Preserve languages


I REFER to my earlier views on the subject of languages in this same column last month.
We face possible extinction of more than 800 indigenous languages if nothing is done by relevant authorities and stakeholders to preserve at least a hundred of them.
As we speak, not even one of our languages have been fully developed as a formal language and can be used as a language of instruction for educational purposes just as the Chinese and Japanese have done.
These mentioned countries are some of the most civilised and developed economies because of the fundamental cultural heritage, particularly in languages and communications, which have been developed and preserved.
How can we use English as an only language of instruction for educational, cultural and communication purpose?
It will not fit into our culture in expressing and identifying innovative ideas and concepts into practical plays and drama or even in music.
Technology and innovations using local resources, talents and skills leaves a lot to be desired in the absence of a homegrown and fully developed indigenous language.
In Africa, some languages have been developed by countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Malawi, and Ghana.
Examples of these languages are Swahili, Igbo, Youraba and others.
Case in point is the indigenous language of Nigeria, Swahili, which has been the first African language to be recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
How much are we doing to preserve at least one or two of the common indigenous languages of Papua New Guinea?.
This will be our bedrock of secret to nationhood and sovereignty in keeping back some information for future generations.
Otherwise, we are seen as an open book of copycats of Western civilisation.
We cannot be at liberty to develop something on our own because ideas and methodologies of development aspects are in a foreign language (English).
This has to change if we truly value our languages.

Philip Ukuni,
Mount Hagen