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Professor Fakoya says Your language is your basic identity, speak it.

A Professor of Applied Linguistics, Adeleke Fakoya, has said that an individual’s language is his basic identity, hence the need to master and speak it.

He warned that it is wrong for parents to prevent their children from speaking indigenous languages.

Fakoya, also Dean, Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sidelines of the 68th Inaugural Lecture of the institution, which he delivered on Tuesday evening.

The title of the lecture was: What Does This Babbler Want To Say?

He said: This is because our languages are our basic identity and if you do not speak them, i means your secrets are exposed to the person whose language you speak.

If you have another language, which can be your recourse, you can speak it when hiding away, as this is what a second language usually does for everyone of us.’’

According to him, African languages are gradually going into extinction because of the influence and impact of the English language.

Fakoya noted that it was erroneously for individuals to downplay their own mother tongue while accentuating the use of English Language in school, at home, etc.

He argued that Nigerians could still find a way of accommodating the major indigenous languages within the school curriculum.

He noted that both the government and citizens had a role to play to promote the indigenous languages.

We must ensure that we speak our languages to our children because that is where the survival of these languages really is.

Not at the national level; we have to start from the base, which is the home.”

Continuing, he said, “English is suitable as our lingua franca due to the nature of our multifaceted indigenous languages, but we must endeavour to develop our local languages because if your language dies, you are indirectly dying.”

Earlier in the lecture, Fakoya advised the Southwest governments to mandate every tertiary institution to incorporate Yoruba studies such as folklore and festivals, among others, into their General Studies programme for the survival of the Yoruba language.

He said the Southwest governments could establish radio and television stations that would broadcast only in Yoruba, much like some Yoruba newspapers such as Gbelegbo.

The don advised that Southwest governments could make competence in spoken and written Yoruba a component skill for employment in their ministries and parastatals.

Fakoya also said that Police stations, courts of law, among others, across every Yoruba-speaking state, could be compelled by the state governments to admit evidence or statements in Yoruba.

According to him, thoughts are better expressed in one’s native tongue.

These suggestions may be introduced by other threatened languages of Africa, too, and within a few years, it is possible for us to see a revival of these endangered tongues,” the don said.

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Professor Fakoya says Your language is your basic identity, speak it. Reviewed by Akande Boluwatife on October 31, 2018 Rating: 5

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