Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mother's Love... Mother tongue

As I write this, baby boy is sitting on my desk staring at the screen and his inquisitive eyes are wondering what mom is up too. As he stretches to punch a few keys and make his own blogger debut, I gently swipe his hand away and say

"Kai, ma she"!

Did I mention that I try to speak only Yoruba to my son? Yup, no English up in this house because baby boy HAS to learn Yoruba and I am quite confident that he will learn English as he grows. I see it EVERYWHERE and I bet you do too; Mexicans, Chinese, Indians; kids born within the US speaking their native Spanish, mandarin or Punjab as if they were born in their home countries. Do they have 2 heads and 3 brains? NO! So if they can do it.... teach their kids their language within the US, well SO CAN I!!

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From the time I was about 4 months pregnant, I started doing research, reading and making plans on how I was going to raise my son speaking Yoruba. Whenever I saw a mom in the grocery store speaking a foreign language to her kid, I would stop her, point to my belly and ask for tips, taking note of everything. I even went as far as having a family meeting with my folks and the hubster to etch out my desires and ask for their help....

Fast forward 16 mths....

Well Baby boy is 16 mths as I speak or type and I am pleased and grateful to God that my baby understands Yoruba. He knows

Gba- Take
Maa no e e oo - I will spank you (Which I do but that's a topic for another day)
Kai- Stop it
Omi- Water
joosi -Juice...( Technically its Omi eso, but he is 16 mths for goodness sake!
Maa bo- Come with me
and our current project is the word joko- Sit. I have started stringing words together like "Gba joosi" and "Maabo,joko"

I am the ONLY one among my peeps doing this and it can be frustrating. For example, I'm teaching baby boy joko; I physically have to keep getting up and sitting him down while repeating the word over and over (He likes standing close to the TV, so I am always pulling him back and sitting him down). Imagine doing this 10 times in a row! Another thing is that bilingual babies speak later than monolinguals because they have to process 2 languages in their heads. So, besides one or two words, I am yet to hear my son speak Yoruba back to me.

Nigeria / Nijeriya/ Naíjíríà / Nàìjíríà / Niiseriya / جمهورية نيجيريا /  Nigéria

But it will be worth it, when I have children who appreciate their culture, love the food, people and have a tight grasp of their mother tongue; everything will be worth it. I daydream about being in a store with my kid and speaking code in yoruba and having a convo that no one else understands....heheh. YAY!

PS: If you have any tips, resources i.e Blogs of someone doing something similar, sites where I can buy yoruba flashcards or storybooks PLEASE email me or leave a comment! Thanks~!

...Musings from atop the potter's wheel...


Ms. Yellow Sisi Unspoken said...

aww that is nice I'm really excited that you are teaching the baby boy being able to talk in a foreign language is awesome and comes in very handy and I actually see Yoruba as a future common African Language like swahili because alot of people (non-Nigerians)are learning it these days so baby boy would surely appreciate it later

'Lara said...

It is so good, I wish I had tips but I am sure you in the right way. Wish a lot of mothers can be like you, even those who have never stepped outside Naija will be forming Native languages are razz. thumps up

Jaycee said...

Lol. I trust that what you want concerning baby will happen. Slow and steady wins the race. *wink*:)

Myne Whitman said...

I'm so chuffed to read this, cos I look forward to doing the same. I think you're doing OK. All the best.

In the midst of her said...

MYSU: I heard yoruba is the easiest of all 9ja languages and I often see ibo's and others speaking yoruba.

'Lara:Thanks Lara...there is nuttin' razz about about our language jare!

J:Abiiii oooh!

Myne: Welcome to my blog ooh. Thanks for reading. Word of the day; "Chuffed"... hehehe

Destiny said...

you are so smart to do just that, I think he will be able to learn both languages since many Chinese/Spanish parents do it, aww having a boy must be cute, am sure you want a girl

In the midst of her said...

Destiny (I love this new name...): I can't WAIT to have another baby. I want to have about 100 of

Hephzibah Bride said...

My mum was the same with us, so now no one can cheat us - lol! I'm not so good with speaking - cousins in Naija said I sounded Hausa so I stopped speaking it! But I can kinda write it...

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