Posts Tagged ‘AFRICAN LANGUAGES’

“THE DEATH OF YORUBA LANGUAGE?-YORUBA IS DYING-YORUBAS ARE BUSY MIXING/DESTROYING THE LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH-AT YORUBA WEDDING CEREMONIES,CHURCHES,PRIVATE SCHOOLS ETC.-STOP KILLING YORUBA LANGUAGE:YORUBA RUNU!

July 3, 2010

FROM speakyoruba.blogspot.com

LEARN YORUBA LANGUAGE-THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE!

Saturday, July 3, 2010
“THE DEATH OF YORUBA LANGUAGE?”-BY YEYE AKILIMALI FUNUA OLADE(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER,2005
((originally first published in the guardian newspaper)

She is the Chief librarian of the African Heritage Research Library,and in this article, makes a case for Yoruba language

THAT English, the ready-made weapon of British-American cultural imperialism, is not just trying to destroy African languages, but is attacking all other languages worldwide, I agree. Ojoogbon Akinwunmi Isola, related to me during a discussion with Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa, the problem the French are having with English. He stated that the French government had recently warned all French broadcasters to stop polluting French with English, as is now popular in general French conversation, or face dismissal.

The greatest tragedy in Yorubaland today, however, regarding language is the dominating trend to speak only English to their children, making it their first language, then sending them to private nursery school, who only teach in English and causing Yoruba children to value English above all other languages! (After all their WAEC will not be in Yoruba, one highly*educated Yoruba man told me!) And see the result! These English-speaking children will rudely use English to disrespect all and sundry (after all English does not have pronouns of respect for anybody). Ask them or some of their parents and they will tell you they don’t know the original Yoruba for the popular phrases that many literate and non-literate leaders and followers commonly use throughout Yorubaland.

As a Black-American, who has come back to her Yoruba roots these past 26 years in Nigeria, I want to break down in tears over this “iyonu”! How can Yorubas kill their own language? What sort of curse is this? Obviously the curse of european-american imperialism/colonialism/slavery! As a result I have declared “War Against Destroying Our Nigerian Languages” from today. And it must start from Yorubaland. Are not the Yorubas the “wisest and the greatest”? As everything good seems to start from Yorubaland in Nigeria, “let it be so”. Full-blooded Yoruba, as of today should consciously seek not to mix English with their Yoruba. Yoruba leaders must slowly speak, watching their tongues, not to include any English word inside their Yoruba.

It has gotten to a state where such leaders cannot avoid mixing English as they speak Yoruba and their every sentence includes whole English phrases! The late Yoruba leader, Oloye Bola Ige was a pure Yoruba language speaker and other Yoruba leaders should follow his example. All clubs and organisations in Yorubaland should hold bi-annual and annual Yoruba Speaking Competitions for the “Best Yoruba Speaker”, with heavy monetary prizes (N20,000 plus) to get Yorubas to consciously practice speaking Yoruba without any English mixture. Yoruba broadcasters are guilty of promoting this deadly trend. In schools, Yoruba teachers must stress the importance of not mixing Yoruba. All private schools in Yorubaland must be required to have classes in Yoruba language from nursery through secondary school levels. And any student who fails to pass Yoruba in Yorubaland must not be allowed to graduate!

The Yoruba press must be commended for indeed holding the banner high and not polluting Yoruba with English. More effort, however, must be made to eliminate “pasito”, “professor”, “dokita” words as most of them have genuine Yoruba words that can be enlisted and popularised among their readers. Yoruba departments in Nigerian and foreign universities must start churning out more research on modernising Yoruba for technical, scientific and other vocabulary and making it available through special courses for the media and the general Yoruba public. Yoruba writers must begin to write and publish bilingual publications. For any publication they publish in English, its Yoruba equivalent must be done. In the same book (Yoruba-from the front, turn upside down, English from the back) is one way to do it or in a title simultaneously released. More books, magazines, other publications like club histories, year books must be published in Yoruba. Yoruba music too, has been assaulted by Yoruba artists, unknowingly killing Yoruba language. The mixture of English has reached a new high in Fuji. Yoruba gospel has started mixing English inside Yoruba songs within Yoruba cassettes, adding along side complete English songs! Olodumare!

