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The Reason Why Jesus Speaks Igbo Language
Language is fundamental in the cultural and political development of any nation, and helps to integrate people between cultures. The language helps to express his thoughts, ideals, feelings, but whenever the knowledge of a language is missing, he becomes incapable and alienated.
Before Nigeria’s civil war, when western education came, many Igbo elites who embraced western education preferred to speak in the English language among those who lacked such knowledge. For most of them it is a way of expressing superiority over the illiterate. In an attempt to measure, people were forced to learn and speak English language to the detriment of their own language – Igbo. The noise made by the elite about this foreign language in various Igbo communities make people feel that speaking the Igbo language is an abomination. This resulted in the speaking of the English language by the old and the young in the different Igbo communities right or wrong. It is disheartening to note that the elite who should foster the growth of the Igbo language are the worst victims of the situation.
In many homes with educated parents, children are communicated only in English and not in their native language. As a result, illiterates who feel they are being mocked by the elite now send their children to very good schools. Some even flog their children if they hear them speak Igbo. They also prefer to speak Pidgin English than Igbo. To make the situation worse, most Igbo people are masters of other languages. Many Igbo people who are resident in Hausa lands prefer to speak Hausa to their children than Igbo. So are those in Yoruba land. Those who are in America, Britain or other parts of Europe speak strange languages to their children, thus helping the Igbo language to extinction.
There is nothing wrong with knowing the languages of others, but such should not be preferred to one’s own native language in the case of some Igbo today. This makes it very difficult for children born to Igbo parents to appreciate Igbo culture as they have no knowledge of Igbo language and culture. In Igboland, a bird is called “Nnunu” and most children do not know it. If you ask many Igbo children residing outside Igboland what a bird is called in the native language of their residents, they will surely give you the answer before the question is concluded. Today many Igbo children marry in the streets because they have not been taught or involved in Igbo marriages. Many do not know that their parents, relatives, relations have to be involved in such a ceremony. How can you have a proper understanding of these factors when the knowledge of the custom of the Igbo language is neglected? People who have a deep understanding of Igbo usage are mostly those who know and appreciate the language.
In today’s highly Christianized Igbo society, you will only discover that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ is at home with the Igbo language. His name not only spread throughout Igboland but became their Lord and Savior. Jesus speaks Igbo language because he is the origin of it and as such he uses it to communicate 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, thus finding their root and origin from God himself. Jesus is not a foreigner in Igboland, therefore certain Christian laws are found among the Igbo people. In ancient times, it is rare to witness divorce among the Igbo, saying that the ancient Igbo walked with God. That is why it is dangerous for Igbo children, especially those whose parents do not know the Igbo language, to pick up the culture of others who know nothing.
As an individual I believe that ideology has some of its root from language. How can you represent Igbo ideology when you don’t know the language? If the language is lost, then what remains of the identity of the Igbo nation? It pains me the way people confuse some Igbo dialects, but they are also willing to learn other strange languages and dialects that are even more difficult than the Greek language. If we do not believe in the projection of our native language, how can we have the same ideology? A close look at the meetings (traditional, political and religious) reveals that the educated (Western education) find joy in speaking in English to many people who do not have the same knowledge. In the end, the ideas they suggested will not be understood by those who cannot speak and understand the English language very well. Many, who speak in foreign languages other than Igbo language in meetings, often end up being misunderstood, because of the problem of leaving their ideas half way or killing them because of wrong communication approach. This has led to the lack of direction in most Igbo gatherings.
Most of the people, who were appointed commissioners for culture in some Igbo speaking States in the past, actually spoke languages foreign to their people. This led to the failure to achieve the necessary objectives. Many of them were busy promoting Western culture and languages. The Igbo must learn a lesson from the mistakes of the people in the past. In this encounter, it has become necessary to give a good footing to our language by teaching us, the children and others. We also communicate the truth of the Gospel better in Igbo language when we understand that our Lord and Master Jesus Christ loves this language – Igbo! Igbo language should be promoted and taken seriously as if it is one of our daily menus. I want every Igbo to accept this as a mistake and then take appropriate corrections to ensure that the language grows. Steps should be taken to ensure that parents encourage their children to speak the Igbo language at all times. It is the language that Jesus likes to speak!
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