How Do I Make Them Speak My Language?

Hello Aunty Eya, pls I need a little help from you and other wives connection readers. I have three kids between the ages of 13 and 6 who cannot speak my language. When they were younger, I tried my best to make them speak my language cos even I can't speak their Father's language. I succeeded in making them learn some greetings and their responses but speaking the language didn't work out. It was difficult because Hubby and I always spoke English since that is the only medium we can communicate effectively with.

Now they are big and I feel so guilty that my kids can't speak my language whereas they are pros in English Language. I
still think it's not too late and want to try again even though their father thinks the language that can put food on their table and give them good jobs is English Language. I don't feel good that I cannot speak with my children privately when visitors are around, we must communicate in a language that is understood by all.

Please I need tips from moms who have successfully taught kids their native languages. How do I make my kids learn fast? They are interested in learning but we are not always together except during holidays, even during holidays sef we see only when I return from work at night. Are there things I can do to make learning my native language possible and easier. Aunty Eya and Mothers, please how did you do it?


  1. Jazmyn8/11/2013

    It's difficult. especially that you and your husband speak English and you are not always at home with them. It was easier for my mum cos she and Dad spoke our native language all the time. We the children learnt from hearing them speak.

  2. Anonymous8/11/2013

    It's a national problem, my children can't say a word in my language

  3. Not too late. Speak your language to them always even on the phone,they will ask you questions they don't understand and you will amazed how fast they learn. Start now but wiz your hubby's approval

  4. Anonymous8/11/2013

    It is absolutely sad that most parents in Africa these days forgo teaching their children their indigenous languages which is such a terrible thing. This is how languages die and furthermore it is ALWAYS, ALWAYS a good thing to be bilingual in any two languages. Yes in order to survive the modern world a general knowledge of English is perhaps indispensable but the advantages of knowing more than one language are far too great to not teach your children other languages you may know. Many Africans don't know this but bilingualism results in higher cognitive capabilities in those with the skills and this quote is culled from a NY Times article: "being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age." So for more than communicating with your kids when strangers are around it can be useful in even more profound ways! It's never too late to start teaching your kids your language but it will require ample effort from both parties! Good luck.

    1. Anonymous8/11/2013

      I think the poster will appreciate actual tips on how to teach her kids her native tongue. She already realizes that there is a problem.

  5. Anonymous8/11/2013

    Bring a village nanny that doesn't knw how to speak English, that's how my nephew learnt n always speak ur dialect with them,even if they dnt understand

  6. Anonymous8/11/2013

    i think it is late now. There is nothing u can do. Since u and ur hubby is nt frm d same place, it may b pretty difficult.

  7. Hmmm, I don't understand my dad's language too oh! Mine was even worse because my mum is igbo and dad egun. Mum spoke little igbo to us but dad never said a word of egun to us. Even when we went to granny's, we spoke english to her and its so terrible because my uncles were always making jest of us. It was when I entered the university I started learning yoruba and am quiet fluent now even though my accent betrays me so the summary of my story is at this stage, it is their interest that would determine but speak it all the time, at least with time some words will sink in. Cheers

  8. It's never too late to start.try as much as possible to speak your language to them.i did learn how to speak my native language properly when i was took me a while but i got here in the end.Good luck!

  9. Anonymous8/11/2013

    Maybe the next time they are one vacation take them to your town/village of origin or your parents or your grandparents etc. somewhere where they will be surrounded by family that speaks your language, if everyone is speaking it they will be compelled to learn it. kids always want to fit in or bring some relatives down who speak it to visit you guys.

  10. Mrs Morgan@warri8/11/2013

    Hello Aunty Eya nd all d WC family,rejoice wt me my bundle of joy arrived yestdy boy tnks to God.

    1. halima8/12/2013

      Congrats mrs morgan,God bless u nd d new born

    2. Congratulations Mrs Morgan. God bless you and our baby boy. He will remain a blessing and will bring you so much Joy. Amen.
      Welcome baby boy!!!

    3. Congrats Mrs Morgan, God bless ur boy n ur home....amen
      Welcome to/back to d club..

    4. Congrts Mrs Morgan. God bless ur bundle of joy.

  11. Anonymous8/11/2013

    whenever thy r on vacation try n take them to ur parents. I use to do dat a lot my kids can speak my language vry well now.all thanx to my mom.

  12. beulah8/11/2013

    I am in my early twenties and cant speak a word in either of my parent's language. it was quite funny when some weeks ago my mum decided she wanted us to learn the language. the youngest of us is in her final year in school gan. I remember when I was about 16 I wanted to learn and my mum was not interested while my dad saw it as unimportant...
    your kids are still quite young and though they may never be fluent they should still be able to learn a lil bit sha. like some1 said, with your hubby's consent.

