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DISAPPEARANCE OF IKA LANGUAGE – Evang. Obiazi Steve – Young

An Ika man married an Ika woman; both of them had their parents and grandparents from Ika land and lived there before passing away. They attended their Primary and Secondary Educations in one of the remote villages in Ika land and later went to College of Education, Agbor for their Tertiary Education. Finally the man grew up to become a Professor of Linguistics (Language) while the wife ended up as a Doctor of Psychology. Their children’s names are all in foreign language, such as Nicholas, Peter, Cynthia, Philomena and others, none in Ika Language.

 

However, their children grew up in Ika land and are attending schools, churches, and other social, religious and educational activities here in Ika Land YET they cannot speak Ika language, they cannot write a sentence with Ika language. I think it is not a pride; it is a shame, ignorance and foolishness.

 

My fellow countrymen please hear me well and clearly, majority of our brothers and sisters fall into the category of the illustration above. Most parents forbid their children to speak Ika language in any form to anybody. At school they hardly teach it, if you speak it, you will pay fine or punished for speaking vernacular. In a church made up of 95% of Ika people here in Ika land, we handle all programmes of the service from opening prayer to Sunday school, Choir Ministration, Preaching, and Announcement to Benediction all in English Language. “Heeii, haba”.

 

A Yoruba man or an Igbo man of any class, in Politics, Academics or somewhere else is usually proud of speaking his/her language(s) even with its idioms/proverbs. They can write the language fluently. Even some of us that grew up in those areas can even write their languages correctly and speak it fluently because of the way the owners of the language present it to the foreigners.

 

I have some questions for you and I, starting with the meaning of language, how big is England (original owners of English Language), how many languages have gone into extinction, are you ashamed of speaking your mother tongue, if this trend continues for the next fifty (50) years unchecked, do you think our people can still speak the language?

 

Language means the system of communication in speech and writing that is used by people of a particular country or area. Ika language is what is regarded as our mother tongue, (primary language). Some persons will regard it as local language or vernacular. Local means belonging to or connected with the particular place or area that you are talking about or with the place where you live. This means that anywhere on earth implies local area to those living there.

 

Therefore, it would be wise of us to cherish our local language and transmit the same values to our children so that our future generations would have a unique identity (IKA LANGUAGE).

 

With the foregoing discourse, it is imperative to note that we are not the only ethnic group that speaks English as a means of communication but we are the only one in the whole world that speak IKA LANGUAGE, so while it is proper to encourage our children to learn English (particularly British English), which is our lingua franca (official language), it is very important that we (IKA PEOPLE) preserve our Local Language by communicating with our friends, children/wards in IKA language so that we will not loose our distinctiveness.

 

Therefore, what is local to us here is foreign to foreigners and what we regard as foreign here is local to the persons from whence it emanated from. Be proud of your own and project it to outsiders. A man that is not proud of his colour/his language, is not worthy to live, says DR. YOUNG.

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