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Collective action required to address loss of indigenous dialects

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Chairperson, NMC, Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh

The Chairperson of the National Media Commission (NMC), Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, has bemoaned the rate at which the youth and children are losing their mother tongues.

According to him, currently, it is rare to find a child that can explicitly express themselves in their local dialect without adding a foreign language or making an error, especially in the urban centres, because schools have resorted to the use of the English language as the main means of study.

Against this backdrop, the NMC Chairperson made a clarion call for a collective effort to address this emerging phenomenon before it becomes a major canker to future generations, adding that posterity will judge the current generation if they fail to pass on the mother-tongue acquired to the next generation.

“We cannot be lost because the moment we are lost, it becomes very difficult to trace our way back to where we came from and if we do not know where we are coming from we cannot determine where we are going. I was shocked to hear that a child born to Akan‘s parents brought homework requiring that the 12 months of the year are listed in chronological order and it took over 10 people including a bachelor in Twi degree holder to help the child out. This is unacceptable.

“We the custodians of our heritage must express ourselves in our language because language is the most important factor that distinguishes a people. So, if a people do not have a language, then they do not have a culture or heritage,“ he said.

He mentioned that language was a key determinant in the development of all the advanced countries globally, hence the need to uphold the languages that identify and distinguish Ghanaians from others.

In a keynote address delivered at the launch of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Heritage month launch event, Mr. Ayeboafoh did not spare the media for their role in getting the country to this state. Nonetheless, he stated that it is not too late to turn things around if every key stakeholder is deliberate about it.

He, therefore, called on the media to cut down on the excessive foreign culture content in the name of commercials or make a profit to the detriment of the future of the dynamic unique cultures that Ghanaians hold in high esteem.

Furthermore, the NMC Chairperson reiterated that heritage is what one generation leaves behind for the next, hence the need to be deliberate about passing on a rich cultural heritage covering all aspects including food, clothing, and tradition.

He urged parents to speak their mother tongues with their children at home to build a basic solid foundation.

Director-General of GBC, Prof. Amin Alhassan, speaking on the theme for the commemoration: Our heritage, values, and identity, noted that celebrating the heritage of Ghana is simply celebrating the diversity of the country, with programmes in about 25 different indigenous languages designed to educate and portray the dynamic cultures.

“Ghana is extremely diverse. We are diverse in ethnicity, language, and religion, therefore it is important to learn to tolerate the differences and appreciate each other because that is the only way to develop as a people,“ he said.

He stated that throughout the month of March, the GBC through its seven television channels and 18 radio stations would deliver purely local content rich in diverse cultures.

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