I once encountered a scenario where some fellow Nigerians where joining a Ghanaian to run down Nigerian’s way of speaking. They were busy praising the “Ghanaian English” pronunciation with its nauseating emphasis on words where the English native speakers themselves had never placed emphasis. They were praising Ghanaian pronunciation as superior to the Nigerian English pronunciation and happily noting that the Ghanaians speak the proper Queen’s English while Nigerians do not.
My reaction was instant and uncalculated. It was some worth violent -for which I apologized later. My reaction was like that of a person whose culture had been insulted and abused- more so by his own “tribesmen”. I tried to recollect why I was so violent with my reaction knowing fully well that for the past 35 years I have heard the same praises of the Ghanaian English over and above the Nigerian English and even the English English! Then I tried to justify myself by putting down the reason for my anger.
I grew up in the ‘70s; a time when
However, I started my rebellion with “Ghanaianized” phonetics after I made my distinction in English and was one of the three students out of 275 students who passed WAEC’s “oral English” in my class for that year in the school. Then I started telling myself, in retrospect, Mr. Appiajey was wrong; My Koffi was never right; Mr Archipong must have been wrong; Mr. Osei Tutu will ever die in ignorance because my English was not as bad as they said to me and indeed everyone else in our school!
With that, I learnt an important lesson; it is not right to laugh at the other person and as such hardly will one ever be caught saying that someone eles’s culture, religion or style of projecting an idiosyncrasy is superior or inferior! Everyone is unique in his or her own peculiarity.
My fellow Nigerians, the psychological trauma of repeatedly telling you your culture is not good enough by your own half brother is really a torture. It is amazing how much these teaching by Ghanaians are still lingering in
All in all, the little emotion in this piece is not targeted at anyone or least of all, to commence racial prejudice against the other race. My target is the unconscious structure which places someone else’s manner of diction and phonetics over and above mine! I am a Nigerian, a Yoruba man, and an Ijebu breed. I will surely pronounce English as though I taste “Ebiripo or Ikokore” and I will not offer any apologies to anyone least of all the queen!
So dear readers, I hope you can understand if one day someone from your race in the face of other nationals agrees that you are, because of your skin/culture/intelligence or personal styles, inferior! I can see you shouting that… “I beg your pardon- take that back or I smash your face!”