Personally I love languages, the mood that comes with each one, the accent, the pronunciation and the nuance in getting the perfect translation into another language. This love led me to pick up a new language (their movies and dramas too helped) which I picked up from scratch, bought a notebook, downloaded ebooks and focused on learning it. This is my second year on it (the language is Korean) and I’ve learnt a lot on appropriating a language for oneself.

A language is not just a means of communication, but one of expression. It’s a package that comes with a lot of culture, history and identity. The wise sayings in each language more often than not fit the context of that society. Meals, the occasions when they are eaten and even when they are used in a phrase all differ from one language and culture to another. Learning a new language is embracing a new culture, gaining an identity, but be careful not to loose yours.

Many young Africans today suffer from an identity crisis as a result of today’s huge cultural gap. The principal language to land you a good job is English Language, the official language of your country is English plus something else. Something else could be French, Spanish, hardly ever a mother tongue, so we don’t embrace our culture. We don’t know who we are, what we are worth, we have no culture appropriation. No mother tongue, no culture, no understanding of all the beautiful expressions that define us.

Is your mother tongue Swahili or Zulu? Gush out its beautiful words. Is it Yoruba or Igbo? Wing it with pride. Is it Sawa or Mungaka? Accentuate and stress every syllable as should be. Are you scared of ruining your perfect English or French Language? They were never yours to begin with. So speak wherever and whenever you can, for your language is your identity.

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