State Starts Developing Native Language

The Central Equatoria State (CES) has started re-developing its native language, Bari into a comprehensive literature after decades of war destroyed most of what was developed in the early 1980s.

By Waakhe Simon Wudu

JUBA, 06 April 2013 [Gurtong] – The five days workshop that comprises of representatives from all the six Counties in the State, Bari speakers including language professors from other Universities will also look onto advancing the development of the language.

Amos Longa Director for quality promotion and innovation at the State Ministry of Education in his statement during the opening of the five days workshop on the development of the language said that, the goal of the workshop is to develop the Bari language as the State native language that will be taught in the schools and universities.

He said the need to develop the language is also to preserve the identity of the people in the State.

The Bari is being spoken by the dominant tribes in the state; Bari, Kuku, Kakwa, Pojulu, Mundari and Nyangwara of Juba, Kajokeji, Yei, Morobo, Lainya and Terkeka respectively.

John Myhill, Professor of Linguistic at Haifa University, Israel is part of the team developing the language. He said the workshop will look at several parts in the process including grammar, adding the process also aims at promoting the importance of local language.

“The goal of this is to develop the Bari language which can be used for all purposes through high schools, in the universities and in the government,” John reiterated the need for developing the language.

Morbe Tombe, Director for National Language at the State Ministry of Education said a number of literature texts had been developed in the early 1980s though from p1 to p2. However, the decades of the civil war with Khartoum destroyed most of the texts.

He added that, some of the English literatures that were translated into Bari most are not in existence to effect learning, adding also that, the initiative of the process will involve advancing the development of the language into high institutions of learning.

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07/04/2013, 5:21 AM
It is so pleasing that people still have belief that the effects of the long years of war can still be reversed or at least the cultural effects. I find this initiative so relieving because I was wondering where our people and tradition were heading. The predominance of Juba Arabic all over the place really scares me to the bones. I have always known that language is the backbone of all cultures and heritage. Take a stroll around Juba and other major towns and listen to ourselves speak. Exactly like “Black Arabs” with no conscience whatsoever of who our ancestors are. Save for the few people that still take pride in their mother tongue and risk being labelled tribal, the rest of us were getting it mostly wrong. I don’t mean to say that Juba Arabic is bad, no. In fact I am struggling to learn it as well as perfect my mother tongue (effects of growing up in Kampala) I sincerely believe that the only tool for national development that the Arabs may have left us could be the unifying language(Juba Arabic), so unique, so sweet and attractive and as such iconic of South Sudan. It’s the only language we can take advantage of and eliminate the need to ask which tribe your friend belongs too. The win-win situation would be at a point when every South Sudanese citizen can speak their native language, English and Arabic of any form (Juba/classic) etc. With all this said, there is still need to refine the development of the texts and other materials with consideration of all pertinent issues and the slight differences in the different Bari ethnic subgroups to guarantee satisfaction. I beg to end here with one or two last questions to you. Do you speak your native language well? If no what are you doing about it?
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