Langues autochtones: canaux de promotion de la paix

Dr Roger Djonmbog, National Pedagogic Inspector for Literacy, Non Formal Basic Education and Promotion of National Languages.

Tous les esprits s’accordent sur le fait que les langues autochtones ont leur place dans le développement, la construction de la paix et la réconciliation dans un pays. Parce que celles-ci participent au renforcement de toute identité culturelle. C’est ce qui ressort d’une table-ronde organisée par le ministère de l’Education de base (Minedub) lundi dernier à Yaoundé. C’était en prélude à la 20e édition de la Journée internationale de la langue maternelle qui se célèbre le 21 février.  Avec pour thème : « Les langues autochtones, ça compte pour le développement, la construction de la paix et la réconciliation ».

Un sujet d’actualité dans un contexte marqué par la crise qui sévit dans les régions du Nord-Ouest et du Sud-Ouest du Cameroun. Et pour débattre du thème, deux panélistes, apôtres de la promotion des langues nationales : Didier Mbouda, sousdirecteur de l’alphabétisation et de la promotion des langues nationales et Séraphine Sylvie Ben Bole, sousdirecteur de l’éducation non-formelle au Minedub.

Au cours des échanges, Didier Mbouda a tenu à faire savoir que tout Camerounais, à travers sa langue nationale, s’identifie à une localité donnée. Et dans cette même localité, plusieurs autres se côtoient dans la perspective du vivre ensemble préconisé dans notre pays et qui ne fait aucun doute. « Il y a des instruments réglementaires, législatifs et légaux, nationaux et internationaux qu’on devrait traduire en nos langues nationales pour mieux se les approprier.

Grâce à ces fondamentaux réglementaires, le vivre ensemble se renforce et la négociation pacifique des conflits est possible. Ceci afin d’asseoir la paix, l’unité nationale. Dans la mesure où plusieurs personnes parlent la même langue, partagent les mêmes rites culturels et traditionnels », a indiqué le sous-directeur de l’alphabétisation et de la promotion des langues nationales au Minedub.

Des valeurs inestimables, vecteurs de développement comme dans le cas de la Chine qui s’est développée grâce à son génie linguistique. « Si on promeut nos langues, nous incitons également le développement parce que si on verrouille notre industrie et notre technologie à travers nos langues nationales, tout le monde viendra les apprendre pour découvrir ce qui s’y cache », conclut la même source. Une manières d’encourager les parents et les pouvoirs publics à plus d’initiation aux langues maternelles.

 “Our Local Languages Make Us One”

 How can local languages contribute to sustainable development and the reconstruction of peace and reconciliation in the country?

Local languages are those languages that are spoken by ethnic groups in a country. We have about 250 ethnic groups who speak almost the same number of local languages in the country. We need to understand that, development has various components. It has a political aspect, a socio-economic, and a socio-cultural aspect. By using national languages, we can create awareness within communities and make people understand that they are full members of the country and must participate in the management of the affairs of the country. Nowadays, most activities are carried out in the two official languages that is English and French to acquire knowledge and other know-how concerning, for example, agriculture or fishing activities. So by using our local languages, it will help break the barriers that exist within our society today in which, most young Cameroonians have the English or French unique language they can speak. By introducing the mother tongue in the education system, it will make them become full Cameroonian citizens capable of understanding what is going on in their environment and able to benefit from the knowledge and attitude found within their ethnic community.

Taking about Cameroon, we have about 250 local languages, how can this effectively contribute to the development of the country?

The number of local languages is not a problem. It is rather an opportunity that we have that is to enable each community in Cameroon to benefit from the knowledge and all the philosophy carried out by their languages. So, by using our mother tongue, we enable every Cameroonian irrespective of his ethnic group to get tuned to what is going on in the country and help them take part in nation-building. Local language will help every Cameroonian to participate in nation-building. That is why we are introducing some of these languages into the education system. All languages are equal. No language is either superior or inferior to the other language. Nothing prevents us from promoting all our 250 local languages since they are equal and spoken by native speakers and moreover, used daily in the activities within that community. We have local language committees
on the field which produce didactic materials in local languages so as to enable people to read and write their local languages.

At this particular moment when the country is facing instability, how can these local languages be used to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of peace in the country?

Local languages can contribute to the promotion of peace in the sense that, by depending on our national languages we are going to understand that we are not so different. For example, we have some ethnic groups in the South West and the Littoral Regions who speak different official languages, but similar mother tongue. We have more understanding using mutual languages than using official languages which give us an impression that we are different. Even though many people may speak two different languages which were inherited from colonisation, by speaking our mother tongue, we are going to realise that, we are not that too different. Traditional rulers who better know our culture should be used as mediators to explain to neighbouring communities and show the link that exist between them so as to make them understand that, we are the same people and practice almost the same culture. 

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