Home > Comment, Opinion > What is English to me?

What is English to me?

The following is a guest blog post by Tesfaye Ejigu, an English teacher at Future Talent International Academy. His email address is tesfayeejigu@yahoo.com.

English is a language spoken in England. The latter being the island lived in by the British, has infected the world with English and the vices. Modern education has already taken the fair share of the blame for bringing English up here. Here, where it got into a fight neck-to-neck with the well developed Amharic. The fight goes on till date with Amharic resisting but Oromepha giving in. Thus the question what is English to me?
I am Ethiopian not English. I am not that man who the English flatter for reporting an assignment in a pidgin. I am not he who put stones over stones all over the town intending development. Why you people want me back in the institute, when I’m more of a social critique, wonders me. Even if you were really interested, you would make hey while the sun shines. Watch out! You are getting in my way!
Ethiopia gave us distinct culture embroidered with an exotic language. The language has a number and alphabet of its own. It’s rich in its various uses and dialects. Born from Geez with its brother [Tigrigna] it still fights against the English invasion. The English know nothing about parenthood. It has no known father and hence no respect, unlike the French, to elders. So what has it got to do with my culture? Which of my culture expresses in English? It remained alien to the community.
But think of the time spent digging up deep into the exotic English. Look at the resources spent on studying the abstractions of the English which left all the visible, simple-to-handle, problems complicated. This being one major reason modern education failed to pursue local-problem-solving strategy; Ethiopia should do away with decade long naivety. How long do we have to send our dynamic children away, after we have trained them with all our might, into the vicious English world? How on earth do we send our children to slavery into exile? How long?
Ever since history the English stood against Ethiopian interests; leave aside the scanty British aid. Ethiopia has never been mentioned as a good ally but a ladder to the British expansionist greed. For imposing an undeniable resistance to the English cultural invasion, if not political, Ethiopia vexed the British. Hence, they discredit Ethiopia in any possible way; inclusive of their world giant media. Even a documentary on the death of Mohammed Ali [an Indian photo journalist] was dragged down by a British to the old complex and dream of cultural, political or linguistic superiority. However, it remains a dream.
So, you guys out there; who want me back in the English please answer me! Is it the English or the society [Sociology, politics, philosophy] that is more important? What would I research on afterwards, if not on the complex social problems in Ethiopia? Will I research on English? Ethiopian education must turn its face inwards to save the citizen from the persistent exploitation. Ethiopia’s education policy must be redesigned to address local problems. Western education only solves Western problems and thus indulges the British. Any ways I want to be happy! I want to live for myself, not for you or the English. I lead a purposeful life.

Categories: Comment, Opinion
  1. b.
    June 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Reblogged this on Betyie und kommentierte:
    Ein Text, der die “mentale Kolonialisierung” Äthiopiens durch den Gebrauch der englischen Sprache anprangert – ausgesprochen lesenswert!

  2. June 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

    “has infected the world with English and the vices”. Oh my. How could Addis journal publish such silly and hateful stuff?

  3. Don
    June 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    what is this junk?

    The guy can’t even write in English properly, there’s a grammar mistake every two sentences. Is he really an English teacher or some guy from the street who likes to think of himself as an English teacher?

    Quote: “English has no known father and hence no respect, unlike the French, to elders”.

    Do us a favour and explain this crap properly. Do you mean linguistically? Socially? Or just anally?(probably the last)

  4. Alem
    June 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Do you mind keeping your blog clean? I just don’t think Don’s comment is appropriate here. Thanks

  5. goha
    June 26, 2012 at 1:34 am

    This will be a non issue in about 20 years. your cell phone probably speak all these languages and some. Those Amharic idioms man, the English language has nothing that come even close.

  6. Ungi
    June 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    He has taken the case to the extreme but he has got a point, “Ethiopian education must turn its face inwards to save the citizen from the persistent exploitation.” Indeed!

  7. Mimi
    June 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Arefe, I’m a huge fan of your blog. But please, next time you need a guest writer, could you please get someone that will not murder the English language? Thank you 🙂

  8. John
    July 5, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Come on, Tesfaye. Speaking English is an important skill for a job, as well as something very useful in our lives. It has become a communication tool around the world, especially for business, economics, research, technology and the Internet. Nowadays, globalization is based on two supports: the new technologies and the English language. That is why speaking English is so necessary for many professional activities, especially in multinational companies, no matter what country in the world they operate at. Another important aspect is how the English can be present in our lives, in our spare time. We should take into account that: Over 80 percent of web sites are written in English, including forums, blogs, chat rooms and social networking. The main cultural products that are distributed worldwide have English as their original language: movies, TV series, songs, computer games, specific magazines, etc. So , all you need to do is to embrace it. Plus, you are an English teacher.

    • my lord
      September 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      so, true. the only tongue stronger than someone who speaks their native tongue is someone who speaks their native tongue and foreign tongue(“especially English, frustrating as it is.”)

  9. Solo
    July 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Perhaps to make a point in regards to English, it would help if the author would write in proper English himself. How can he profess his disdain for English when he clearly has a very poor command of the language? The grammar is exceedingly poor, and I seriously doubt that this gentleman is an English teacher (if he is, then that is very alarming).

  10. cee
    July 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Why ramble about English and its negatives while you can barely express yourself in it? I pity the young minds the author has to infect with such grammer.

  11. Laura Hulscher
    July 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    As an American of European descent I don’t have much insight on this discussion, but I felt the author’s use of English was quite intriguing and beautiful in spite of the formal flaws and dogmatism of his views. Is he attempting to shape English around the ideas that come more naturally in his native language? (“the abstractions of the English which left all the visible, simple-to-handle, problems complicated.”)To me, this speaks volumes about the way any language is shaped around what its speakers know, and how it is always better at describing concepts embedded in the history of its culture of origin; over many generations, a degree of refinement happens that should express the inner life of a population very closely! As English is learned by and used by non-native speakers, it may change them but is also changed by them. While I am wary of cultural nationalism, I do worry that the pervasive spread of English puts non-anglo cultures, especially those without a long history of cultural exchange, at a disadvantage in terms of expression.

  12. tesfaye the author
    August 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    This is a good comment free from logical fallacies. Think of someone going to the West for a Phd in the Amharic language or for a Phd in Ethiopian history.

  13. Bings
    February 11, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Why you hate English so much??wake up man you are young and have many things to worry about if you are an Ethiopian. I think In my opinion you wrote this blog to know how your English efficiency is. Well it is poor. Now get up and get back to work you English teacher.

  14. Elias
    February 20, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I am in a hurry to be enthuasitic of Tesfaye Ejigu.He is not afraid of god that is why he does not belive in grammer in a Nietzsceian way!English language in Ethiopia is simply a mode of communication at this particluar point in time,not a powerful tool until it replaced Amharic as an official language, in the not too far future. It is all about how you communicate and use the words.You have enough time to hone your English into near perfection. Good job.

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