Such artists must be warned—no more killing of the language in this manner. If it is English you want then put that on an English cassette. Do not replace our God-given Yoruba in a Yoruba music cassette! Yoruba movie practitioners are perhaps the biggest offenders and must take up this challenge to save Yoruba language. English nixing should absolutely be banned in all Yoruba films. I have not researched the topic but I suspect that Hausa, is probably the most unpolluted language in Nigeria, and in all their films that I have seen no English there at all. The beauty of the Yoruba language must be showcased by having more Yoruba Cultural Festivals to be held by all clubs and organisations in Yorubaland annually.

Odua’s People Congress and other enforcers of law and order in Yorubaland must be in the vanguard, not only by stressing among its members that Yoruba should not be polluted but by holding bi*Annual Yoruba Speaking competitions for the “Best Yoruba Speaker”. They must lead the way in correct Y oruba speaking and have literacy classes for all their members to learn to read in Yoruba and encourag them to speak Yoruba in the home to their children: Yoruba must become again the first language of Yorubas at home and abroad. A private Yoruba school system must be set up. These schools will teach all subjects in Yoruba from nursery up to the university eventually. If it must be like a “mushroom school”, starting with nursery school first and adding class by class this must be done. This Yoruba Academy can be supported extensively by Yorubas abroad, eventually having board houses were Yoruba children from abroad can join their counterparts here, (including all “classes of children, street children etc.) This Yoruba Academy will inculcate Yoruba culture into our children also. With the help of our Yoruba scholars we can build on Ojoogbon Babatunde Fafunwa’s successful “Mother-tongue Education” at University of Ife in the 60s. Afterall, even UNESCO has proven that Mother-tongue Education is the best for all children.

Let Yoruba Language not die! God has given the Yoruba race a language to be proud of, anywhere in the world (there are at least 60 million or more Yoruba speakers throughout the world). Let’s not destroy it with our own mouths! Let us pass it on in its richness to our children, daily in our home. Let us proudly speak it daily, read it daily, champion it daily. Yorubas cannot remain great without our language. And let us be in the vanguard of saving all Nigerian and African languages. Biu, Ogoni, Urhorbo, Igele, Ogoja, Ebira, Idoma, Efik, Tiv, Langale: Tangale, Kagona, Kutep, Oron, Legdo, Bubiaro, Esan, Afima, lsekiri, Ijaw, Edo, Ikenne, Joba, Gwari, lbo, Igala, Hausa, speakers are you listening?

http://www.tribune.com.ng/16062007/arts.html
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06-16-2007 11:46 AM#2vince
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Death ke?!Iro o!Agbedo!
Eledumare teaming up with Orunmila will never let it happen!
Eewo orisha!
Ko gbodo shele!
Ka ma ri!
Long live,yoruba language and all the other african lingos,ojare!
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06-16-2007 11:54 AM#3vince
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The writer is a little bit too optimistic,though.Speaking yoruba without polluting it….sorry,supporting it with ede geesi in this modern times,is a bit dificult o!But i can understand where he/she is coming from,and going to.
Now here is something really strange(just in case none of you have observed it yet),when you try to “speak” 100% yoruba,you’ll mostly find the going very tough,but start writing it and you find it a lot easier!Now,that’s weird!How can one be able to write a language in it’s pure form,while one finds it so tough to speak it?
Maybe somebody can explain that to me.

My final parting salvo is this,”Kolo metality is still very much alive and kicking.Africans are still playing the i-want-to-belong-in-a-whiteman’s-world game as if their lives depend on it.”

Don’t be surprised to discover that quite a number of africans unconsciously harbour the belief that the more western you are,the closer you are to entering the kingdom of heaven.No english name,no visa to heaven.No ability to speak english,and the gates of heaven will remain closed on you for eternity.
It is a neverending struggle to “fit in”, for the black race.Pathetic.
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06-16-2007 12:41 PM#4praizes2000
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Yoruba cannot remain great without our language.

True talk my sista, i hope we will all learn especially the so called rich men that prefer private school for their kids.

What happened to afasefetepe, afahonferigipe my Yoruba langage that i learnt in my school (Naija) in those days.
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06-16-2007 01:08 PM#5kolinzo
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This writer is not lying at all o. Yoruba Language is not the only language gradually goint into extinction but the Yoruba local dialects as well. Kolo mentality has a lot to do with this. However, I have taken it upon myself to play my part of the Yoruba language preservation -which means Yooba would be the first language for my unborn child. What parts are you guys going to take?
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06-16-2007 02:10 PM#6Peaches
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tough one. My friend only a few weeks ago baptized her daughter: Mirabelle! I just wondered what was wrong with Motunrayo or Modupe or something like that. Shame!
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06-17-2007 06:53 AM#7vince
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Originally Posted by kolinzo
This writer is not lying at all o. Yoruba Language is not the only language gradually goint into extinction but the Yoruba local dialects as well. Kolo mentality has a lot to do with this. However, I have taken it upon myself to play my part of the Yoruba language preservation -which means Yooba would be the first language for my unborn child. What parts are you guys going to take?
If i ever start making movies,99% of them will be in naija lingos,and a lion share will be in my own native tongue,yooba.That will be my own preservation contribution.
And no foreign name for my pickin,as well.
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06-17-2007 03:31 PM#8Tiron
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Yes, we all have a part to play in keeping our indigenous languages alive.

