Dr Souleymane will be anchoring a radio programme – My French World on Radio – at Lead City Radio 89.1FM from the Lead City University in Ibadan. The broadcast time is 7.10am to 7.30am every Saturday within Olusoji Ajao’s programme on Reducing Poverty through Digital Skill Empowerment. The first talk took place on Saturday 22nd of July 2017. The topic of discussion was the Importance of French Language.
With the desire to safeguard our mother tongues, to use English as the most spread language in the world, to speak pidgin to interact in our immediate environment and to learn Arabic to understand the Quran, there is a growing concern about the attitude of Anglophones towards the study of French. A good number of us are insufficiently informed about the usefulness of French in our lives or its importance as an international language.
We retain a lackadaisical attitude towards it until reality dawns on us that we are shortchanging ourselves. From his experience in Cote d’Ivoire in the 90s, Reuben Abati (a Nigerian media guru), affirms that most Nigerian diplomats, government officials and politicians fail the nation at international meetings because they rely heavily on translators. Participants from other countries who make efforts to communicate in English and other foreign language believe that Nigerians are arrogant by sticking to English only.
Developed countries take foreign languages as a matter of strategic policy geared towards integration and development. For the US, it is Spanish and Mandarin. Nigeria’s lack of seriousness with French explains its failure to gel with other members of ECOWAS, most especially, its inability to create a common front with neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the fight against Boko Haram. It took the intervention of the French Government to prevail on these neighbouring French-speaking countries to work hand-in-hand with Nigeria. The collaboration has since yielded positive results in the counter-insurgency. Needless to say that French-speaking countries have closer political ties with France, not because of colonization, but because it is a powerful nation with which they share a common affection, viz French language.
Hope was raised in 1996 when French was declared second official language in Nigeria. With the knowledge of French, Nigerians and Francophone countries will be able to work together in many areas. The need for French in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized because of its geographical, economic, and diplomatic as well as her educational and research needs. We need to take our destinies into their hands and charter a new course in their lives which should incorporate French language for the following reasons:
- French is the 2nd most widely learned foreign language after English, the only language, alongside English, that is taught on every continent.
- Speaking French opens up study opportunities at renowned French and Canadian schools ranked among the top higher education institutions in the world, on grants or very favourable financial terms.
- Speaking French and English opens the door on the international job market, with French companies in France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa or many multinational companies using French as their working language.
- French is both a working and official language of international organisations like the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts.
- French opens up the internet world and connects you with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
- French is the language of culture, reasoning and debate, which offers you an access to great works (of literature, music, cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance, architecture, science and philosophy) in the original French. French is the language of Zidane and Celine Dion.
- French gives you confidence when you for travel to Paris, the rest of France and other Francophone countries. It is said that “See Paris and die” because France is the world’s top tourist destination.
- French is an easy language to learn. You can now quickly reach a level where you can communicate in French because there are many methods that make learning French enjoyable and faster.
- French is a good base for learning other romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian as well as English. More than fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
- French is a beautiful, rich, soft, melodious and romantic language.
Won’t you rather learn French now?
For guidance and further discussions, contact any of our channels of My French World on www.myfrenchworld.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, Whatsapp (+2348185008185), Facebook (page or group), Twitter@myfrenchworld1, Instagram or Youtube and soon on radio.
For further reading:
- Reuben Abati: “Why every Nigerian must learn, speak French”
- Faniran, Keji Felix. “The Role of French Language in Developing 21st Century Nigerian Graduates”. Journal of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, Vol.23, 2016. Osun State University, Osogbo, College of Humanities & Culture, Ikire Campus, http://iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JLLL/article/viewFile/31282/32120, retrieved 20 Jul. 2017.
- FRANCE DIPLOMATIE: “10 good reasons for learning French” (http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/francophony-and-the-french-language/promoting-french-around-the-world-7721/article/10-good-reasons-for-learning)
- Institut Francais, Nigeria: “17 good reasons to learn French” (http://www.institutfrancais-nigeria.com/17-good-reasons-to-learn-french/)
- Stella Omonigho, “French as Nigeria’s Second Official Language”, The Guardian, https://guardian.ng/sunday-magazine/french-as-nigerias-second-official-language/, 21 February 2016