International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The Place of Indigenous Languages in African Development
Professor Kithaka wa Mberia

Indigenous languages are much more than cultural phenomena. True, they are important vehicles for cultural transmission, identity building and values creation. However, they also have the potential, like languages elsewhere in the world, to aid the communities that speak them in development. Collectively, the languages are an important resource. In this paper, I argue for and demonstrate that indigenous African languages can contribute to the economic development and social progress of the African continent. I show that they have an important role to play in a wide spectrum of areas. They can be used with advantages in early formal education, health campaigns, conflict resolution and peace building, adult literacy, mass media, confidence building and enhancement of self-esteem, and in internal trade. They are also valuable as sources of information and knowledge, values, history and wisdom. Finally, I advocate for their management with a view to promoting and preserving them.

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