MPIGI. The Uganda Martyrs’ University’s Vice Chancellor Dr John Chrysostom Maviiri has challenged government to support the development and promotion of indigenous local languages which he says are near extinction if nothing is done.
Dr Maviiri stresses that youths and other people in the contemporary Uganda can no longer speak their indigenous local languages correctly and are found of mixing them with widely spoken languages like Luganda and other foreign languages.
He made the remarks during Uganda Martyrs’ University’s Cultural Festival 2019 urging that if the native languages are to be protected government must put in place mechanisms including special grants to researchers and writers who can document the fading languages.
“It is rare to find a person speaking his local language all through. Many words are slowly being replaced with foreign words. The young are learning a mixture of languages and they cannot speaker their languages correctly not because that they don’t want to but some words are no longer being used,” He said.
Rev Fr Deogratius Kateregga Kiibi, who also attended the function, said that language is a great pillar of culture and if it is lost then culture is also lost. He challenged the youth to love their native languages and continue speaking them.
“Speaking your language is not being stupid or backward. It rather show that you are proud to be what you are. I think it would be good if opio speaks his language when he finds his tribe-mate instead of showing off in English. The funniest thing is that they cannot even express themselves in English but insist to use it even when they meet people who can speak their local language,” the vocal religious priest said.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga who was chief guest also expressed worry on the ever fading use of the local language. Kadaga who gave examples explained how Lusoga is being lost as its speakers continue to adapt more Luganda words.
Currently, there have been efforts to document a number of languages; this has been done by some kingdoms like Buganda which put a department responsible for language development and have since written a number of books explaining the orthography of the language, the right words used and how to use them among others.