Kenyan scholars call for promotion of indigenous languages

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 12, 2019
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Kenyan scholars on Monday renewed calls to promote learning of indigenous languages.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o, professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, said in Nairobi said that Kenyans are more concerned with learning foreign languages at the expense of vernacular dialects.

"It is important for Kenyans to learn their mother tongues in order to promote traditional cultures and values," he said during the launch of a book, "Kenda Muiyuru," in Gikuyu language.

"If you know all languages of the world but don't know your own mother language, it is mental enslavement," he said. "If you know your mother tongue and add languages of the world, it is empowerment."

He called for the learning of local languages but not at the exclusion of foreign languages.

Wanjiru Kabira, professor of literature at the University of Nairobi, said Kenyans should not treat local dialects as subordinate to foreign languages.

Kabira noted that vernacular languages are at risk of becoming extinct unless children take up learning of indigenous languages.

Local dialects are critical in accurately capturing traditional history and culture, she added.

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