Sunday, February 15, 2015


Niece follows Nick and brought his work to my attention.  Some of you know why an engineer would write like this.  Many of us are not engineers and we are miserable.  That is one reason we go on FB and abuse anyone in sight.

The Relevance of English (Part 1)
Is mastery of the English language important? Nasser Ssebagala says it is not. He says the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese & the Japanese have thrived without the language. No student of world history will miss the inappropriateness of the cases cited by Sseya. Instead of China and Japan, he should talk about India - that's closer to home. None of the countries he mentions has ever even remotely considered the idea of adopting English as a national language. The need for such adoption has never arisen for them.
In our case, adopting English isn't merely something we have considered, but something we have done. And with sound reason too. It's one of the most pragmatic choices we have ever made as a country. We had to have a national language, and in a country of tens of tribes, each with its own indigenous language, it's easier to get everybody to adopt a language from outside the borders than to get everybody to adopt one of the local languages. Our tribal rivalries outweigh our pan-African solidarity, & it's no use denying this.
But there was more to the pragmatism of selecting English as our national language. The English language and our education are inextricably intertwined at the roots. Who was going to translate the entirety of the body of knowledge into local languages? With Bible translation, a laudable effort was made, but even to this day, there are some tribes, for instance the Bagisu, who don't have a Bible in their local language. Now if the translation of one book, the Bible, has proved such a challenge that it has taken several decades, how long would it take to translate the entire body of knowledge? How much would it cost? Do we even have the expertise? The pragmatic thing was to adopt English as the language of instruction in schools. Incidentally, the necessary use of English in Education enabled the language to acquire a superior status, which made it an easy sell to the citizenry as a national language.

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