Professor David Jowitt of the University of Jos had on Wednesday said that the English language is a killer of languages.
This was said at the maiden interactive session of the English Language Clinic, University of Ibadan which was organised to honour four selected English language icons in Nigeria- Ayo Banjo, Ayo Bamgbose, both of the University of Ibadan, David Jowitt, University of Jos and Munzali Jubril of Bayero University, Kano.
Jowitt said, “English is a killer of languages and it is threatening other languages. Most of us want to see the threatened languages survive but I doubt if it is going to be possible. The young Nigerians are no longer competent in their languages.”
The stance of the revered don was also shared by the other three honorees, with Bamgbose submitting that, “What I see which is very painful is that I see parents who are not literate speaking English to their children. The fact that your children speak English early does not say he will be better in English. I strongly advise that our languages should be used to teach in primary school.”
The celebrated icons feared that the major languages in Nigeria may go into extinction in the next generation.
According to Jubril, “I have eight grandchildren and I can’t talk to two of them in Hausa. In Ni
geria, Igbo Language will be extinct first, followed by Yoruba and followed by Hausa. The Igbo are the least attached to their language. English is waiting to swallow them all.
“It will happen about 100 years time if something drastic is not done. Nigerians are their worst enemy. If an election is conducted as to whether to teach and speak to our children in school with our local languages, 90 percent will vote for teaching and speaking in English Language”, Jubril opined.
They also lamented about the deteriorating state of English in the country and urged that competent hands should be employed to teach the language at all levels.