CELEBRATING ACCERELATED DEVELOPMENT VIA THE MOTHERTONGUE: THE CASE OF VERNACULAR MASS MEDIA IN KENYA

Kiliku M. Patrick

Abstract


There exists abundant literature that confirms the importance of Mother tongues in their speaker’s lives in general and development in particular (Djite 2008, Kiliku 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, Kembo 1994, 1996). In Africa, specifically, research is awash on how these languages are crucial in any meaningful development (Bamgbose 2004, 2011, Batibo 2005, 2015, Djite 1993). Further, this research points to the argument, that I agree with, that the ‘African stunted development’ is, in fact, partly a consequence of the poor management (defined in its broadest terms) of these languages. Indeed, some scholars are more candid in their position that Africa will only truly develop when its indigenous Mother tongues will be allowed to play their rightful part in the core lives of the their speakers viz Education, Health, literacy, governance, media and communication, public participation and identity reproduction Alidou, et al 2006, Heugh 2006, Kamwendo 2009, SIL International 2008, Olwabi 2013). Undoubtedly, there are evident gains in the use of these languages, though relatively in different domains and areas with varying degrees of success and accompanying challenges. One of these areas is the media (Orao 2008, Siangu et al 2014). On the heels of the theme of this conference, this paper argues that Kenyan media that uses MTs has in the last two decades achieved developments worth celebration and encouragement. These developments are, argued as real and meaningful, are evident in enhancement in information dissemination, user freedoms, education and literacy, governance, public participation and exponential growth of local music and art industry. This has been an almost single achievement of the Kenyan Local Language FM Radio Stations. This part of the media is the pivot of this discussion.

 

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Keywords


vernacular mass media, Kenyan local language FM radio stations, development, Mother tongue, African languages, language management

References


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