The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has said the loss of language means the loss of culture and identity, adding that the suppression of languages of minority groups has been used as a deliberate policy in order to suppress those minority cultures, resulting to loss of a large number of languages through with the processes of colonisation and migration.
Mr. Kiyaramo who stated this when a Peot and Ijaw culture enthusiast, Mrs. Ifiyemi Ikelemo, popularly known as Erema Yanga, visited him in his office on Thursday, in Yenagoa, noted that as languages disappear, cultures die also, saying that “the world becomes inherently a less interesting place without languages.
According to him, language is intrinsic to the expression of culture as a means of communicating values, beliefs and customs, informing that our language has an important social function which fosters feelings of the group’s identity and solidarity and that culture is the very means by which culture and its traditions and shared values may be conveyed and preserved.
He said: “The cultural values of a society, combine other things, including our processes, how we structure teams and how we conduct meetings as Ijaw people. Our values have always included collaboration, trust and participation.
“Culture is a defining feature of a person’s identity, contributing to how they see themselves and the groups with which they identify. It may be broadly defined as the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings, which is transmitted from one generation to another. Every community, cultural group or ethnic group has its own values, beliefs and ways of living.
Earlier, Mrs. Ifiemi Ikelemo, had briefed the governor’s aide about the activities of her organisation, the Ijaw Connect Initiative, informing that special tutorials on Ijaw language were being organised, starting from Monday to encourage parents to avail themselves of the opportunity of their kids learning Ijaw language in Yenagoa.
“Language is fundamental to cultural identity. For Ijaws their unique world is expressed in their language, therefore it is important that people keep their own language alive by speaking and writing it.
“The observable aspects of culture such as food, clothing, celebrations, religion and language are only part of a person’s cultural heritage, while the shared values, customs and histories characteristic of culture shape the way a person thinks, behaves and views the world”, Mrs. Ifiemi Ikelemo maintained.