Promoting our languages means that we need to have language planning goals and investigate the educational potential of indigenous languages if they cannot function at the same level as English.

We must create enough literature in indigenous languages for book stores that specialise in African languages?–?at present foreign languages dominate our shelves.

Our languages are also dependent on where we are in the country.

Does the ability to be multilingual leave questions about how serious we are that our mother tongue is our first language?

With 11 official languages, is it ideal to have schools and higher learning providing mother tongue education?

Are our languages adequately equipped to be administered at the formal education level? Is our mother tongue dominant in our public space and life?

To save what remains of our language, it’s crucial that we preserve it by sustaining its presence and mobilising its support.

Creation of interactions like a Spelling Bee in our own languages will help.

Researchers say developing countries regard their own language as inferior while developed countries seek to preserve, protect and promote their own language.

Our present is shaped by our past and the future we will bequeath to future generations is being crafted by our actions in the present.

Until such time that our official languages are equally used, the development of indigenous languages will remain a dream.

After reading this article, I dare you to say the names of the 12 months in your mother tongue.

Mpho wa ga Rakoma is a freelance journalist

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