I have an unusual and uncommon Yoruba first name. When I first started in my professional field, students and fellow colleagues used to smile whenever I introduced myself to a new group. No one EVER forgot/forgets my name.

My children, though UK born and bred, also have Yoruba names. They also understand some Yoruba. I speak it to them diluted with English in most cases I admit!

I have this British Naija friend called Shola. She gets mad whenever some of her “Asan” Naija friends or English colleagues/friends pronounce her name “Show-u-lar”. In fact, it was one of the reasons why she fell out with an “asan”, plum-in-her-mouth, friend of hers recently.
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06-17-2007 04:36 PM#9gqbabe
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http://www.tribune.com.ng/16062007/arts.html
i agree wif the text in purple but i think the text in bold is bullcrap!
http://r.yuwie.com/partypeoplepresents – Get paid to browse!!!

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06-18-2007 08:16 AM#10vince
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Originally Posted by gqbabe
i agree wif the text in purple but i think the text in bold is bullcrap!
I think it is in order.A concrete,even draconian steps like that need to be taken to preserve that precious gift from God to us,yoruba language.
The british did it to us with their language and left us to continue to do it to ourselves(no english,no graduation).
So why can’t the yorubas do it for the sake of preserving their own language in yorubaland?
Bullcrap,it is not.IMHO.

I just think that those sleeping yoruba intellects need to wake up from their slumber and get down to updating and upgrading yoruba language to fit the modern era.
Telling modern yorubas to start speaking old yoruba is very unfrealistic.The language needs to be modernised to fit our era.
How they set out to do this is their headache.Shebi they are the intellects.
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06-18-2007 11:51 AM#11Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
If i ever start making movies,99% of them will be in naija lingos,and a lion share will be in my own native tongue,yooba.That will be my own preservation contribution.
And no foreign name for my pickin,as well.
That’s why I have made a commitment to write fiction in Yoruba as well as English!
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06-18-2007 11:54 AM#12Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
I think it is in order.A concrete,even draconian steps like that need to be taken to preserve that precious gift from God to us,yoruba language.
The british did it to us with their language and left us to continue to do it to ourselves(no english,no graduation).
So why can’t the yorubas do it for the sake of preserving their own language in yorubaland?
Bullcrap,it is not.IMHO.

I just think that those sleeping yoruba intellects need to wake up from their slumber and get down to updating and upgrading yoruba language to fit the modern era.
Telling modern yorubas to start speaking old yoruba is very unfrealistic.The language needs to be modernised to fit our era.
How they set out to do this is their headache.Shebi they are the intellects.
They have already been on it for the past 30 years. Check out Prof Longe’s efforts towards a Yoruba language publication of the mathematical theories underpining computer science. He did this back in the early 1980s. Someone else also published a dictionary of Engineering physics in Yoruba, that was in the early 1990s. You should try to find out the activities/publications and research of the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria(Egbe Ilosiwaju Imo Ijinle Yoruba Naijiria).

ciao
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06-18-2007 02:56 PM#13vince
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Originally Posted by Gen Sani Abacha
They have already been on it for the past 30 years. Check out Prof Longe’s efforts towards a Yoruba language publication of the mathematical theories underpining computer science. He did this back in the early 1980s. Someone else also published a dictionary of Engineering physics in Yoruba, that was in the early 1990s. You should try to find out the activities/publications and research of the Yoruba Studies Association of Nigeria(Egbe Ilosiwaju Imo Ijinle Yoruba Naijiria).

