Mother Tongue

Most African families tend to renounce their mother tongue and resort to the Western language. It’s quite interesting because we’ve all been taught to master the English language, which is good. After all, that is our medium of instruction. I just get surprised when I see young children who cannot speak their home language.

Having attended a public school where education is generally regarded as of low quality, I’ve always wanted to be well fluent in the English language. I knew I had to work twice as hard if I wanted to master it unlike those who went to private schools. That’s when I resorted to reading books so that I can improve my vocabulary. Anyway, that’s not the point I’m trying to raise now.

I want to talk about the new generation of children who cannot speak their mother tongue at all. They twang like they were born with oxford dictionary on their mouth. I’d blame the parents on this one. A child is taught good English at school, and even when they come back they still allow them to speak English in the house. Parents should prompt the children to use their home language at home.

It becomes a problem when a child gets to visit his/her extended family members in the villages and cannot communicate well with them because of the language barrier. They cannot even greet in their home language. It’s unfair for grandparents who have never gone to school to connect with their grandchildren. The cousins who grew up in the villages cannot construct English sentences on their own yet expected to play with your child who cannot speak the same language as them. They will be calling your child a ‘snob’ and is not nice. Therefore it’s only fair to use the home language at home, other languages will be taught at school.

Quick facts :

  1. Speaking mother tongues mainly helps to connect better with culture and tradition.
  2. It becomes easier for a child to learn other languages if he/she can master the home language
  3. Today’s market requires that one should connect deeply with the people or clients. The mother tongue allows you to do just that – connect with people.
  4. It gives one a sense of belonging and pride. People who can not speak their mother tongue lacks confidence and it’s difficult to socialize.
  5. When a child is taught their mother tongue, they are most likely to have a high rate of intellectual capacity than the one taught in another medium language than their own.

I am still an old-school type of person and I like it like that. I still believe in decency. I bend my knee when I greet older people. And I know when I have my own family, that’s exactly how I will raise my children. They will be taught the old school way in the modern culture. Call me old school all you want but that’s just me and I’m okay with that. Teach your children their home language.

Please show my other posts written lately some love :

From my heart to yours


Winter Challenge continues. Day 7 of 22.
The 10k…got this a day before the Winter challenge on the 31st of May.

89 thoughts on “Mother Tongue

  1. I relateโ•am from Kenya ,and here mother tongues are a thing,like many people from different tribes are good with their mother tongues.The western culture has affected us millennials,we are pushed into learning English and foreign languages ,in turn only a small percentage can speak mother tongue.And it affects us,myself i only know like 5% of my mother tongue and when we hang with the extended family in the rural its chaos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can imagine how chaotic it can be. I think we should all learn our home languages before any other medium of instruction. It’s sad to see our African brothers and sisters who can not speak their home languages
    Thank you for reading

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absolutely true. Mother tongue is the first language you should know. All other languages are secondary. It doesn’t mean you should disrespect other languages, you should learn them too but first you should master your own mother tongue. Thanks for sharing this lovely message. โค๏ธ

    Liked by 3 people

  4. True. Cannot agree more on this thought. The new generation needs to assimilate this thought and work towards achieving it and we should be the carrier. Have a great day! ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Good to embrace the old skool.
    It always stings my heart when my children are hesitant to articulate themselves in Afrikaans.

    Sadly for us we need e received instruction in any of the other nine African languages.

    Those who were instructed in Englush from a tender age at school should be very confident in this medium.

    Keep your mother tongue

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Learning n mastering any other language other than the mother tongue is good but this is very Sad:I see young children who cannot speak their home language

    we are seeing this in every country, how parents can guide their kids to ignore the mother tongue. You explained it’s importance n connectivity so well dear. Great post

    Liked by 3 people

  7. They studied both at school and even excelled theoretically in Afrikaans. It’s the oral that required more confidence and polish. Understanding is there.
    The whole country was trained in English so we can’t really complain.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Definitely and we shouldn’t feel haunted by the sounds and styles, and where the accents are placed.
    This happened to the English language as well.
    No child should feel haunted because they twang even in the mother tongue


  9. เคจเคฎเคธเฅเคคเฅ‡ ๐Ÿ™

    Namaste Shazzy,

    Hindi connects different states of India because it is sweet and close to our hearts. It is a medium of vast communication. Although at home, my family speaks โ€˜Nimariโ€™ (a local slang), Hindi is accepted everywhere, generally. I come from a minority community. Our culture is changing rapidly because of globalisation and the internet.

