No Ga or Twi ?

After the choir recessed, I waited a while in the pew farthest away from the main congregational pews.The pew purposefully reserved for nursing mothers. This pew has been my comfort zone at church for the past six years as I welcomed babies number one, two and three.

With service over, I slipped out of the church room to say my “hello’s” to friends I meet only on Sundays.This custom as important as the church service itself.

Pleasantries are exchanged as we catch up on happenings from the previous week or weeks depending on when last one saw a family. For the mothers on the nursing mother’s pew, a special bond has been formed over the years as we encourage and support each other.

I  headed towards the newly built children service block which sits beneath the brick manse.There, I met M ( a good friend of my daughter) and her father.

“M etse sen?”,  I asked with a smile as I embraced her.

Then came a long pause, as she tried to find the appropriate Twi response to my question.

“I don’t think she knows the response in Twi”, explained M’s daddy.

“Ooh, I’m sure she does, let’s give her some thinking time and she ’ll remember”.

This started our brief conversation on the state of our Ghanaian languages. Are we abandoning them as a country? Will the next two generations have anyone passing the diverse indigenous languages to them. My heart bled as we realised that almost all the parents spoke English with their little ones. No Ga, Twi or Ewe was communicated between the parents who picked their little ones from Sunday school.

Will our indigenous languages become extinct in the next 50 years? As we continued to ponder over this delicate issue I asked him what our role as parents are in maintaining this distinct part of our culture. We owe posterity this much.

“Auntie TK, meho ye! “, exclaimed an excited M.

Maybe all is not lost, I thought to myself as I journeyed on to pick up my little ones with renewed energy.

“All is not lost”, I repeated to myself.

My angst dissipating.Much work still to be done.


12 thoughts on “No Ga or Twi ?

  1. I do hope you manage to keep the indigenous languages. You may have found yourself a new job:) Lovely use of dialogue, and I found myself picturing the pews in my own church, and remember our meet and greets out in the narthex.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read a lot about languages dying, or languages that have so few speakers they will die soon. But this piece is different from them all because you tell it not from the point of view of a researcher or group leader, but as a parent wondering about your role in this phenomenon. I think a lot of researchers would love to read this!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I used to study linguistic anthropology, so I have thought of language loss such as you describe. But you bring it home in your piece. I hope you can effect some change in your community.
    I loved how you gave the child some time to think… best teaching practices!
    And why don’t more churches have a pew for nursing mothers- how brilliant! I love the feeling of close community it created among others at your stage of life.
    I enjoy reading your posts so much, whether they seem different from my life, or similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think of a woman who spoke Slovak to her children. The children admonished her to speak only English. The children never learned the language. Please don’t let your language die.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your church’s idea of a pew for nursing mothers. What a wonderful way to build a supportive community! And then I was moved by your thoughts about the indigenous languages and the parents’ roles in supporting them. I think we often lose sight of what is lost when we are always looking forward and neglecting our heritage with its language and/or traditions. Conversations such as you shared are so important!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a dynamite slice. I was reminded of Mother Tongue Week when the point was made repeatedly that languages around the world are dying, sadly. Let’s do our best to keep them alive. Ayekoooo!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This narrative is a powerful case study for why the mother tongue is so important. Buried in language is culture, history, and emotion. I commend you for advocating for this. The pew reserved for nursing mothers is a wonderful metaphor for the bond we have with fellow mothers. We can just sit next to each other without saying a word and understand one another.

    Liked by 1 person

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