ciao
All their efforts since all that time has little influence on the yoruba acaedemia,talkless of on the common man.And that is the sticking point.
These yoruba studies association,does it have a website?I am keen to link up.
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06-18-2007 03:32 PM#14gqbabe
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when i was younger, my mom used to yab me tht when God was creating me He put cotton buds in my ear cos other than english i dnt understand any other language. Now if it is made compulsory that you pass yoruba to graduate, then some1 like me wld never graduate. Or if tht person managed to pass, then they’d not be able to communicate wif non-yorubas, as the likelihood of them understandn another language is negligible!
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06-19-2007 04:25 AM#15Gen Sani Abacha
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Originally Posted by vince
All their efforts since all that time has little influence on the yoruba acaedemia,talkless of on the common man.And that is the sticking point.
These yoruba studies association,does it have a website?I am keen to link up.
Remember Prof Akinwunmi Isola, the author of Oleku the book and the scriptwriter of the film ? He is part of that cadre of academics. They have a lot of input into the teaching syllabus of Yoruba language. They also act as consultants sometimes for major Yoruba movies. They also advise government on language policy(although the govt doesn’t seem to take any notice of their advise!).
I don’t the Yoruba Studies Association has a website, neither do their sister organisation, the Yoruba Teachers Association of Nigeria.
UP ISI-EWU!! UP NIGERIA!!!

YORUBA LANGUAGE IS DYING! EVERYDAY YORUBAS ARE BUSY REPLACING IT WITH ENGLISH,MIXING IT IN THEIR SPEAKING,PRAYING,YORUBA WEDDING CEREMONIES,EVERYWHERE THEY ARE KILLING IT! YORUBA ACADEMY TO THE RESCUE!

April 19, 2010

nigeriabestforum.com

SOYINKA, FAFUNWA, OTHERS HEAD YORUBA ACADEMY
Written by furtune Education Mar 30, 2010

Soyinka, Fafunwa, others head Yoruba Academy
By Gbenga Adeniji, Published: Tuesday, 30 Mar 2010

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; former Minister of Education, Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa; Prof. Bolanle Awe; lecturer and playwright, Prof. Akinwunmi Isola, and many other distinguished indigenes of Yoruba land are to serve as members, Board of Trustees of The Yoruba Academy, whose governing organs will be inaugurated in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Wednesday.

The centre was conceived at the Yoruba Retreat held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan in October, 2007.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere Renewal Group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the organs to be inaugurated are; the Board of Trustees and Governing Council.

Also, the event is expected to attract distinguished sons and daughters of Yoruba land both at home and in the Diaspora.

Other members of the Board of Trustees are Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel; Prof. Wale Omole; Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd); Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Prof. Olabiyi Yayi; Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose; Mr. Wale Oshun; and the Democratic Peoples Alliance governorship candidate in Lagos State in 2007, Mr. Jimi Agbaje. The Chairman of the Board is Fafunwa.

Besides, the statement added that members of the Governing Council include Prof. Wale Omole, who is the chairman; Dr. Tunde Adegbola; Chief Adebayo Faleti; Dr. Charles Akinola; Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, Mr. Kayode Samuel, Dr.Wale Adebanwi, Mr. Tola Mobolurin, Miss Yetunde Sekoni, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Prince Oye Oyewumi, Dr. Iyabo Bassir, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi; Mr. Tunde Kelani, Mr. Francis Ojo; Prof. Kunle Lawal; and Dr. Tunji Olowolafe.

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FROM chidioparareports.blogspot.com

Monday, March 29, 2010
News Release: Yoruba Academy for inauguration
[Yoruba Art]

The Yoruba Academy, which was conceived at the Yoruba Retreat, held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan in 2008 becomes real with the inauguration of the Governance organs in Ibadan on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Billed for the Academy’s House at 25, Dejo Oyelese Street, Old Bodija Estate, Ibadan at 11.00am prompt, the event attracts who-is-who in the Yoruba nation-homeland and Diaspora.

The two organs for inauguration are the Board of Trustees and Governing Council make up as follows:

Members of the Board of Trustees:
1. Professor Babatunde Aliyu Fafunwa – Chairman
2. Professor (Mrs.) Bolanle Awe
3. Professor Wole Soyinka
4. Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel
5. Professor Akinwunmi Isola
6. Professor Wale Omole
7. General Alani Akinrinade
8.Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin
9. Professor Olabiyi Yayi
10. Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose
11. Hon. Wale Oshun
12. Mr. Jimi Agbaje

Members of the Governing Council:
1. Professor Wale Omole – Chairman
2. Dr. Tunde Adegbola
3. Alagba Adebayo Faleti
4. Dr. Charles “Diji Akinola
5. Mr. Tola Mobolurin
6. Miss Yetunde Sekoni
7. Mr. Dipo Famakinwa
8. Prince Oye Oyewumi
9. Dr. Iyabo Bassir
10. Dr. Sola Olorunyomi
11. Mr. Tunde Kelani
12. Engr. Francis Ojo
13. Dr. Tunji Olowolafe
14. Professor Kunle Lawal
15. Mr. Kayode Samuel
16. Dr. Wale Adebanwi
17. Professor Bolaji Aluko

