Oyinkansola Omotola

"Legacy Through Language"

Section MS18, Ayanna Blair-Ford

Keywords: archive, moving image

According to the concept of linguistic determinism, a person's way of thinking is shaped by their native language. Therefore, when the native language is not understood, it can impact the transmission of culture and identity.

As a second-generation immigrant of Yoruba descent in the UK, I've noticed significant variation in the level of understanding of the Yoruba language among first and second-generation Nigerians. Yoruba is a rich language with proverbial expressions passed down through generations to impart lessons and social values. These proverbs, along with the 'Oriki'—a praise poem encoding lineage achievements, history, and ancestral identity—are examples of verbal art forms that decline when the language is not passed on.

This project focuses on preserving the Yoruba language, delving into its history and how it's been transmitted over three generations. It also questions the legacy of the Yoruba language in both Nigeria and a Western context. The investigation covers the colonial impact on the language in my grandparents' generation, the choices made by relatives when raising children in a Western country, and the current comprehension of Yoruba in my generation.