Why It Is Important For Children To Learn Their Native Languages

The world is increasingly becoming global and this cuts across every sector in society. The existence of multiculturalism brought about by globalisation has made children to grow up in environments that are diverse in terms of culture, family structures, religion etc…

Children growing up in environments that exposes them to several different languages have an advantage of developing a broader perspective on the world and its various cultures. However, such open-mindedness may cause confusion because they cannot identify with a particular community of people.

Having your child speak their native language gives them a proper identity and helps them stand out. Language is an important piece of your family’s culture and background.  It helps them experience greater levels of closeness and engagement with each other. There are various benefits of immersing your child in your native language.

Here is a list of reasons to let children learn their native languages.

i. Native language plays an essential role in establishing their identity.

Language plays a significant role in the passage of knowledge on the history and culture of a community. Learning the native language signifies learning the same history and culture of their parents, relatives, and even the generations before and after. As a means of communicating values, beliefs and customs, it has an important social function and fosters feelings of group identity and solidarity. The self-awareness that they belong to a certain group or community gives them confidence and stability.

ii. It will increase their grasping power of other languages at school.

Fluency and literacy in the native language can lead to a transfer of skills to the second language. Therefore, the more literate a student is in his/her first language, the easier it is for the student to transfer skills from the first language to the second language with the appropriate support and instruction.

  • It helps in cognitive as well as intellectual development.

According to research, children learning additional languages may excel academically, and develop more flexibility in thinking and concept formation.  Children with additional language skills can differentiate and switch back and forth between languages, and identify what language to speak with whom.

iii. It helps them connect with their culture and people.

Our native languages keep our cultural heritage alive. They are critical tools in connecting with our roots and our loved ones. Festivals and religious rituals, ceremonies take on a deeper meaning when they know the language. Being able to communicate with grandparents and extended family members in a home language helps strengthen family ties.


iv. Helps preserve endangered languages.

In communities where the culture and native language is endangered, teaching children, who are often more apt at picking up languages, will help protect and restore dying languages.

v. It is professionally and commercially beneficial

Local languages are assuming greater significance in the corporate world with businesses going more local than ever before. A good command over one’s mother tongue, coupled with the ability to read and write it can be a great advantage and could help one climb the corporate ladder faster.

Our native languages not only allow us to communicate and connect with one another, but they allow us to understand and appreciate the history of our ancestors and our upbringing. Although learning to speak your mother tongue is best done within your family, we can surely help if you are keen to know how easy it is to be able to read and write or type them.

Join us at Oracle Language Centre for customised lessons on the local Kenyan languages. Apply at https://www.oraclelanguagecentre.co.ke/application or call us on 0736 496 025 for more information.

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