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The Naga Blog: Importance of Teaching Mother tongue to the children


Ketusilie Sakhrie
Dear Naga parents, please teach your children your mother tongue. For now, leave out English and help them to learn your dialect. There'll be time plentiful for your children to learn English once they start school.

Yes, I must admit that English sounds good and makes you feel you're one notch above the other ordinary Naga people. However, you're doing yourselves and your communities a great disservice because, unwittingly, you're signing the death warrant of your own child's identity and sense of belonging. Moreover, you've just managed to do your part dutifully in the chain of events that will ultimately ensure that your mother tongue dies a rejected and lonely death and eventually become extinct!

After all these happens, how will your child develop a sense of belonging or relate with people from your own community if he or she don't speak or understand the language unique to the tribe he or she belongs to? Won't your child just be another statistical number with just a name and a surname inherited from their parents? And yes, after all, WHAT'S IN A NAME, NA???


Abel Tsopoe
Rightly pointed out. Many parents don't realise that they are killing their own children's identity and they also don't realise that they are miserably failing as a parents.This kind of situation happens when some section of the tribal society becomes westernized instead of modernization. But it should be the other way round.


Sophy Lasuh Kesiezie
Easier said than done. My parents were from different tribes who both have their own dialect and a common one. I am married to another tribe and I am learning to speak another tongue! Now my child is confused which tongue to speak because there is just so much of tongues being spoken around him. So he naturally picked the one his peers all communicate with, which is English. Thankfully, he can learn Tenyidie as a subject in school in a year. And God only knows how grateful I am for that because it’s always the wives who gets the stick from the society for not teaching their children “mother tongue”. Theoretically and ideally, every individual should speak their mother tongue. Practically, it doesn’t matter because in the end as long as you can communicate, language serves it’s purpose! Even the dumb and deaf communicates with sign language... just being realistic


Krocha Nk
This is one area I lack in imparting my children and I would like to improve. But I would like to get a definition of what a mother tongue is from TNB folks.

I read somewhere which I am in agreement with. Mother tongue is not necessarily the language that your parents speak. It is the medium of tongue in the surrounding you are raised with. How many of you are in agreement with this? Or is mother tongue the language of mom or dad?

Coming to my story, I'm a Chakhesang, my Mrs an Angami and my children were all born and raised in Delhi. Mom speaks a different tongue, dad speaks a different tongue, we mostly communicate in English, Angami and bits of Nagamese here and there. Since, I use to be at work for most of the day time, my kids picked up English and Hindi as their first choice. For those in favour of learning mom's or dad's tongue, what do you suggest in such a situation as mine? I am genuinely interested in learning tips from many of you who are in favour of it. I want my kids to learn my tongue or their mom's. Feedback and suggestions will be highly appreciated.


Eying Hümtsoe
I won't sweat over it or feel guilty or be shamed just because my kid/s won't speak either of the parents' language. I believe place and circumstances allow people to learn, unlearn, and relearn language/s. Time and circumstance usually sets things/tongues in place. Also, if they speak well the language essential to their present place it's great. In modern times, most may find themselves in places where fluency in their mother tongue is immaterial.


Moa Longkumer
What is TIME? A TIME that which we have absolute power & control over. How much BUSY YOU & I are? Is this REAL or just a MYTH? I will disagree excusing or blaming TIME FACTOR of not being able to spend quality moments & teaching some traditional values to our own kids at HOME. I sincerely feel that we parents can make time for our family in spite of heavy schedules. It is we who make or break the TIME FACTOR. People might agree/disagree yet at home we converse in our own dialect, no other language. What is ENGLISH or NAGAMESE? These languages will be learned at schools & from friends. There are ample time & opportunity to let our kids learn our own mother tongue which is our identity.

Lately I've been observing that many young parents converse in English/Nagamese with their kids at home, show off? Conversing ENGLISH at home doesn't make our family look classy, standard or anything. Adapting other foreign cultures or traditions which are alien to us, and to me all these are misconceptions (in general). To me this trend is unhealthy. If not taken care of then there will be a time when we will loose our own language & identity. I read in one article that Ao language is one of the fastest in the world to extinction. If this is true then it's sad indeed.


The articles in this column are compiled by The Naga Blog administrators.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Naga Blog.

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