Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to Igbo parents - Gistyou


Friday, 4 May 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to Igbo parents

“When I had my daughter, I made the conscious decision to speak only Igbo to her. She is two half and years and she speaks Igbo fluently at her relatively young age. Even when we are back in Nigeria, her relatives in Nigeria don’t speak Igbo. Ima Ndi Igbo, I must speak English.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to Igbo parents
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I know my daughter will learn both languages when she is older.

I’m struck sometimes by Igbo people in particular and I’m shocked when they realize that my child speaks Igbo; why?

I grew up speaking both languages fluently. They are Igbo parents who when they are asked why their children don’t speak Igbo, they say it will confuse them but they go on to sign these kids for French lessons.

So it is not a question of the second language confusing the child but it is a question of how much value we give our Igbo language and by extension our history, our culture and our identity.

When did our language become something to be ashamed of?

Some people have said that Igbo language has no global power or as one parents put it to me; “onwero ebe eji Igbo eje”

This is not true. Igbo speaking opens you to a new way of seeing the world because language and world view are closely intertwined.

Igbo also happens to be a particularly beautiful and wise language, even if it wasn’t, the simple fact of being a bilingual benefits a child’s intellectual development”

This is an excerpt of her recent speech “ Igbo bu Igbo” at the annual Igbo conference that took place in London.

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