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Language is a special gift from God, it is a gift that is passed on from one generation to another, it is a gift that unites people together. According to popular linguistic teacher, language is like that beautiful quill feather that is attached by the two sides of a German bird, without it the bird cannot fly. Language is beautiful, and that beauty radiates when people communicate with each other.
In a village near the famous Obudu cattle ranch, surrounded by a thick forest of Cross River, there stand a very unique community know as “Ubang” the land of mystery. As a small community with rich history, an historical achievements that speak a lot of good about her. The land of Ubang has intrigued the eyes of many with her rich culture and traditions.
Picture showing the houses in Old village of Ubang
In Ubang, men and women speak different languages, and how they began that incredible culture remains a mystery not only to people around Ubang, but also the indigent people of the village too. Whenever they try to explain how they managed to achieved that, they usually end up saying that it is a special gift from God.
Picture showing the rich culture of people of Ubang
If the eyes can see clearly, it will be able to see that truly, that feat is a blessing from God, because in a normal circumstances, it is not likely to achieve that kind of feat by mere practice or skill. The males in the village call yam “Itong” while the females call it “Irui”. The word tree is “kitchi” for males and “Okweng” for females, and many others. However, it is not exactly clear what proportion of the words are different between the two languages, and there is no sequence such as whether the words that are commonly used are related or linked to traditional beliefs or roles of men and women in the community.Pictures of Children demonstrating the bilingual ability of Ubang
One remarkable feature about their languages is that when a child is born, whether a boy or a girl, they will speak the language of the female until they reach the age of 10 years, the people of Ubang regard the age as the age of “maturity and wisdom”, thus abiding by it strictly. By that age, it is expected that the male must have gained much knowledge so that they will start speaking the language of men.
When a boy of above 10 years still speaks the female language, it is regarded as “abnormality”, and therefore, the boy must undergo a series of rehabilitation in order to return to his normal senses. It is also termed an act of “stupidity” for a matured Ubang man to speak the language meant for women, such stupidity is highly condemned in the community.
Series of attempts have been made in the past, in order to ascertain the origin of the two languages. One of the elders in the community said that the origin of their dual language ability started right from the beginning of the world, that is right from the time of Adam and Eve. “God created Adam and Eve and they were Ubang people, God’s plan was to give each of them different languages, but after creating the two languages for the people of Ubang, he realized there were not enough languages to go round the whole tribe in the world, so he stopped, that’s why Ubang is the only community that has the benefit of two languages.
Beautiful features of the land of Ubang
The dual language ability of the people of Ubang is a rare ability, and may not be found anywhere else in the world. It is therefore a very special blessing to people in the community, it is a blessing that they should be proud of, a blessing that must be immortalised.
If the people of Ubang allow the language to fade away, then they should be ready to pay the consequences that comes with it, because the language was handed down to them by their forefathers. Nigeria is rich in culture, cross river is rich in culture, therefore we should appreciate the wonderful knowledge we have gained today.
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