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Sep 7, 2022

Embracing Our Native Language in Education, Belize @41 Lecture

Erica Aguilar

From colonial thoughts to embracing our native tongue, Erica Aguilar, a lecturer at the University of Belize, asked the audience for their reaction to rules that prevent students from speaking their native language in a classroom setting. Here is a short excerpt from Aguilar’s lecture.


Ms. Erica Aguilar, Lecturer, U.B.

“Only forty percent of who you are is allowed in the classroom? How do you feel shocked? Confused? That forty percent of you is the English language, the little about what you know about the English language? How do you feel? You are not allowed to put on your best linguistic show as a child. This may have happened to most of you, if not all. The percentage for an estimate of course. But, the point is, were you aware of it? Were you aware that you were not allowed to be linguistically whole in the class room? It is human nature to speak and use language, to convey beliefs, culture, values and way of life. There is no limitation to how many language humans can speak and understand. Languages are the very essence of being human, of being you. Every human have the biological makeup, the vocal apparatus, the brain function, to speak and understand languages. To deny people of speaking their native tongue, is to deny them the opportunity to demonstrate their authentic richness, says linguist Benjamin Wharf, because language is the best show man puts on.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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