Indigenous Languages Doing the Magic in Broadcasting

By Israel Babalola

The ability to communicate clearly is a key function for all people. Being able to communicate effectively is the use of an individual’s home language which in its essence has a way of penetrating into the audience of such language, without an iota of misconception from the speaker and listeners.

Indigenous languages are languages spoken by people of a certain tribe or native. Every country has its own language or languages that are generally spoken by the people to enhance human communication. By indigenous languages, we mean the various native languages spoken in a particular country.

However, indigenous languages in relation to broadcasting has magically brought creativity and flexibility through which people catch the real fun and originality, while giving information to the masses.

Broadcasting, is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, with the aim to inform, educate and entertain; build a healthy national consciousness; inspire a positive sense of shared national purpose; and, create necessary ethical sensibilities.

Broadcasting is a profession. As such, it has a role in society-building. Its societal role vividly shows the need for the use of the languages belonging to the society.

Broadcasting with the aim to inform, educate, and entertain has been made easier with the use of indigenous languages and has enhanced lively flow from the disseminator to the receiver. Messages like advertisements are easily passed across to viewers or listeners with no complications and contradictions, because a larger percentage of the people are familiar with, and, creators of such language unlike a foreign language that has no root among the people.

Indigenous languages stand as a means to preserving the cultural heritage of our land, thereby making it easy to carve the broadcast platform in the heart of the people. English based radio stations in no time fades away because of their failure to penetrate into the hearts of their audience through indigenous languages.

Indigenous languages has brought radio, TV and other mediums of broadcasting closer to the people more than ever before. This is because, everyone, no matter their status, gets familiar with at least one of these mediums.

In my research in Ibadan and it’s environs, there is a variation of news programmes in English, Yoruba and Pidgin. Many, both the elites and lay men cannot randomly tell the time English news or programmes are scheduled unlike news and programmes communicated in their indigenous language. These are the likes of ‘Tìfun-tèdò’, ‘Gbanko-gbì’, ‘Ajabaale’, ‘Bàbá Vendor’, ‘Edoki’, ‘What’s Up 9ja’, Toritori, amidst others.

Language is an essential part of, and is intrinsically linked to indigenous peoples’ ways of life, cultures and identities. Languages embody many indigenous values and concepts, and contain indigenous peoples’ histories and development. In no way would anyone feel rejected where his/her language is being used to broadcast. Indigenous languages have also drastically pulled more traffic in the history of broadcasting.

Yoruba and pidgin (indigenous languages) programmes, pull more traffic than English programs in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, just like a magic which many cannot fathom. The more indigenous content filled programmes we have, the more audience the broadcasting industry draws, the more fun and its essence is fulfilled.

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