Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Spiki English priz!

Great! English is back. I always knew that we were making a mistake. The promotion of Kiswahili at the expense of English, I mean. Why couldn’t they be taught together?

I know guys had this anti-colonial feelings then. Eti if you talked in English you were showing off – which is nuts, of course. I went to my primary school and we were taught in both languages. Then the tinkerers came in. too much tinkering is bad for the nation.

Not that Kiswahili is bad. The language has helped forge this great nation of ours. In fact I am very proud of being a Kiswahili speaker. You go to other African countries and you find guys communicate in either English or French, not in Bongo.

Now it’s time we made citizens of the world. Lets teach in English, French and even Spanish. Mind you speaking English does not mean that you are smart. That you are intelligent.

I know a lot of stupidoes who speak English, just like I know a brilliant heads who speak Kiswahili. Some con-men speak Swangleis, which is a mixture of English and Kiswahili. MPs are very good at that when performing in the Bunge.

If you ask them to speak either Kiswahili or English only they cannot do that. They are bad at both languages.

Now Education and Vocational Training minister Jumanne ‘Jimmy’ Maghembe has said that the transformation to English medium teaching will take five years. Not enough books, additional teaching materials and sufficiently confident teachers, he said.

I have been having the joy of young Tanzanians mothers talking to their totos in English. They want to make up for lost time. You find a young mum asking her offspring: “Maxine, do you want a vanilla iced-cream or pistachio flavoured?” Even the name must sound very mzungu type. Maxine, not Sikujua or Sikuzani or Siyawezi. Those are not user-friendly. Even computers reject such names.

One understands. What we have now are English teachers who can’t speak English. They commit murder to the syntax: “I yamu to ze tawni going, priz.” Or something of that nature.

I saw examination paper of first year law students. I just wondered how he was admitted to the university. The thing was factually wrong and the guy simply did not know the English language.

In desperation he decided to communicate in Kiswahili. At the bottom of the paper he wrote: “Mwalimu nionee huruma, Kimombo kinanisumbua.” (Have mercy on me, I have a problem with my English)

The service industry, especially tourism sector, should also look closely into the language. I have heard our waiters whose English will make guys wince with pain. Overheard a waitress confronts a tourist: “Yes sah, what can I do you for?”
“I just want a beer. I don’t want to be done now.Yet!” answered the cheeky tourist.

No comments: