This is my second in Why is it series, you can catch up on the earlier post here if you missed anyone.
I have a lot of questions about accent, especially how Nigerians treat people with accents. I’m not talking about a persons understanding and use of English, I am talking of a Yoruba persons ability to pronounce that word as HAH-BILI-TY all the while speaking proper English.
I’ve met a ton of people, including friends and family who have told me that wouldn’t even tolerate a friend if he pronounces ‘bread’ as ‘BREEAD,’ meanwhile they’re pronouncing ‘he’ as ‘E‘. I always ask why and I usually get responses from “why not” to “I just won’t” and asides the fact that I think this all is a little E-PO-CRITI-CAL, it’s just plain confusing to me.
Look at the media and the entertainment industry, a general perception is accent-up and remain jobless and while I can reluctantly stomach it for broadcasters, presenters and journalists, I don’t understand why an actor, acting as a regular Nigerian, will have an accent fit for the Queen of HINGLAND.
After all the Hollywood movies and series you’ve seen, it surely must have dawned on you that a very Australian Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman sound American in American movies or a British Idris Elba, Irish Liam Neeson all sound American when they act as Americans. So why do Nigerians sound like they’re from south side Chicago or Birmingham when acting as Nigerians in Nigerian movies? I’m confused.
Why are we so uncomfortable with the way we sound that the moment someone speaks to us with an extra ‘r’ we instinctively respond with an incomplete, unorganized, castrated and half baked accent to the point that we sometimes sound like idiots.
It’s so bad that in one sentence you will hear a UK, Yoruba and US accent. Jokes asides, there are actually people who went to India and came back sounding like Kim Kardashian.
If accents were so easy to pick why is it that the Nigerians that spend decades in India, Ghana, South African even Ireland come back with accent in tact, but some blessed person will go on two weeks vacation to New York and come back sounding like Bobrisky.
Is it because we feel they’re better than us? Do we feel like our Nigerian accents make us sound considerably less educated or less exposed? I’m in a fix and I need you to EPP me HUNDERSTAND this.