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Thursday, November 5, 2020

CULTURAL CRINGE

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CULTURAL CRINGE

Igbo family settings



During an internship I did in a research institute in Lagos, a colleague asked me what my nickname was, “Mazi Spartan” I replied, she thought it was too Igbotic. “Why don’t you just answer Spartan or Mr. Spartan, since Mazi from your explanation more or less means Mr,” she inquired.


At another time, looking for a writing job, a friend introduced me to her sister who I think is one of the best wordsmith I’ve ever met. I needed her help for both tutorship and to secure writing gigs.


After our conversation over the phone, my friend (her younger sister) calls me to share the good news, “XXXX thinks you are okay for small gigs for now and she has agreed to help you fine tune your writing too, but she pointed out that you have an Igbo tongue problem.”


Why do we call ours an Igbo, Yoruba or Calabar tongue but refer to the white race tongue as accents.Why do we identify and appreciate some who go out of their way to learn to speak like the whites and scorn others who speak in their local phonetic dialect.


Is this a racial disorder or is it just some sort of pseudo-elite practice that is endangering our identity and our language?


Trust me, I go through a rather rigorous process to learn to pronounce words correctly. If I choose to speak English, I might as well say the words correctly, but this should not in any way serve as any form of yardstick to measure my intelligence or exposure.


My accent is my identity, it is something that I should adorn like a robe.It distinguishes me from a thousand English speakers; if an Italian, French or even Texan and Scottish accent is appreciated, why will I let myself be convinced that mine is a problem?


My language is not inferior, my culture is not crude, and my traditions are not in any way barbaric.Admittedly, some of it may need modernization; fortunately, its dynamic nature makes room for that.


If you can speak flawless English as a Nigerian with a fair British or American accent but cannot speak in your native dialect fluently, the joke is on you.If we accept that everything about us is wrong, we will be lost in trying to become who we can never be, and we will never be right!


2 comments:

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  2. This is exactly the reason I decided to use my igbo name as my official first name. I want you to know I'm igbo from the word 'go'

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