‘Yinka Odumakin
For: The Yoruba Academy
Posted by Public Information Project Management(PIPROM) at 9:02 AM

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from newstarng.com

Yoruba Academy to the rescue PDF Print E-mail
Written by OLAIDE OYELUDE
Monday, 05 April 2010 02:57

NEWS STAR

On Wednesday, March 31, a very unique event that signified very sincere and pragmatic steps towards protection and preservation of Yoruba race and heritage took place in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The event was the inauguration of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council for the Yoruba Academy. Emeritus Professor Olu Akinkugbe was the chairman at the occasion witnessed by notable personalities in the Yorubaland including Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, former Governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande and Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon. Moroof Atilola, among others.
The Yoruba Academy is an independent, non-profit governmental organization created as a multi-disciplinary institution, charged with the task of bringing together everyone committed to the best traditions of the promotion of modern democratic life and ensure the preservation of Yoruba language, culture, social practices, values and institutions. The Academy is also committed to engaging in, encouraging and funding research and systematic reflections on the history, culture, position and future of the Yoruba in the context of Nigeria and in a globalizing world, towards helping to create and sustain freedom for all and life more abundant.
The Yoruba Academy is borne out of concern that the race is being relegated in virtually all spheres of life especially in such areas as education, commerce and business. A retreat was subsequently organized in 2007 by a group of Yoruba professionals and activists. The retreat which took place in Ibadan was attended by Yoruba political leaders, business men and women with the aim of charting a way forward for the Yoruba. One of the outcomes of the retreat was a declaration that a Yoruba Academy is needed to ensure renaissance of Yoruba culture, capture the soul of its youth and re-establish the pride of the Yoruba race and increase its capacity to contribute to the international community. The Yoruba Academy subsequently opened office in Ibadan in August 2008.
Activities of the Academy focus on such programmes as children and youth, resource repository/database, Research into such indicative focus areas including Yoruba culture, Yoruba religion and divinity, Yoruba language and linguistics, science and technology in Yoruba, Yoruba jurisprudence, as well in Yoruba strategic development studies, among others.
Expectedly, the event attracted comments and suggestions. Speaker Bankole urged the Academy to look into the areas the Yoruba are lagging which they used to play leading roles before, especially in education, banking and information management. His words: “The race before the Academy is not a one hundred metres race. It is indeed a long distance race and I believe the Academy needs to pursue it with vigour and zeal so that our future generation will be proud of our race. In the last 10 years, it seems the Yoruba have been relegated from the leading role they used to play in the areas of education, business and commerce and even in information management. These are the things the Yoruba Academy has to face so that we may have a better future.”
Speaking on the importance of the Academy, Professor Akinkugbe said: “The idea of the Yoruba Academy has become very critical, to further the need for the promotion of self-confidence, a strong Yoruba identity to develop our intellectual capacity and colour, to propel our minds, body and spirit, to identify with the urgent need to preserve and continue to nurture who we are, as well as being able to assert our Yorubaness without reservations about our history not living merely on our past glory.”
Fafunwa also noted that: “Yoruba is a complete race and the Academy is out to promote all aspects of the Yoruba including our culture, our enterprises, our uniqueness and so on. Yoruba as a language, ranks sixth among the world spoken languages after English language, French, Arab, Spanish and Portuguese. Yoruba should not be relegated to the background for whatever reasons. Is it the complete gentlemanness of the Yoruba or the Yoruba flair for fair hearing before deciding on any issue? Is it the beauty of Yoruba language or its versatility? We should bequeath a worthy legacy that our future generation will be very proud of.”
In his contribution, the chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. Omole, said: “The Yoruba Academy is not partisan. Rather the Academy is to protect the interests of all Yoruba irrespective of their political leanings, religious persuasions and business interests. All that the Academy is out for is to ensure that Yoruba either now or in the future, continue to enjoy the pride of place while our culture, our heritage which makes us unique, are protected and preserved for the sake of the present and future generations. Yoruba are a proud people and the Academy will strive to make us discover that pride again.”
The 12-member Board of Trustees(BOT) for the Academy former Education Minister, Professor Aliyu Babatunde Fafunwa as chairman. Other trustees are General Alani Akinrinade, Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, Professor Bolanle Awe, Justice Bolarinwa Babalaki, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, Mrs Francesca Emmanuel, Professor Akinwunmi Isola, Professor Wale Omole, Hon. Wale Osun, Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Olabiyi Yayi. The BOT is a team of eminent Yoruba persons from diverse professions, representing the Yoruba in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. The Board is expected to provide strategic direction and set the agenda for the Academy. It also ensures that the activities of the Academy remain mandate-focused while it also safe-guards independence of the Academy.
Former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Professor Wale Omole, is the chairman of the Academy’s 17-member Governing Council. Other council members include Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Dr. Tunde Adegbola, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola, Professor Bolaji Aluko,Dr. Iyabo Basir, Alagba Adebayo Faleti, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Mr. Tunde Kelani, Professor Kunle Lawal, Mr. Tola Mobolurin , Engineer Francis Ojo, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Prince Oye Oyewunmi, Mr. Kayode Samuel and Ms Yetunde Sekoni.
Just like BOT, members of the Governing Council are drawn from professionals with significant relevant skills and experience to guide the management of the Academy. The Council is responsible for the overall governance of the Academy while it sets up, empowers and mandates committees of the Academy as required. The Council is also responsible for the maintenance of programme integrity while it equally provides strategic direction for the management and operations of team of the Academy. The Council also provides support and external linkages while at the same time, provides ‘custodian, stewardship and accountability’ roles in the Academy.
No doubt, the younger generation of Yoruba looks up to the sustenance of an enviable legacy of a race that the future generation will equally be proud of.