    1. Lol. My story is kinda similar to urs. My dad is yoruba n I learnt how to speak it at boarding school. My dad didn't speak it to us coz my mum doesn't speak yoruba as she is Kenyan. We spoke only english at home.
      When I was in my 20's my mum made an effort to teach us but I wasn't interested. We all just laughed coz then my siblings were in their 30's n 40's and they r much older now n have their own kids n family to think of.
      I see my kids speaking yoruba coz I speak it to them n my son has been asking wat this n dat means in yoruba. Hubby is Edo and speaks yoruba fluently even more than myself as he was born n brought up in lagos so we speak both english n yoruba at home.

  13. Its not too late ooo! I personally can't speak aside greeting and one to ten, I heard a story recently and I made up my mind to teach my family, lemme share the story, this man taught his kids how to hear but they never learnt how to speak, one day armed robbers came to the house, the man quickly spoke to his son that he should go and hide the money in the backyard, the son them replied the father in english, one of the armed robbers heard it and out of anger they shot the dad and stole the money. Dear poster if u look well you will find elementary books in your language, buy them and let them start learning and speaking to u while correct them. Pls let's make sure we educate our kids, even if it means getting a lesson teacher that can take them once a week,

  14. Well, I can speak my language although not flently..and I dnt speak till I see that it is absolutely needed. I intend to teach my kids too...

    However, I have never had an instance where speaking Igbo saved my life or made anything easier for me. In my family house with my parents, we all speak English and now, my hub and I only speak English.

    In as much as being bilingual makes you smarter or whateva, I dnt think the effect is that profound. After all, the average African is bilingual...or multi-lingual if you add pigin English...but erm...Africa is still kinda backwards...we still depend on these oyibo who speak mostly English to come and save us.

    Also, the language a person needs to survive, apart from English the official language, depends on the place where the person finds his or herself. For instance, ur knowledge of Igbo might become useless if U eventuallly go and live in China...or even some parts of Nigeria. So ultimately, one needs to learn the predominant language of d place you find yourself.

    I just highlighted some reason y its not the end of the world that they dnt know ur language. So weigh ur options. However, its not to late to teach them. Just speak it to them whenever they can and ask them to reply you in it.

    Mrs Morgan, Congrats. God bless you and your baby richly...Amen.

  15. Anonymous8/12/2013

    Take out time, to write out ur dialect and their meanings, like parts of d body, greetings,commands,nouns,etc. Get a printer or a typist to type em out, bind d pages and send d booklets to ur kids. If u can,do a voice record and send it along wiv d booklets. Wen u call them speak ur dialect. It's not too late. My husband said he learnt how to speak his dialect from d age of 16.buh that's because his mum was transferd to their LGA. My siblings and I can't speak neither of our parents language. My dad brought a maid from his village so we could learn, well guess what? 4 yrs latter she left our home speaking good english while we ended up learning "pidgin english" lol. Hope my tips helps.

  16. Anonymous8/12/2013

    Well,u can still teach them but to be candid, am kinda surprised reading people's comment that they can't speak their language.Pls,this is nothing to be proud of.I am proudly yoruba and can speak it very well,am even learning proverbs in my language.My father discouraged me&my siblings 4rm speaking English @home when my momma raised the issue.His reason 4 sending us to an expensive school is 2learn&its their duty 2teach us d language.Av worked in a chinese company before and you will neva hear dem speak English! Na only in Nigeria we go dey form! Even the poorest person will still tell their children to speak in Eng.We have lost our moral values in 9ja both in language,culture,food,dressing and what have you! I tank my parents for speaking and teaching me yoruba! @least from my write-up,u will know am learned!


  17. Pls find out if ur children r interested in learning your language cos my 20yr old sis does not speak yoruba, we spoke yoruba 24/7 In my parents house yet not for one day did she speak yoruba, even d common yoruba words she does not speak, when she was asked y, she said she was not interested in speaking yoruba nor any other Nigeria Language.
    So pls ask them if dey r interested in learning your language 1st

  18. I am just like your kids. And I regret not being able to speak my language. Please it's very important to learn how to speak another language asides english and pidgin.

    Truth is, in the work environment, communication with different kinds of people at all levels is key. It'd make sense, if an event came up to communicate with someone that could speak a certain language, and they could help their company bell the cat. Even if they go overseas, there's always this 'feel good' thing with speaking something 'native to you'.

    Please advise them to learn. They may not feel they need to now, but when they grow up, they may wish they had learned. So, please help them learn.

  19. Anonymous10/16/2013

    Funny enough I was hsving a similar convo with my uncle yesterday. I'm yoruba but mu yoruba ain't pure cos we didn't grow up in naija. However my kids are picking up the language fast thks to my yoruba nanny who couldn't speak English when she started working with us.


Post a Comment

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.
Feel free to email us with comments, suggestions, recipe ideas, or pretty much anything!
Contact Email:

Most comments are by other blog readers. Always seek Professional Help First.
“As an Amazon Associate I earn a little commission when you shop from links placed on this blog.”