Be careful with the way you use your language.
Written by Timothy makokha
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Sometimes the way we use language is annoying. Language is the only feature that distinguishes human beings from other mammals of the world. All forms of language whether spoken, written, Braille or sign are equal and should be used appropriately to achieve the basic role of human language. Unfortunately, some individuals use language with ill motives to sideline somebody in a speech situation.
One wonders why we have all these diverse speech communities in the universe. Theorists have own ways of finding reasons for the diversity in the language domain but the much I know is that some people use freedom of speech to infringe on the rights of the other. What would have happened if the whole world had only one common language for the whole human race?
How do you feel when abruptly a person you are talking to switches to another language that you do not understand? Most likely you are to imagine that when people switch to a language you don’t understand, chances are that they are talking negatively about you.
That’s why Kenyans are unwelcoming people, much as tourists think otherwise, unless you speak their mother tongue. That’s why Charity Ngilu will refuse to shake Kalonzo Musyoka’s hand and call him ‘my brother’ a week later. Is it because they come from the same speech community?
Traditionally among the Bukusu people, it was believed that when you enter a house or go to a place where people are talking and laughing but immediately you enter they keep quiet, it means you are not needed in that place. If they don’t keep quiet, they usually shift to a language you cannot understand. But if you insist on being there with them, they will pick on another topic of discussion and resume their initial discussion only and only when you leave.
When you are in a foreign land/town and you hear someone mention words in your mother tongue, does it sound better for you or not? Especially on phone where unexpectedly you switch to your native language how do people around you look at you?
Can ones language affect his business prowess? We have members of a tribe of people in this country who will always purchase anything from a person who speak their mother tongue. In case the seller is lacking that item the buyer is looking for, then (s) he will take him/her to a neighboring seller from the same speech community with the commodity that is needed by the buyer.
A common lingua franca in a region or country is used to include everybody in a conversation. For this reason most countries have come up with official and national languages to ease communication. To many, the native language gives a sense of belonging and prestige to the speaker.
Many scholars have argued that code switching and code mixing depend on contexts. Sometimes when children are with their parents, they can use words in a way that their parents may not understand their conversation for fear of punishment if they are found out. In such cases most youths would resort to speaking sheng words that the old are not informed about.