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FROM tribune.com

Yoruba Academy: Fighting the cause of the Yoruba people

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Written by Segun Taiwo

Recently, members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy were inaugurated in Ibadan. Segun Taiwo, who was at the event, reports on the resolve of the body to advance the understanding and appreciation of Yoruba history, language, culture and civilisation.

[From right, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Chief Bisi Akande and Professor Bolanle Awe, during the inauguration of members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy in Ibadan last week. Photo: Tunde Babajide.]

From right, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin; Chief Bisi Akande and Professor Bolanle Awe, during the inauguration of members of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the Yoruba Academy in Ibadan last week. Photo: Tunde Babajide.
In a bid to promote the Yoruba language, social practices, norms, values and institutions, Yoruba leaders have come together to form the Yoruba Academy, with the recent inauguration of the body’s Board of Trustees and Governing Council members in Ibadan.

Concerned about the rate at which Yoruba values and institutions are being relegated to the background, the body will ensure the preservation of the Yoruba language, social practices, norms and values, through research and systematic reflections on the history, culture, position and future of the Yoruba in the context of Nigeria and in a globalising world.

Also, in a bid to meet its objectives, the Academy will welcome individuals and organisations interested in the development of the Yoruba as a distinct ethnic entity.

In his opening address at the inauguration, the chairman of the event, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, expressed confidence that the Academy would restored the glory and pride of the Yoruba people.

Prof. Akinkugbe, who lamented the present state of the Yoruba nation, then called on all Yoruba people, irrespective of political, social or educational differences, to come together and salvage the situation.

While also speaking, the highest ranking Yoruba man in the current political dispensation, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, lamented that Yorubas were no longer in the scheme of things in the country.

Citing the area of education and communications as example, Hon. Bankole said it was unfortunate the woeful performance of students from the South West in their final school certificate examinations, while saying the race has also lost its grip on the electronic and print media in the country.

“It is, therefore, a good development that the Yoruba Academy is being inaugurated to put the race in its rightful position in the country,” the Speaker said.

Other eminent Yoruba personalities at the event, also spoke on the need for the Yoruba people to retake its place in the scheme of things in the country, and in the world at large.

A former Osun State governor and chairman of the Action Congress (AC), Chief Bisi Akande, said Yoruba people should set aside their differences and work for the progress of the race.

Members of the Board of Trustees comprising Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa, who is chairman; Mr. Jimi Agbaje, General Alani Akinrinade, Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose, Prof. Bolanle Awe, Justice Bolarinwa Babalakin, Mrs. Francesca Emmanuel, Prof. Akinwumi Isola, Prof. Wale Omole, Hon. Wale Oshun, Prof. Wole Soyinka and Prof. Olabiyi Yai, were then presented and inaugurated, while members of the governing council, comprising Prof. Wale Omole (chairman), Dr. Wale Adebanwi, Dr. Tunde Adegbola, Dr. Charles ‘Diji Akinola, Prof. Bolaji Aluko, Dr. Iyabo Bassir, Pa. Adebayo Faleti, Mr. Dipo Famakinwa, Mr. Tunde Kelani, Prof. Kunle Lawal, Mr. Tola Mobolurin, Engr. Francis Ojo, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, Prince Oye Oyewumi, Mr. Kayode Samuel and Ms. Yetunde Sekoni, were also installed.

