I have travelled around the world and my recent trip to China taught me how much the Chinese loves everything in and from the West, but not to the desertion of their identity, especially language.
There is a new generation of Chinese who are excited about English and are hungrily learning English on the back of globalization but what’s undisputable is the fact that the Chinese will perfectly learn to speak and write their local language before taking up the challenge to do the same with English.
Even in the UK where I live, several Indians, Pakistanis, Germans and other nationals born and settled here are taught how to speak their native languages at home by their parents before they start learning English at school.
Language is not just important as a means of communication, but it remains an integral part of the culture of any group of people. It’s part of their pride and identity.
But in Ghana, an increasing disgraceful new form of parenting which deliberately ensures that children born and living in Ghana only speak English, is threatening the pride of the Ghanaian identity—and wrongly being encouraged as the contemporary proper way of education.
Being able to speak more than one language is an enviable skill. In fact, a person who speaks multiple languages, even if all are local languages, on the face of it should be considered as having a high intellect or learning ability compared to the person who speaks just one. You can put this on your CV or make a career out of your ability to speak different languages.
English has a national and global appeal but when it comes to the development of children and education, it should not be the only language parents should want their children to speak.
I find it not just laughable but also ridiculously insane when my own sister tells me her children who were all born in Ghana and would probably live all their lives in Ghana cannot speak and understand Twi or any local language because they speak only English to them at home and at school.
What kind of parenting, development or education are these children being given?
A few hours ago, I spoke to a friend in Ghana who was preparing her children for school. She kept speaking to them in English and when I asked why the English, she said her children only understand and speak English.
And it’s not just her or my sister. I know several parents who are doing this too.
The fact that any person speaks just English does not mean that English will be any better compared to those who speak and write English and other languages.
The sad part of this is that, the children are even unable to freely express themselves in English. And because everyone they come across is compelled to speak to them in English, they end up learning bad English, from different people including from their grandparents and friends.
What’s your experience or take on this new trend, which I call disgraceful and an inhibition to the development of the language skills of Ghanaian children?