This new generation of Igbo parents raise their children to speak just the English Language. They raise kids that are fluent in English language but ignorant of the commonest words in their mother tongue. Some parents even go as far as fighting neighbors who make attempt to teach these innocent kids the language of their fathers. To them, such language is outdated, old-school uncultured and uncivilised and should not be associated with advanced and enlightened people. The deliberate distaste of a peoples language is on the rise among various Nigerian ethnicities but more prominent among the new Igbo parents. If this is a way to show great learning, they failed because they are cheating their children whenever this happens.
They are fostering a mindset that allows the spread of inferiority complex. Someone should tell this generation of Igbo parents that the deliberate obliteration of the Igbo language from the minds and tongues of their children is not healthy for them or their children. The idea that a child raised bilingual or multilingual is less civilized and backward is a problem of ignorance. It is ignorant to assume that the language you converse in is a sign of poor intellect. It is ignorant to assume that stopping a child from learning more languages, to help themselves, is a sign of backwardness. These new generation of Igbo parents, like most parents, claim to love their children.
They claim that they want the best for their children. But when you look at how they treat language, their own languyou will notice that their idea of what is best for their children, could put these innocent ones in a big mess. The benefits of speaking many languages are too enormous for anyone to purposely deny their children the opportunities it will give them. Or maybe the problem is chiefly because it is not a foreign language. Maybe these parents would have taught these kids the language if it were another foreign language. There are over 30 million Igbos all over the world and an Igbo still thinks that such language is irrelevant to their children.
The basic thing responsible for this behaviour among new generation Igbo parents is the presence of inferiority complex. Because these parents don’t consider the Igbo language and cultures to be civilized, they throw it away as one would do anything that is retrogressive and unpalatable. They have the erroneous notion that their tribal identities can be a stumbling block to their acceptance in the league of civilized people. But on what basis do these parents consider the language to be inferior? Is it by the standard of life lived by the people of who speak the Igbo language? Or because of how they would be perceived by the environment with a different doze of this self-annihilating complex? The latter seem to be the case.
Because the generality of the people that make up the geographically region called Nigeria has great traces of inferiority complex, civilization is viewed by how English you appear. The mentality that foreign things are better because they are foreign things is responsible for the behavior of these new generation of Igbo parents. They have bought into the lie that their products, by virtue of being their product is not qualitative. This is dangerous as it has a damaging geometric effect on the minds of these kids. You are simply brainwashing your children and preparing them for second best position.
What happens here is similar to what happens when some persons of Igbo extraction call themselves Jews while other Nigerians fight against the notion. The persons calling themselves Jews, without any basis, do so out of an inferior mindset that the Jews, by virtue of being Jews, are more advanced and look up to them. The ones against them do so because they think these proponents are not smart enough to carry the ‘Jew Genes’. Both sides need growth mentally. It is from this place that these Igbo parents are coming from. Because the environment they live in are pro-west than pro-self they try to be pro-west. Because Nigerians erroneously think that everything western is better than everything local, these parents try to be seen as intellectual and civilized giants by being pro-west.
Benefits of Speaking Multiple Languages
If the child can be taught to speak Igbo along with English it will benefit the child in so many ways. In fact, if you can teach your child a hundred languages you should not refrain from doing so as you are helping prepare the child for a wonderful future. A person that can speak multiple languages finds it easy to communicate with so many persons of different race, nation and tribe. You find it easy to rapport with people and this will present you with many opportunities. So many doors will be opened to you. It also means that you have a greater chance of getting accepted in a firm, a workplace, convincing a client who speaks the second language, helping you with directions, helping you with relationships and solving problems.
It has also been proven that the process of learning a new language increases brain’s activity and helps with retention. People who speak multiple languages tend to perform better in areas of multitasking. Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. It is a neurodegenerative type of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets progressively worse. Scientists have shown that learning a language helps to prevent this disease from befalling a person. It will also protect you against dementia at old age.
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For those who don’t know the meaning of Dementia, it is a decline in cognitive(intellectual) function due to damage or disease in brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It is simply that funny behavior you notice among old people. Learning two or more languages help to keep the brain active. This has been scientifically proven to be true. Speaking multiple languages also improves the creativity level of a person. Do these new generation of Igbo parents know these things? Do they do that teaching a child two languages, English Igbo, etc., will help improve the health status of their children? Will they still prevent their children from learning Igbo alongside English if they know these things? Can it ever make sense to purposely refuse to help someone, in this case, your children, communicate better?
An Igbo parent who is aware of all these benefits(and most are aware of its numerous importance) found in bilingual lifestyle but refuses to teach them to their children are guilty of inferiority complex, ignorance and cheating. They have to rise above the basic level of understanding available in the country. They should understand that speaking just English language, even more than the British, to their kids does not make anybody more civilized. They will only appear civilized only in the eyes of the persons who have come to identity civility with a western language or product. They will only appear civilized only to people who have the same doze of inferiority complex.
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Some parents claim that the children are not built to learn their native language. This is a white lie. The human mind, and specifically, the minds of children can learn anything faster. The reason they have failed to speak their own language is because you, their parent, has failed to teach them. Simple. Before we became an English speaking country, everyone of us spoke our native language. The only thing that changed now is that some persons ignorantly think that speaking just English is a sign of civilization. I’m sorry, it is not. It is a sign of Type A ignorance and inferiority complex. It is a sign of an improperly educated mind. Next time you think of using that line to defend your incompetence in helping your children go bilingual, just have it in mind that you are simply deluding yourself.
Your children will learn English in school just like you learned. Your parent taught most of you the Igbo language when you were young and you should teach your children too. Except you are of the notion that the language has been useless to you. Learn this: Language does not make you civilized if that is what you are after. What makes you a civilized person is your conduct and response to issues. So far, how have you conducted yourself in helping your kids navigate their environment linguistically? Considering how much the Igbo language has helped you, how would you rate yourself with respect to helping your children in that area? How have you helped your children understand their own people? How have you helped your children in helping themselves?