“DECLINE OF MOTHER TONGUE IN AFRICA”-FROM SUNNEWSONLINE.COM,NIGERIA

May 15, 2009

from sunnewsonline.com

Decline of mother tongue in Africa
By Karen C. Aboiralor Lagos
Monday, February 18, 2008 Editorial Index

One of the most significant aspects of any culture is language. This is a combination of sounds and gestures in the facilitation of communication and tells who we are and where we come from. It is a very unique tool for identification and marks a tidy reflection of the multi-cultural dimension which different civilizations have passed through.

Sometimes, one may correctly tell another’s descent from his accent even when he is not speaking in his mother tongue because his phonetic habits inadvertently spill into his use of that language. This highlights the outstanding pedestal which language occupies in our culture. It is our heritage and a mark of our existence. We therefore must do everything we can to make sure that it is eternally preserved for we would be showing gross irreverence to our forebears and offering a great disservice to generations yet unborn if we failed to do so.

In most African homes where both parents hail from different ethnic groups, the common language spoken is a foreign one. Here, the children ought to be taught to speak both tongues which should in fact be an advantage but they rarely ever learn any. As the years go by, it gets more difficult as they receive further education in a foreign language. If at the point of starting their own families they get married to their like or to those who though understand their language come from elsewhere, the situation becomes even more complex.

It will not happen in ten years. Maybe not even fifty. But in another hundred years some tongues may become extinct in Africa. It is easy for someone to whisper somewhere that in that time, none of us would be here to witness it but let us remember that those before us sustained it and that was why we met it. We owe it a duty to our forebears to preserve a good thing we met from birth otherwise our selfish ingratitude may even consume us before our time.

This is not what western civilization taught. Much as it tried to impinge, it still taught us to uphold the tenets of our culture. For example, while the killing of babies in multiple births and such other fetish practices as sacrificing human blood for deities were abolished; our artefacts, seasons, languages and herbs were upheld. A school of thought has tried to blame it

on western civilization but I disagree. This is the collective result of our ineptitude and lack of social consciousness. The blame is entirely ours and we must accept our guilt.
I am an African living in Canada. When I say hello to Canadians on the street, they reply respectfully with a friendly hello and even a smile sometimes. I have never been shunned by any Canadian I greeted on the street. That is because they have been taught to preserve their culture which among other things preaches mutual respect. But what happens when I say hello to fellow Africans on the street? Many a time, they size me up first. Ostensibly to find out whether I belong to the same social stratum or whether I am a parasite.

The women want to be sure that I don’t intend it as a yardstick to get familiar. Some would only reply if they were comfortable with my physical appearance.
It is also not a secret that some of us are ashamed of our ancestry. Another consequence of our inability to preserve our mother tongue is this spiritless life we lead where there is no true bonding because we do not appreciate one another. If we cannot respect our language, it will be impossible to forge mutual respect and cohesion among ourselves. A future consequence will be the loss of our heritage and in effect our dignity as a people.

This thus calls for concerted effort. I agree that some tenets of our culture should be confined to the history books but language is not one of them. I also agree that people do have a right to their own choices. But the option of consuming our mother tongue will be selfish, ungrateful, bitter, unfortunate and expensive. We must all come together to save the situation. I implore that going forward; children are taught at least one traditional African language. Let those who can speak make it a point of duty to teach others while those who cannot, make it a point of duty to learn. A head start in this manner will go a long way in changing the tide in our favour.

One thing to cheer about though; Africans hardly ever show disrespect by speaking in their traditional language while in the company of anyone who does not understand that language. This conduct is exemplary and highly commendable. But I wish they’d transmit that respect to one another.

SAVE NIGERIAN LANGUAGES-“LOCAL LANGUAGES:A CULTURAL HERITAGE OR VICE?-ORIGINALLY FROM DAILY CHAMPION NEWSPAPER,NIGERIA

May 15, 2009

FROM apnaorg.com

Local Languages: a Cultural Heritage Or Vice?

Daily Champion (Lagos)

OPINION
April 21, 2005

Okoro Theophilus
Abuja

THE rate at which the nation’s languages is gradually being subsumed by the influence of western cultures – languages – cannot be quantified. To many parents, they cannot just find a simple reason why they should bequeath to their children the native language – a cultural heritage.

