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The Reason Why Jesus Speaks Igbo Language
Language plays a key role in the cultural and political development of any nation and helps people integrate across cultures. Language helps a person to express his thoughts, ideals, and feelings, but when any language knowledge is missing, a person becomes helpless and alienated.
Before the Nigerian civil war, when western education came, many Igbo elites who adopted western education preferred to speak English among those who did not have such knowledge. For most of them, it is a way of expressing their superiority over the illiterate. In an attempt to measure up, people were forced to learn and speak English to the detriment of their own language, Igbo. The clamor for this foreign language by elites in various Igbo communities makes people feel that speaking Igbo is an abomination. This has resulted in both the old and the young speaking in English, rightly or wrongly, in various Igbo communities. It is disappointing to note that the elite who are supposed to help the growth of the Igbo language are the worst victims of the situation.
In many homes where the parents are educated, they only speak to the children in English and not in their mother tongue. As a result, the illiterate, who feel they are being screwed by the elite, are now sending their children to very good schools. Some even whip their children when they hear them speaking Igbo. They even prefer to speak Pidgin English rather than Igbo. To make matters worse, most of the Igbo people are fluent in other people’s languages. Many Igbo people living in Hausa lands prefer to speak Hausa to their children rather than Igbo. So are those in Yoruba land. Those who find it in America, England or other parts of Europe speak strange languages to their children and thus help the extinction of the Igbo language.
There is nothing wrong with knowing the languages of others, but for some Igbos today, that language should not take precedence over their mother tongue. This makes it very difficult for children born to Igbo parents to appreciate their culture as they have no knowledge of Igbo language and culture. In Igboland, the bird is called “Nnunu” and most children do not know this. If you ask many Igbo children living outside Igboland what a bird is called in their native language, they will surely answer you before the question is finished. Today, many Igbo children marry on the streets because they have not been taught or involved in Igbo marriage. Many people do not know that their parents, relatives and relatives should participate in such a ceremony. How can you properly understand these factors if you neglect the knowledge of Igbo language traditions? People who have deep knowledge of Igbo custom are mostly those who know and appreciate the language.
In the highly Christianized Igbo society today, you learn that only our Lord and Master Jesus Christ is at home in the Igbo language. Not only did His name spread in Igboland, He actually became their Lord and Savior. Jesus speaks the Igbo language because He is the origin and therefore uses it to bring the message of salvation to many. Today, the Igboman finds in the Word of God some of the accepted laws and customs of the Igbo people, thereby tracing their root and origin to God Himself. Jesus is no stranger in Igboland, so some Christian laws are found among the Igbo people. It is rare to witness divorces among the Igbos in the old days, which tells us that the ancient Igbos walked with God. Therefore, it is dangerous for Igbo children, especially those whose parents do not speak Igbo, to absorb other people’s culture.
As an individual, I think that there is some language at the root of ideology. How can one represent Igbo ideology when one is ignorant of the language? If the language is lost, what will be left of the identity of the Igbo nation? It pains me how people frown upon some Igbo dialects but are willing to learn other strange languages and dialects that are more difficult than Greek. If we don’t believe in projecting our mother tongue, how can we have the same ideology? When carefully observed in meetings (traditional, political and religious), it is clear that the literate (western educated) enjoy speaking English with many people who do not have the same knowledge. In the end, those who cannot speak and understand English will hardly understand their ideas. Many who speak in foreign languages other than Igbo in meetings are often misunderstood or killed because of the wrong communication approach because of the problem of leaving their ideas half way. This has led to a lack of direction in most Igbo meetings.
In the past, in some Igbo speaking states, most of the people appointed as commissioners for culture actually spoke strange languages to their own people. This resulted in failure to achieve the required objectives. Many of them were involved in promoting western cultures and languages. Igbo people should learn from their past mistakes. In this day and age, it has become a necessity to give our language a good foundation by teaching it to ourselves, our children and others. If we understand that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ loves this very language – the Igbo language – we will better convey the truth of the Gospel in the Igbo language! The Igbo language needs to be promoted and taken seriously as one of our daily menus. I wish every Igbo would recognize this as a mistake and then make appropriate adjustments to ensure the language grows. Steps should be taken to ensure that parents encourage their children to speak Igbo at all times. This is the language Jesus loved to speak!
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