    Learning English means opening several opportunities for ourselves, getting a mass audience. I love literature, so I’m curious about literature and the culture of any language.

    However, there is a madness and misdirection people have regarding the use and impact of English. Speaking English represents your superior knowledge. I wish my teacher taught me English in the right way so I can understand and use it effectively. But they just tried to make us copycat because they themselves, do not know English.

    I think this madness, and fake knowledge must be stopped. We should conserve our culture and tradition. Learn a language as per your interest. Learning English is not bad, but the madness behind it must be stopped.

    These are my personal thoughts. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. On various occasions I’ve seen parents literally force their children to drop their mother tongue in an attempt to perfect the white man’s language. It’s such a pity because in the end, they grow farther from their roots. Thank you for reminding us where we come from ๐Ÿ’›

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I so agree but it’s way all over the world. We have lived in two countries, Bolivia SA and Papua New Guinea, an island north of Australia. We went to these countries as missionaries with Ethnos360, formally New Tribes Mission. The goal of the mission learn the village language, and culture. Then teach the people who do not read or write their village language which is their heart language. While you are doing that, you are that you are also translating the Bible into their heart language. Most countries have a common language which was Spanish in Bolivia, Pidgin in Papua New Guinea. But to have the bible in their heart language. In Papua there are 800 different languages and some are terrible hard so it takes a long time before you have believers in their language group. My husband and I were older when we went to the field, neither one of us was good in language learning so we were not a village missionary. We were on the support end, making sure the missionaries in remote place had their supplies, and several other ministries. As I said, the younger ones are fastly losing their village. I think the why is because the more outsiders they met they know there is an outside world and try had to leave those remote villages. Also, most school teach English since it seems to be the universal one in this time. Another 50 years, when the older ones die off it will be lost to most. Kind of sad, but God is still at work wanting the bible translated to all in their own language. OUr missionaries have to first learn the trade language before they move into a remote village to learn that language and culture. This only happens after they have been given permission by the leadership of that village. It’s take a lot of time, and faithfulness to the task to finally get this all done. My family mostly came from Ireland, Scotland, Europe but no body speaks Irish, Scottish. Our mission only work with those people who are hard to reach. WE don’t do city ministry, we go to very few villages you can reach my truck. Most are reached by river, plane, helicopter. I love your heart for the people of your country, the language and cultures are rich with wisdom and old ways but it will pass away, maybe not in my lifetime since I am 74, more likely to happen in your time. Thanks for a good read.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sorry for all the mistakes in my comment, I am tired, been up all night, need sleep. should have waiting till I got some sleep but I was interested in your post and wanted to comment right away. I think you will get what I am saying. Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Namaste in the Gondwanaland

    I agree with your opinions
    English has helped us to be where we are today. We could not have better writers without it. We appreciate it.
    The only problem lies when we are not able to speak out mother tongues. When we cannot express ourselves or not fluent in it..that’s where the problem lies. If we do not teach the upcoming generation the value of home language then we are yet to see a lost generation.
    Thank you for your opinion… Was just adding on what you said.
    Profoundly received.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is truly inspiring
    It must have been a situation to be placed in an environment where there’s a bit of a language barrier hence English and other common languages are important.
    I am so happy that the Bible is translated in different languages, that’s one of the greatest things. So that the gospel can be preached everywhere else in the world.

