With No New Knowledge In African Languages, They Die
UP to now, it has been assumed that the number of people who speak a language guarantees its survival. This means that the more people speak a language, the greater its chance of surviving into the future.
This might be so, from the record of our history until now. In fact, what keeps a language alive is the amount of new knowledge it is able to generate, domesticate and masticate.
Classical Latin is not in use today because the work of knowledge is being done in other languages. Classical Arabic continues to be used today because, first it made itself the medium of European Renaissance in the 16th century.
Second, it is the language of Islam and if the Prophet and his companions were to come back today, the Quran would speak to them in the language in which it was revealed so many centuries ago.
And third, Classical Arabic is the language of Education in the Arab world from kindergarten to university. In the last 50 years, areas of human knowledge have advanced so fast and so furious that these have left some languages behind. Japanese and Chinese refused to be left behind.
Wherever their students went to study in the western world /Eastern Europe, they translated something of their new knowledge into Japanese and Chinese.
In the last 50 years, areas of human knowledge have advanced so fast and so furious that these have left some languages behind. Japanese and Chinese refused to be left behind. Wherever their students went to study in the western world /Eastern Europe, they translated something of their new knowledge into Japanese and Chinese. Under the philosophical guidance of using foreign knowledge to their native savvy, they have been able to keep up their side of adding to the new knowledge.
Under the philosophical guidance of using foreign knowledge to their native savvy, they have been able to keep up their side of adding to the new knowledge. But if you do not join in these knowledges you cannot contribute to it.
Nuclear Physics, ICT, Robotics, Genetics, DNA, Space Technology and Space Exploration and Nanotechnology, which of these can we seriously speak about and pontificate upon in our African Languages? Even the multiple media of everyday are not only absorbed into our systems, they are absorbed in the gibberish of illiterate users of English.
Years ago, when the internet began, it was almost hundred per cent in the English language. Today, this is no longer so. This means that African Languages that mean knowledge business can catch up in the knowledge industry.
The recent excitements in space explorations as well as the ones in nanotechnology escapes us because we cannot enjoy them in our own languages.
One particular experience was described as similar to landing a fly on a bullet in motion. In the more recent pictures from Jupiter, the space craft got to its destination after nine years of flying in space, covering billions of kilometres from earth.
For how long will it continue to send back pictures, pictures which show that possibilities of life supporting materials exist in this incredible universe. With journeys taking years and years, how would humans make these trips? Like the case of the monarch butterflies that fly south to Mexico for the summer and back to the north for the winter, it is not the generation that set out that goes back! As if that was not exciting enough, look at the work being done in nanotechnology.
The following extract on Nanofibres is from the Mail & Guardian of South Africa: “A strand (of nanofibre) is nearly 10,000 times thinner than your hair, conducts electricity better than copper and is 1000 times stronger than steel, but lighter than a single strand of a spider’s web. This is why researchers all over the world are looking for new applications for carbon nanofibres.
On a microscopic scale, a carbon nanofibre is like a tube made up of a rolled honeycomb: carbon atoms organised as a network of hexagonal rings.
At the University of Witwatersrand (in Johannesburg) we are making these nanotubes out of fly ash, a toxic by-product of coaf-fired power stations, and using them to generate electricity.” In trying to translate this passage into Yoruba, there would be need to know what these nanofibres look like.
From their sizes it is obvious that naked eyes cannot see them. And even if the eyes aided with micrsocopes can see them with what does the hand hold them? A few years ago, there was talk in Nigeria that secondary students doing science had no laboratories and so could not do any experiments.
Their study of science was being aided by oral descriptions of experiments. Right now medical surgeons using nanotechnology are performing non-invasive operations nside the human body. At what point are we going to re-constitute our education programme to bring it into the 21st century and make being one of the twenty most developed countries of the world possible for us by 2020?