Dear Nigerian parents by Nkechi Bianze
Raising your children with English language does NOT make them better at English language at the long run.
More recent research shows that there are more advantages to being bilingual from a young age.
Besides the fact that being multilingual from a young age actually helps children master languages; it has a positive impact in general cognition and IQ.
When we were growing up, my parents SELDOM spoke English language to us except whenever they were helping us with our home works. And erm… they are both very well educated academics.
Some of my peers had their parents speaking English to them because the parents thought that speaking English to their children would make them have better commands of English language when they become adults.
Well, in my little circle, that played out quite the opposite. And recent research actually backs this up.
I find it odd when a Nigerian living in Nigeria insists on speaking only English to their children. We don’t understand the beauty of bilingualism.
It is even worse when these parents are bad with the English language themselves. Raising your children with poor grammar would make them bad in English and bad in their local dialect.
Imagine raising your children with poor grammar. English; you nor sabi. Kuku speak your local dialect to your children kwa, mba.
I understand that it is a little difficult for parents from different tribes to do this.
I advocate Nigerian parents speaking their local dialects to their children and sending their children to good schools with good English teachers. This way, your children are masters of both English language and your local dialects.
I’m VERY FLUENT and I’ve got excellent commands of both my local dialect and English language. Because my parents spoke my local dialect to me and sent me to schools with good English teachers.
An average child is capable of learning FOUR languages simultaneously with the correct dictions, intonations and accents. Especially if they are exposed to these languages in the first 10-12 years of their lives.
I’ve got a friend who is fluent in four languages. He was born in Ibadan, where he spent the first 13 years of his life. His parents are Igbos who spoke Igbo to him. He learnt Igbo from the parents, Yoruba from the environment and English at school. They moved to Germany when he was 13 and he learnt German.
Honestly, I envy him.
Where I work, bilingual people earn 10% more. I’m planning to learn French as a side vocation.
I know only two languages and I wish I know at least 4.
I plan to expose my children to three languages in the first 10 years of their lives.
I admire people who are multilingual. I find it sexy.
Parents in Nigeria who speak English to their children, please why do you do that? Don’t you like your local dialect?
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