- You can learn that foreign language but don't forget to invest in getting to know your mother tongue.
- Knowing a foreign language at this day and age opens doors to many opportunities.
Learning a foreign language is not a bad idea, if I may say so.
But before we get to that part, there is the aspect of knowing your mother tongue.
To be honest, I do not know whether to be ashamed or not.
I do not know my mother tongue, but I know a foreign language.
I can hear, read, write and speak French but I do not know how to speak my mother tongue.
I have received a lot of heat for not knowing my mother tongue that I have started to learn the language.
I remember I asked my mother why she never wanted us, my sisters and I, to learn our mother tongue and she told me that she didn’t want it to interfere with how we speak English.
I am sure you know what I mean when I talk about mother tongue influence on the English language.
A good example is the Luo with ‘s’ and ‘sh’ and the Kikuyu who have trouble with the letters ‘l’ and ‘r’.
I always knew my mum was right for not wanting us to speak in our mother tongue.
Off-late, I have been trying my best to learn how to communicate the language and funny enough, my mum is ecstatic about it.
I often listen to songs in my mother tongue, a technique I gathered when learning a foreign language, and once in a while get to interact with my mum and ask her about the meanings of words.
I am doing my level best to improve.
My cousin also fell victim until it was time to get married and move back into the country.
His father paid to have him take up classes.
Knowing your mother tongue comes with its pros and cons.
One of them is that it gives you a sense of identity, which is something to be proud of.
Perhaps my mum had other reasons as to why she didn’t want us to learn our mother tongue but I strongly advocate letting your child know their mother tongue.
Which brings me to why I think you should also let your child learn a foreign language.
Not only your child, but you as an individual.
The world we live in today is a global village with many cultures.
There are many languages as well.
Learning a foreign language is a plus for each and everyone of us.
Learning French is a plus for me because I easily get to interact with foreign nationals who are interested in knowing how to communicate in Swahili.
Yes, a number of foreigners I have interacted with yearn to speak Swahili and get really excited when they say ‘Jambo’ or ‘Habari yako’.
I have a long time friend who is Swedish but works for an organisation, in Africa, that requires her to know Swahili and French.
Over the years, she managed to improve her Swahili but once in a while she gets trouble communicating therefore she has to share with me texts which I translate for her.
She takes Swahili classes once in a while to work on her fluency and knowledge of the language.
Knowing a foreign language at this day and age opens doors to many opportunities.
Talk about job opportunities, intermarriages and even educational scholarships for those interested in studying abroad.
If we can emulate the effort that is put in by foreigners to learn Swahili and equally learn either Chinese, French, Finnish, German or Swedish then settling in any community in the world would be a walk in the park.
Language plays a huge part in how someone integrates themselves in a new society.
Learning cultures and traditions and navigating a new country is easy peasy and ultimately you become one of them.
It also saves a lot of trouble when it comes to financial transactions and negotiations.
This is one area that I see people facing a serious challenge.
Take up that evening, online class today.
Download that app and learn.
Create that playlist so that you can learn that new slang.
Let the kid go and learn that new language.
But don’t forget mother tongue as well.