In education, Nigeria has a mother tongue policy which requires that every child be taught in a mother tongue at the pre-primary and during the first three years of primary school. The policy states that where the mother tongue cannot be used, the language of the immediate environment, i.e. the dominant language of the community which the child already speaks is recommended.

In some regions in Nigeria especially the South-South, ‘pidgin’ has acquired a mother tongue status, such that many youths are unable to communicate in the local languages any more. Language experts or educationists in time past had advocated for the usage of Nigerian ‘pidgin’ in teaching especially in this area. This was the thinking of the National Commission for Mass Literacy Adult and Non Formal Education in 1992 which was introduced to produce literacy materials in Nigeria ‘pidgin’ unfortunately the project has since been suspended.

It is not uncommon to find parents teaching or communicating in English with their children without recourse to the necessity of first bequeathing their native languages to them. This imported city practice(s) has spread colossally to different parts of Nigeria, most especially the South East and the South-South areas.

This practise is quite becoming an acceptable norm for majority of the people, though it might not be condemned in its totality. But the parent must ensure that the child as a matter of priority UNDERSTANDS the mother tongue and SPEAKS it, before they (may) decide to change the code and educate him or her on the other. Civilization does not presuppose the abandonment of culture or one’s language, rather it requires an integrative approach in which such local languages are developed via the instrumentalities of communication in our day-to-day existence.

In our society today, thousands of our youth are unable to speak their native languages, and for this group, it is most likely that their lineage(s) will be affected seriously because they cannot bequeath to the generations to come what they don’t know.

That is why many foreigners who are resident on Nigeria and who are not of the English stock, such as Indians, Chinese, French, Japanese etc see the importance of their mother tongues and bequeath them to their children through the process of cultural transmission, before any other language would follow. This observation, shows that our Nigerian parents have got it wrong from the start, either due to ignorance of the wrongs of civilization as it relates to local languages or a clear show of apathy in its communicative uses due to personal ego and pride or put succinctly, of complexes which only a genuine and thorough appraisal of the unquantifiale disastrous consequences it portends for the future of local languages will correct. There is need for re-orientation for both parents and the youths who have ignorantly accepted this practice of speaking only foreign languages as a norm and view the local languages as a vice to be done away with.

The intimacy between a language and people who speak it are inseparable because a language lives only so long as there are people who speak and use it as their mother tongue, and its greatness is only that given to it by the people. That is why classical latin is a dead language because it has not evolved or changed and not used as a language of public communication. Lack of use might have accounted for the death of many local languages in the South-South today and in no distant future the South East will suffer the same fate if the people do not evolve an attitudinal change towards their culture.

A language is important because those who speak it are important politically, economically, culturally. English, French and German are great and important languages because they are the languages of great and important people.

If the native or local languages are not bequeathed to our children, how can the language(s) evolve over time from this present state of complexities to a process of progressive simplification in line with modernization? How can it become the language of great and important people? How can it preserve our cultural heritage? Greek for instance is studied in its classical form because of the great civilization which its literature preserves.

Information and culture are not matters of leisure. They are life and death issues in the world of today. We have to defend the culture of the people, because once the mind is conquered, the body will follow. If we allow the people outside to colonize us mentally, intellectually and culturally, then we are just slaves.

This doesn’t mean that English language is not important, it is an international language, a language of law, commerce, politics, administration, and of education and most importantly our lingua-Franca, hence, must be learnt, but not to be used as a substitute for our local languages. That is why the schools as agents of socialisation offer the opportunity for a child to be educated in English while his or her mental facilities are still alert to language acquisition.

Research and observation have shown that a child is capable of speaking as many as 8 different languages; the onus now is on the parents to minimize these potentialities inherent in the child as it relates to language acquisition. But by refusing to culturally transmit these local (native) languages to their wards at their prime in preference for English alone, it becomes very difficult for these youths to acquire these native languages when they become adolescent. Thus the child is ill-equipped to communicate, using other mediums in a dynamic and multi-lingual environment like ours, hence, preparing the native languages for imminent death.

J. Oswald Sanders once said that “the eyes that look are common, the eyes that see are rare.” It is neither a mark of wisdom nor of greater knowledge and understanding for the parents and the youths to continue this practice. We must begin to see the fate about to befall our local languages. Our youths are fast losing their cultural heritage due to neglect of indigenous languages and if nothing is urgently done to reverse the trend, Nigeria’s cultural heritage and linguistic diversity would be lost and the nations personality subsumed by other cultural influences.


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