|Indigenous languages should be preserved|
|Saturday, 05 May 2012 22:49|
Page 1 of 2
By Ntombizile Mlotshwa
ZIMBABWE recently celebrated 32 years of independence yet many may argue that a lot more still has to be done for all nationals to self-actualise.This line of argument has been driven by the fact that Zimbabwe has maintained the same languages that were considered “official’’ since 1980 yet it is a multilingual as well as multicultural nation. A rainbow nation filled with different people and cultures and this has left those languages considered as minor on the verge of decay.
The so-called minority languages include Sotho, Venda, Jaunda, Kalanga, Shangani, Nyanja, Tonga, Nambya, as well as many others.
Every citizen of Zimbabwe is advocating for change that will accommodate and recognise everybody, their language and culture and not being classified under someone else’s language.
In the Matabeleland region most people are classified under the Ndebele tribe yet there are many other languages spoken but all those languages are not recognised in the same manner as the Ndebele language.
In Zimbabwe, English is used as a business language; it is there to promote national unity as this facilitates inter-group communication and mutual understanding.
It was never a Zimbabwean language and will forever remain a colonial language but it has remained the language that is official and has always been used in schools as a medium of instruction in all subjects. In most cases children are forced to communicate in English as long as they are within the school premises, yet the same children have a language of their own.
This has resulted in forced education which has badly impacted on the students as they end up absorbed into the language that they think is superior than all the other languages and in doing so they are absorbed into the culture of that language.
A mother language is the first language that the child is associated with and no language will ever replace it.
It is a system of meaningful signs in a child’s mind, and it works automically for expession and understanding. Sociologically, it is a means of identification among members of the community to which he or she belongs and educationally one learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar language.
While a mother language will always have an impact on a child’s life, language on its own is a carrier of culture, it represents and binds people and culture together but sadly it shows the hierarchies of the people. In most cases the people who speak minor languages are belittled. Their culture is seen as irrelevant and is not practised by many.
This has seen indigenous languages and their speakers sidelined within a society as well as being seen as inferior to other people and cultures.
Government recently put a policy that all languages are to be taught at primary schools as well as being awarded with national examinations status.
This move will see to it that all languages are accorded with the same status and will enforce the full usage of these languages. This so far has proved to be the best way to avoid the extinction of indigenous languages as well as honouring the original speakers of the languages