By Chigozie Anueyiagu
Kenneth Dike Library, Awka, Anambra State, came alive Wednesday as it marked 2018 Mother’s Tongue Day, in celebration of indigenous languages, with the theme; Linguistic Diversity and Multilingualism Count for Sustainable Development.
Acting Director of the library, Nkechi Udenze, stated that the purpose of the event is to celebrate, not just Igbo, but other languages that can assist people in effective interaction.
“it is not enough to understand Igbo language and stop there, there are benefits of learning other languages, today is mother’s tongue day not Igbo day, and for us to be developed on a global level, we should celebrate, and promote multilingualism.”
Delivering lecture entitled, “Language Diversity and Globalization,” the guest speaker, HOD, Linguistics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Dr Chinedu Uchechukwu, encouraged everybody to try as much as possible to learn different languages, should opportunity permit, be it home or abroad, as no knowledge is a waste.
“I studied English language as my first degree, then I went for my masters in Germany, where I studied German linguistics, I continued my PhD programme in German linguistic as well, but I never allowed what I studied to affect my fluency my mother tongue which is Igbo.”
On his part, one of the co-coordinators of the event, Eze Onwuji narrated the historical background of the mother’s tongue day; reminding the masses that it was a globally celebrated day, first recognised by the United Nations but formally originated by UNESCO in 1999. He bemoaned the non-challant attitudes of parents in bringing up their children on efficient use of their mother tongues; while advising people, especially, ndigbo to be careful before their language becomes extinct.
“This event came up at the right time, not long ago BBC Igbo was launched, but BBC Hausa and Yoruba have been in existence for a long time now.” Onwuji noted.
Chairman of the occasion, Barr. Christopher Onebunne advised everybody to celebrate multilingualism; emphasizing that the first thing a man is identified by is his local dialect, “if u can’t speak your dialect well, then how else will you be affiliated with your culture? He asked.
The event which took place in one of the halls received a good number of attendance from different primary school pupils around Awka and environs, students from tertiary schools, librarians, corps members, teachers, lecturers and other lovers and promoters of Igbo language
Highpoints of the occasion were citations presented by Librarians, Amaka Alor and Anyanemachi Osisioma in different Nigerian languages.