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Effects of European Civilization on the Indigenous Yoruba Culture
There was an existence of standardized indigenous cultural values in various Yoruba communities, which are passed down through generations, in the form of a legacy. In stereotyped values; they are norms and rules that govern the existence of the Yoruba, therefore, a deviation from such norms can lead to a sanction from the community. Socialization through contact with the western world exposed the Yoruba communities to another facet of life. However, the aspect of life was new and very strange, but, people were influenced so much that, it served as a catalyst that spurred an action. The action, in its entirety, can be called as a change, which was inevitable at that instance, but, rather, it was a way forward to survive the new sad existence. In any case, the changes identified in this document, were grouped in periods of occurrence and were later, discussed under a triumvirate, to make a proper analysis.
Culture, according to the Oxford advanced learners dictionary, is defined as the customs, beliefs, arts, ways of life and social organization of a particular country or people. It can also be seen as human behavior and the general ways of life that have passed from one generation to another inform the legacy. Socialization, on the other hand, is an act of being social through contact. The socialization of Yoruba culture is defined in the context of this discussion as the aspect of indigenous Yoruba cultural values that have experienced some notable changes as a result of contact with foreign or foreign cultures of the Western world or Europe.
The identified changes are grouped in the periods of the events and are then discussed under a triumvirate, namely: the Pre-colonial, Colonial and Post-colonial Era / the Era of new Assumptions. It is shown, based on historical facts, that some parts of the Yoruba communities especially Lagos, had contact with Western or European adventurers and traders inform of bilateral trade through the exchange of goods inform of the barter system . At this period, hides and skins, ivory, cocoa beans and other agricultural products were exchanged for goods such as clocks, mirrors, tobacco, gun powder and so on. Trade then led to slavery or the slave trade; a situation where able-bodied men were transported in chains and chains across the Sea through Lagos colony and Badagry axis. Slavery was born from the fact that man power was desperately needed as direct labor in Britain, America and throughout Europe to cultivate their expansive agricultural lands to meet the demands growing in industries that depend largely on agricultural products. raw materials.
The philosophy and psychology of most of these slaves changed to that of their masters. For example, they (the slaves) believe in what the masters believe do what the masters do, dress like the masters, eat what they eat, imbibe their new cultures, learn their language, to name just a few . However, the hegemony of the Europeans over the new Society of “slavery” was somehow experimental. The slaves in turn acted in accordance and conformity with the dictates and wishes of the masters. The culture of the teachers, although it is very strange and extremely new has become fashionable, everything Yoruba in nature became topics of the past. This, therefore, forms the first phase of the cultural change inflicted on the indigenous Yoruba heritage through contact with the western world as a result of bilateral trade and slavery.
Religion and education form the root of the second phase of changes identified in the indigenous Yoruba culture. Religion can be considered as the main aspect of Yoruba culture that has undergone a tremendous change due to the socialization that has been brought about as a result of the inevitable contacts with the West. It is remembered in this case that, everything in the Yoruba communities settles around the belief system of the people, nothing can be done or addressed independently of the religion and belief of the people, for example, family name, festivals , engagements and marriage. , agriculture, puberty and adulthood, clothing, secret societies, and so on are deeply rooted in the belief system of the people through religion. Family names are used as means of identification in terms of religion, occupation, bravery, royalty, economy, among many others.
If you are a Yoruba man, call a child “Akinola”; the compound name “Akin” is suggestive of the fact that the family from which the boy came is known for bravery and prowess, perhaps his grandfather was a powerful warrior. “Ayankunle” is yet another name which shows from its compound name “Ayan” that the family bearing the name is known for an ancient profession of drumming. “Ade” and “Oye” are names that represent chieftaincy and royalty, “Ode” is that of hunting, while “Ona” is another compound name that suggests art and creativity and so on. It is pathetic today that, Yoruba no longer know what is in a name, as indigenous names are no longer in use. The few that are still functional are changed on a daily basis and replaced with Islamic baptism and xtian names. Likewise, many of these names are modified to synthesize in Western cultures so their pronunciations may sound foreign.
There was an indigenous system of education established in various Yoruba communities before contact with the western world. The western education system was later introduced by Christian missionaries, in the middle of the 19th century, through the Badagry axis, although the progress of western education in the Yoruba communities was actually a gesture carried out by Christian missionaries. In the school curriculum, the teaching of art as one of the subjects in the missionary schools was deliberately abandoned initially, to discourage the new converts from always using their abandoned religion (which is the indigenous culture) as a point of reference. Another implication of this was that, anything cultural or Yoruba in nature was seen as a fetish.
It is a fact that, a typical Yoruba cannot be easily separated from his arts, the arts serve as vital materials of his religion and belief system. Art is an important aspect of Yoruba culture; everything is incorporated and embedded in cultural values. Today, it is very difficult for a man to identify or appreciate his own indigenous culture due to the fact that his mentality is lost to the west. Believe in what a white man believes, because of this, the Yoruba language, for example, is fast disappearing, since the new or next generations are seriously forbidden to speak the language at home / school by their teachers and parents A Yoruba man believes at the same time that, he is civilized and socialized even if he speaks a foreign language, imbibes foreign culture and behaves foreign while he considers his cultural values as forbidden, barbaric, inferior and very unrefined.
The third aspect of the triumvirate which is the Post-colonial / the Era of new Assumptions, is actually the manifestation of the first two principles of the triumvirate discussed earlier. At this time, all aspects of Yoruba culture had undergone remarkable changes both physical and psychological to the extent that, a Yoruba man living in his native community, still seems very far from his indigenous and stereotyped cultural values. The aspect of physical change involves those aspects of Yoruba culture that are seen or felt in their daily use. Good examples are clothing, language, greetings/pleasure exchanges, moral standards, norms, etc. A Yoruba child of this generation, born and raised in the Yoruba community, because of the changes that the culture had undergone in a holistic form, do not know how to greet their parents properly. He or she prefers to greet the parents as they stand, or possibly give a wave of the hand.
On the other hand, many consider prostrating or kneeling in greeting to the elders in the Yoruba culture as very conservative and barbaric. Speaking Yoruba language is seen as a sigh of regression in Yoruba communities, and that is why today, a Yoruba man cannot speak his own language conveniently for thirty minutes, meanwhile, he speaks any chosen foreign language for hours with ease and with great enthusiasm. The indigenous Yoruba way or courtship process has also been relegated to the background, due to its so-called unrefined nature. Many people who get married today, in such communities, do not really know the essence and importance of traditional marriage, they opt for other types of marriage just to satisfy their search for foreign values.
Conclusively, all the problems discussed in this article, can be considered as, only a fractional part of the set of traditional Yoruba cultural values that, had undergone tremendous changes and bastardization due to socialization. All these make it so difficult for a Yoruba man, born and raised in his immediate community, to appreciate, value, identify, and by extension be proud of his own culture.
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