Paper Title
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS A POTENT TOOL OF GLOBALISATION: ITS PEDAGOGICAL EFFECT ON NIGERIA’S INDIGENOUS IGBO LANGUAGE
Author
Mbaeze, Stella Chinyelu & Uchenna Onyeke
Section
Arts, Language, and Communication
Abstract

English language has contributed immensely in the unification of African peoples –villages, communities and nations - characterised by multi-ethnic, multi-tribal, multi-cultural and multi-indigenous language formations. Since the introduction of English language through colonization, African people now understand one another better and also interact more, with the effect of reduced inter-tribal conflicts and improved international relations and trade among African nations and the larger world community. With improved technological input, the world has truly become a global village. The English language has been a major factor driving the world’s enhanced communication effort. This is, however, not without the obvious endangerment of the indigenous languages of the colonized peoples of Africa. UNESCO, for instance, had predicted that the Igbo language would be nearly extinct by 2025 if the owners of the language failed to take the necessary steps to forestall its waning status. Worthy of note is the fact that English is the preferred language of choice by children of the Igbo language community, those on whose shoulders would have rested the task of transmitting the cultural values and norms to future generations. This presentation attempts to draw parallels between the increasing acceptance of the English language and the declining interest in the use of the Igbo language. The study found a gaping lacuna in the transmission of the cultural values of the affected peoples. Is there a significant correlation between the English language and extinction of the Igbo language, and what is the impact of English language on children’s understanding of the cultures of their fathers in Igboland? This study tried to find answers these questions. Survey method was used in gathering data which were analyzed statistically with Spearman’s correlation coefficient and Chi-square.

Keywords
Igbo, English, pedagogy, culture, globalisation

Introduction

Pedagogy is the science of teaching. That is, the study and practice of the most effective techniques to teach persons of different ages and in different learning situations which may be liberal or vocational. To achieve the goal of education, many factors interplay – the instructor's own philosophical principles of instruction, the learner’s background, knowledge, experience, situation and environment.

Nigeria’s official language and lingua franca is English. In spite of being a second language, it takes a centralposition and enjoys prime attention by both teachers and curriculum developers. Because of its importance in the educational, social, and economic spheres, learning English is given priority over and above the mother tongue. The learning of the English language is compulsory and requisite for employment or admission into any institution of higher learning. Little wonder then that indigenous languages receive little attention from both the teacher and the learner.

Ani (2012) points out that the appeal of any language resides precisely in its capacity to meet the needs of man for self-expression and for communication of experience in his day-to-day engagements with the world around him. Man needs language for the dissection and analysis of material reality and spiritual experience as well as for formulation of hypothetical statements, theories, and belief as well as value systems. In other words, beyond facilitating the communication of experience, a language must enhance man’s cognitive abilities and functioning, if it is to be of permanent relevance or survive through the ages.

The importance of native languages as the cup bearers of peoples’ cultures and tradition cannot be overemphasized. That is to say that, the death or extinction of any language could also be synonymous with the erasure of the peoples’ cultures and traditions.  Meanwhile, for any language to survive, it is important that children who are the hope of our tomorrow must be roundly taught and educated in it. Language extinction occurs when the language has no more native speakers, and becomes a "dead language." If eventually no one speaks the language at all, it becomes an "extinct language."

In recent years, some native languages like the Igbo are feared to be disappearing at an accelerated rate due to the processes of globalization and neo-colonialism, where the economically more powerful languages like English dominate them (Ani, 2012; Austin and Sallabank, 2011). The tendency to be understood by a wider audience and the need for social acceptance are factors that may be contributing to this language dominance. 

 

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