Ukpong: Nigerian author harps on mother tongue, cultural diversity

Nigerian author Ndifreke Ukpong, known for his controversial novel “Every Woman in This Village is a Liar” and inspirational book “No Limitation to Success”, has emphasised the vital role of mother tongue in shaping identity and cultural diversity.

In a recent address, Ukpong urged parents and educators to prioritise teaching mother tongue, stressing its importance in preserving cultural heritage.

“The mother tongue is the garment of thought, and it is the language of the heart. If we lose our mother tongue, we risk losing our cultural identity and our connection to our ancestors,” Ukpong emphasised.

“Mother tongue, the language we learn from birth, plays a crucial role in shaping our thoughts, expressions, and relationships. In Nigeria, with over 250 ethnic groups and more than 500 languages spoken, mother tongue is essential for preserving cultural diversity.

“Research has shown that speaking one’s native language enhances cognitive development, improves academic performance, and fosters a sense of belonging. Moreover, mother tongue is a vital tool for cultural transmission, allowing communities to pass down traditions, customs, and values to future generations.”

Ukpong’s call to action resonates with educators and policymakers.

“By prioritising mother tongue education, we can empower future generations to embrace their cultural identities and contribute to a richer, more diverse global community,” he said.

“In addition to its cultural significance, mother tongue also has practical benefits. Studies have shown that children who learn in their native language tend to perform better academically and have better cognitive skills.

“Furthermore, mother tongue education can help preserve endangered languages and promote linguistic diversity. With many languages facing the risk of extinction, prioritizing mother tongue education can help safeguard our cultural heritage for future generations.”

Ukpong’s passionate appeal to prioritise mother tongue education serves as a timely reminder of the significance of cultural preservation.

“By embracing our native languages and promoting mother tongue studies, we can safeguard our cultural heritage and foster a more inclusive, diverse world for generations to come,” he said.