One of my entries on the need for to decolonise our tongues, which touched much on the need for promoting and preserving our local languages, received an overwhelming response from readers. What is particularly exciting about the feedback is that those who responded to the article are of the view that we need to let our children speak local languages, too, apart from English.
There are also those who suggest that there is need for government to decolonise its policies on local languages. They suggest that probably government should put in place measures that will help promote as well as preserve our local languages so that they do not head for extinction. Below is the feedback:
Zikomo kwambiri polemba nkhani yokhudza kudzipulumutsa tokha ku ukapolo wa zilankhulo. Kuyankhula mudziyankhulo za anthu ena ngati Chingerezi sizikuyenera kutsekereza chikhalidwe chosunga ziyankhulo zathu. Palinso makomo ena ambiri komanso wofunikira amene amatseguka pokha-pokha pamene anthu akuyankhula ziyankhulo za chikhalidwe chawo – izi tayeneradi kulimbikitsa kuno kwathu—Clement Magombo, Area 25c, Lilongwe.
Zikomo kwambiri chifukwa cha ndemanga yanu pankhani ya sabata latha. Tiyeni tilimbikitse ana athu komanso ife tomwe kuyankhula zilankhulo zathu. Makolo tikuyenera kutengapo mbali yayikulu pophunzitsa ana athu ziyankhalo zathu.
Wonderful counsel! I have always wondered why we belabour ourselves so much by using a foreign language. This is even worse for children in lower classes in some private schools including the Early Learning Centres (ECDs) where children as young as two or three years are forced to use the English language! This is abnormal. Research has shown that children learn better at early stages by using local languages of their parents. So, why do we allow even government to use the foreign language in pre-school much to the delight of parents! ECD in Malawi has to propagate use of local languages and foreign languages are better left as optional. In 2004/5 the UN Special committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Geneva faulted Malawi Government for particularly using English as a benchmark for passing an examination at both JCE & MSCE levels. It was believed to be discriminatory for some student to pass in 10 subjects but without English to be declared failed. No wonder we have more failures.
I totally support your views. But you must campaign for the decolonisation of government policy and thinking on languages—P. Kilembe, Lilongwe
I totally agree with you on the need to campaign for decolonisation of government policies on languages. With government’s interventions I believe we can somehow rest assured that our local languages will not die. But I also believe that government can only do so much, charity begins at home. It starts with us. Let’s encourage the use of these languages at home too. n