ACCENTS: YORUBA VERSUS BRITISH

After staying in one of the Western Nigerian states for almost two decades, I was very excited to go to school in the South. Settling down was easy and in a matter of months, I was ready to commence the journey that would, in the end, pay off with a first degree in biochemistry.

I remember the first few months of my arrival, I would go all the way down on my knees to greet anyone older than me (I still do), and I added ‘aunty’, ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ before the name of anyone who was as much as a day older than me.
However, one of my major challenges was my Yoruba accent. For a former senior prefect and a representative of my secondary school in literary affairs, I could only imagine how I sounded like those times I  represented my school in national debates!
I had what’s popularly called the ‘H’ factor… Making such sentences as “Ha we avin heggs this morin?” (Are we having eggs this morning?) and ending my sentences with ‘jare’ or ‘joor’ and a question such as “did you go there?” would be “you went there abi?”
It took lots of practice to get rid of the ‘H factor’ and a whole lot of practice to remove the accent. Its now hard to guess which Nigerian tribe I belong to by just listening to me (yippee!).

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You know when Nigerians leave motherland for oyibo (foreign) land, especially the land of the Britons and they come home after one year with a different accent? That’s how my friends came home and started pronouncing ‘water’ as ‘wo-ah’ and ‘achieve’ as ‘oh-tchiv’, saying ‘hi’ instead of ‘good morning’, ‘When are you back?’ instead of ‘when will you be back?’, ending every statement with ‘yeah’ (making a statement sound like a question), calling everyone ‘darling’ and talking like they were singing. Of course, their accents never matched Adele’s but it was interesting to hear them speak.

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I’ve always been a lover of British English and am now practicing how to speak it even though I’ve never stepped foot in the UK! Since I have dropped the typical Yoruba accent, it is just right to learn the British way of speaking English abi? So should you try to make conversation with me and I do my own very terrible version of British English, please don’t laugh at me. I will be speaking po-fect in only jes a ma-ah of toime.

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13 thoughts on “ACCENTS: YORUBA VERSUS BRITISH

  1. Okay…this is old but I totally love it! Haha! You write beautifully well and there’s so much candour to your tone. Don’t lose you. May every second smile for you.

    PS: You can keep coming for the ‘on-credit’ accent lessons I have been giving you. Now, I know the intent, I will be kinder. 🙂

    Like

    1. Dear Barlkiss,
      I consciously made efforts while I was speaking. Then had friends who I told to laugh at me whenever I started mispronouncing words.

      It’s so painful when they laugh.

      So now that I have new colleagues who have the h-factor ‘syndrome’ (lol), I just burst into laughter and it seems to work. Takes time but eventually works.

      I apologize for the last reply. Please blame my job that takes so much of my time. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this, I’ve just accepted the fact that everyone has an accent and just accept it
    My own ish is people should make sure their grammar is correct cos what will it profit you to get britico accent and be gbagauning anyhow. Hehehehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG! Pardon me, I couldn’t help but laugh hard at your comment. You are so right about the grammar bit. Glad you enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading your new blog post.

      Liked by 1 person

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