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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why do so many people think Nigerians cannot speak English?

This post should be directed at Americans, but when I reflect on this topic, many non-Americans also have issues with understanding that Nigerians speak English as well (such as Germans, Koreans, Indians, and Brits).

Ok, so here's why I bring this up.  A friend of mine who's Indian (India Indian) American (born in the states and grew up in NY) and works with lots of Nigerians asked me about a friend who's Nigerian and asked if he can speak English.  I was like, "yes, of course.  English is the national language of Nigeria." She was like, 'yeah, but where he grew up, do they speak English?"  I was like, "yes, I have never even heard him speak in Yoruba come to think of it, I'm not even sure he can."

I was absolutely flabbergasted, like for real.  I mean, ok, I'm from a very small town in Minnesota, so I get that someone from my hometown or somewhere similar might think something so ridiculous, or even a White person from a city, okay, I'll let it slide, there are many ignorant people out there.  But she is Indian, who's boss is a Yoruba Nigerian man, whom she's friends with, so like, wtf, like, really?  I was appalled and embarrassed for her.

Nigeria is not francophone Africa.  I am pretty sure she knows this.  Nigeria had the brain drain in the 70's and 80's and therefore many of my professors at my university were Nigerians.  Nigerians are smart.  They are spread throughout the world in many different occupations and they all speak English, most not even with a strong accent, not nearly as strong as the average Indian, if I might add.  I am not Nigerian, not by birth anyway, and not technically anyway, but I do love Nigeria for all it's shortcomings, I do love this country and consider it my second home and I am offended when people do not think that Nigerians can speak English.

When I lived in Yola, yes, most people do not speak English, they speak Hausa, Fulfulde and other languages, but some did speak English.  I know that probably got even better as the University became larger, but that is the North and most Americans are unlikely to encounter a Northern Nigerian person in their lifetime, let alone one that doesn't speak English, unless they happen to find themselves in Nigeria, and at that point, they will know that Nigerians do speak English.

I mean, hello.  All those Princes that email you everyday claiming to have millions of dollars that they want to send to you write to you in English, abi???  lol.

Anyways, that's my rant for tonight.  I am always shocked by the ignorance of this world.  But then again, I had to google the meaning of chivalry a few days ago because I honestly did not know the actual definition.  But at least I admitted I didn't know it!

I digress. 

2 comments:

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