    I am inspired by your love for missionary work and your defdiaction for people. Thank you so much for your kind words. You are 74 and blogging…wow that’s just inspiring. Thank you so much


  15. Totally agreed.
    I spoke English only at school, but at home, we spoke 2 other languages.
    The multilingual culture definitely made sure we learn both our mother tongue and other “popular” languages in Zambia.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. That’s the exact point. English should only be spoken at school and elsewhere necessary not at home.
    Multilingual schools are good because they help a child to learn more about other cultures and languages.


  17. I asked myself who will teach the children to come when the parents barely know the language it starts with us. Am glad my parents taught me mine I communicate with my relatives in the villages just fine and bless God for that.

    But there is also another aspect to mixed marriages (different languages a discussion needs to be had by parents too on what and how to teach their children)

    As much as we encourage the African language dialect let’s not forget not everyone can afford the luxury to be taught it can be work.
    Speaking for those without normal families.

    Thanks for sharing this is profound I would want my children to know the local dialect , international language all of it am not limiting them at all

    Liked by 2 people

  18. You hit the nail on the head with this, and I regret not having perfected my own language. Heck, schools discouraged us from speaking in our own languages ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 2 people

  19. That’s amazing to know that you can speak with your relatives fluently with no problem.
    A lot of families which I’ve come across with mixed cultures when they speak to the mother they use her language. When they speak to daddy they speak his language. It’s quite crazy๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…but yeah a therall discussion is needed around that.

    Our children should be multilingual and informed about almost everything.
    Thank you so much. i appreciate your inputs.


  20. Hahaha, don’t beat yourself too hard. It was not your fault.. Now you know what to do with your children. They must be multilingual locally and internationally. I won’t mind teaching them Sepedi ( my language)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Indeed mother tongue is must
    Those people who speak mother tongue with proud are those who know that no matter how great one become the mother tongue and motherland is our roots, We can never leave it.

    A plant can never stay strong without it’s roots..

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Beautifully written and very true however its a struggle for those of us who are in mixed marriages! I have spoken to a few of my friends who are either in mixed marriages or who speak the same language. I speak Zulu. My husband is British and speaks English. It’s a lot harder to teach my kids their mother tounge because my husband and I speak different languages. I have found to be more forceful about speaking Zulu to them otherwise they won’t learn. When I am visiting home I see the difference in their pronounciation even after 2 weeks of having a visit with my family. It’s a lot eaiser when there is acommunity of people who speak the same language as kids pick up more that way.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. It must be a challenge for mixed marriages. I thought about that too and I guess there’s nothing you can do sis. Such a combination though..don’t be hush on them. They’ll learn with time.

    There’s a certain family I know, the mother is Zulu and the father is Venda. It’s very funny how the children communicate with them.
    When they speak with their mother they use Zulu and when they speak with their father they use Venda.
    Thank you for reading always. Hope you are well.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I never was taught my mother tongue and at first I thought speaking good English was “cool” but as I grew older and experienced culture through music mostly I started to feel like I don’t belong and ashamed. I still can’t speak because well It’s hard picking another language at 27. But I want my child to learn hers. I don’t know how yet but I would want that for her. And yes old school is the way to go.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Speaking English was cool…and that’s how people mainly weighed intelligence.. Very funny.
    Since you never got to learn your mother tongue, you need to start teaching your children.๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•


  26. The challenge though is that inter marriages are making this even more difficult. You find that the parents speak 2 different local languages and neither of them can speak the other’s language so they end up speaking English to the kids…so absurd

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Yes it is very specially in India knowing English is more important than knowing hindi or any other language but I would like to mention that language are just the way to communicate so it should not be related with a person’s capability coz a person with poor English can be a good communicator. Right?

    Liked by 2 people

  28. As a fellow Malayali, I agree with you ๐Ÿ’ฏ percent without any doubt and if they call us old school, so be it. โค๏ธ I am a teacher and when children, speaks in an accent which doesn’t sound like Canadian, British or American, or Malayali…. I feel bad for the kid. They are taught to be someone who they are not. By forgetting the path which we came from. I am happy to have read your work which was written so beautifully. Good day, love ๐Ÿ’–

    Liked by 1 person

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