Children learn languages from their mothers | Featured Artiste: Kefee

If you are familiar with African culture, or specifically, Nigerian culture, you would know this saying: If a child is good, he belongs to the father, but if the child is bad, he belongs to his mother.  In other words, if a child is good and successful, the father gets the glory, but if the child misbehaves or fails at something, the blame is put on the child's mother.  I thought this was an African thing.  That is, until I saw this in the Bible:

A wise child[a] brings joy to a father;
a foolish child brings grief to a mother.

Needless to say, I have since concluded that it is a global trend. After coming to such a conclusion, the question that came to mind was "Then, what part of the child's upbringing do we give women credit for?" See where I am going with this? A few more steps and you'll see what I mean.

[Image Source]
Children tend to spend more time with their mothers rather than their fathers.  This might be because of career choices (i.e. the man works and the woman is a "stay-at-home" mum, i.e. house-wife.  I doubt that the term "House-husband" will stick around as long as "House-wife" has).  Where both parents work full-time though, speaking another language might depend on various factors e.g. whether or not the parents speak the language (or emphasize it) at home, the fluency of the parent(s) who speak the language(s), the child's interaction with other native language speakers and their fluency, etc.  By language, I am of course referring to any other language apart from English (or whatever your lingua franca is).

I think that just as the responsibility for teaching children good manners, etc, is put mostly on the mother, so also the responsibility of learning the native language(s) is also put on the mother.  What I have personally observed is that in families where the mother speaks another language other than English, the children tend to speak it just as fluently or maybe even more fluently than the mother.  But where only the father speaks the native language, the children tend to speak just English and/or very little (if any) of the native language.  In my own experience, I learnt Yoruba mostly from my paternal grandmother and extended family members who I spent a lot of time with during my primary school years.  At home, we spoke mostly English, and Yoruba was not emphasized.  But if I had questions about words or nuances in Yoruba, my mother was the first port of call.  Or maybe I should say she still is because I am still learning.

So, what was your own experience: Did you learn to speak your native language(s) from your mother, father, both or like me, from extended family members? None of the above? Please share.  I would love to learn about your own experiences.

Featured Artiste: Kefee

"Ooooh! I LOVE that intro," Relentless squealed in delight, as she listened to "Beautiful" for the first time.

Kefee / Sound Cloud
Yes, that was indeed my reaction when I first heard that song.  Of course, Kefee is not a newcomer to the Nigerian gospel music scene, but what impresses me is how she stays relevant.  There are too many "has beens" milling around, but Kefee is not one of them. For now.  Today's featured song was actually released with Valentine's Day in mind.  It hit the airwaves around the Valentines season, and let's just say yours truly fell in love all over again.  With the song, of course.

The song is airy and light and at the end, you'll want to ride the horse (pictured with Kefee) into the clouds.  You disagree? Oh, you don't like horses? Alright then, leave the horse alone, but listen to Beautiful:


Likes: Running keys - That's what I call the piano intro, and although the keys do not run to Sapele and back, Kefee transports us there briefly with a few Urhobo lyrics. Laced with enticing beats that leave you wanting to hear more, Kefee's delivery does not disappoint, verse after verse.  The background vocals give her the musical space to do her thing, and the role they play accentuates Kefee's delivery.

Dislikes: The songwriting.  Yes, it could have been a lot better because it seemed like too many words were being crammed into the verses.  The simplicity of the chorus could have been translated to the verses.

Recommendations: Re-work the verses to include less words.  Take a cue from the chorus.  Less is more, in my opinion.

More information about Kefee:

Artiste's Stage Name:  Kefee

Artiste's Real Name: Irikefe Momoh (nee Obareki)

Connect with Kefee: Facebook | Twitter | ReverbNation | Official Website

Music Producer: Tee-Y Mix

Have a fabulous weekend, guys!

That song is so soft and yummy (can i describe a song as yummy?) Kefee's voice is amazeballs.

My sister noticed that her 1st girl (princess) calls the 2yr old sister (angel) "omo yii" with a very funny accent when she wants to complain about her and my sister was wondering where Princess picked that from. It turns out, my sister actually says "omo yii" a lot and we didn't notice :)

My parents spoke yoruba with us but we could reply in any language. It was only when my mom was pissed about something you did that she flips when you reply in English. She would go "o tun s'oyinbo" lol. There was a time i noticed that i could not make a pure sentence without adding English in the mix so now i consciously remind myself to be as plain as possible. I wish i could work some "owe" in there too.

My parents spoke both spoke Igbo to us while growing up. My dad spoke English at times but generally it was Igbo. However, amongst ourselves i.e. the children, we spoke English/pidgin English.

I and my wife speak only Igbo to our 2 children, as we strongly believe our they need to learn our language and we have a responsibility to teach them.


Awon agba sope, "The thing ti agba n wo from the fluffy cushion chair, omode cannot see it tio ba gun Iroko tree" LOL!

Okay, thing about languages is, firstly, it has to do with the usage with the child in question from an early age. Also, there comes personal decision by the child to actually take interest in learning it.

My mum would tell me that I always answered in English when Yoruba was spoken to me. We spoke 'only' yoruba at home. English was for school. Till now, it's the same. But when we're outside together, English is the order of the day.

So usage firstly, then personal interest/decision.

Hahaha. My parents were very strategic about us learning Yoruba and the culture. My mom spoke Yoruba to us and my dad spoke English. We responded with Yoruba to my mom and English to my dad.
It was very important to my parents that we were fluent in Yoruba. My mom still makes fun of my Yoruba, but I speak it fluently.

I love the song. First time hearing it. You have a way with your reviews, I agree with you most times. Good job!

Toin: Yup! The song is yummy.  LOL at your niece o! Sharp geh! Thank God it was "omo yii" she picked up and not something else.  LOL at speaking English.  It's good that you're fluent in both o jare. Owe? Me too *sigh*

Nnaija4Life: I am glad you and your wife have taken teaching your children Igbo as your own responsibility. Many parents leave it to chance or don't even care. Your parents started it, and you're passing it on to your children.

Michael: LOL at your owe! No be only fluffy cushion, na basket chair you for talk :-) I agree about usage and then personal interest.  I think that about sums it up.  But personal interest will not matter where the parents are determined that their children will learn the language at any cost.

AdeOla: You speak it fluently? That's a plus o.  LOL at "strategy."  It certainly worked.  What I want to know is what did your dad do if you answered him in Yoruba? *grinning mischievously* 

AdeOla: I am glad the song appealed to you.  And that you heard it here first :-) Thanks for the compliments on the reviews. I would love to hear from you even on the points you disagree with.  That'll be interesting.

Yeah I learned to speak English from my Mum I think, and the little Hausa I know from my Aunty. 

Northern Girl: Really? That's similar to my story too because I did not learn Yoruba from my parents, but from my grandmother. I hope you've thanked both Aunty and Mummy :D


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