Bamporiki expressed the concern Friday, February 21, on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day which was celebrated in Kirehe District.
During the event, people from Kirehe District who speak Ururashi, a branch of Kinyarwanda, had time to showcase their language, through conversations, dances, and songs.
In Ururashi, for one to say, “Amakuru ki?” one says, “Agandi shi?”
“Waruga hi?” stands for “Uvuye he?”
“Munuriwe,” stands for “Muryoherwe.”
“Murayire gi,” is for “Waramutse.”
Ururashi relates closely to Kinyankole as many of their phonetics sound alike. The people of Kirehe claim that Ururashi is on its edge because children no longer speak it but instead learn and speak Kinyarwanda.
Children who took speeches criticized some of their parents who mix Kinyarwanda with some other words in foreign languages, making some Kinyarwanda words to be forgotten. Such words include, “Masenge,” “Mwishywa,” “Nyokorume,” and “Nyinawabo,” all of which are replaced by such foreign language words as “Cousin,” “Uncle,” and “Tantine.”
Bamporiki took that opportunity and told parents that in speaking foreign languages they hinder their children’s exposure to Kinyarwanda terms.
He added that beside the parents who encourage foreign languages at home, there are some schools that favor the use of only foreign languages for their students.
“There are schools that fall into the trap of restricting their students from speaking Kinyarwanda as a way of encouraging their mastery of foreign languages. Rwandan children have no problem. If they were to be given enough time, they would learn well Kinyarwanda. There are some families in which children speak a language their parents don’t know or vice versa. It is a tragedy, that time might come when you might need to pass something down to your children and they will miss it because they couldn’t tell what you meant.”
Bamporiki noted that Kinyarwanda has a problem of slangs that are introduced into the language by public speakers who influence their audiences to use them.
“It is a challenge that there are many slangs being introduced into Kinyarwanda where we sometimes give a word that already existed a different meaning, leaving the former official meaning to die. We need to fight this with all our might.”
He said that the best way to overcome the challenge is for all leaders and public speakers to use a good Kinyarwanda without mixing it with foreign words whenever they address the public.
The Chairperson for the Rwanda Academy For Language and Culture, Sr Mukabacondo Therese said that Kinyarwanda is a crucial resource to the country as it brings all Rwandans together. She asked those who teach Kinyarwanda to put much effort into its good mastery by learners before they introduce to them other languages.
Nyiramatabaro Mariana, 67, one of the elders who speak Ururashi told IGIHE that a lot of effort is needed in protecting Kinyarwanda and all its branches as all of them are being weakened by development.
Rwanda celebrated this year’s International Mother Language Day for the 17th time under the theme: “Let’s use a proper Kinyarwanda.”