I saw my My Fair Lady over the weekend and It inspired my first post on “This is Oyiboland” series; Accents!
Some Nigerians coming to the UK or those visiting or already living here spend so much time and effort twisting their tongues and vocal chords to sound more English than the English. Then you come here and find out that half of the people you meet have the most atrocious local accents. The joke is on you, lol!
If you are like me, you probably wonder like Professor Higgins … Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?”
Stand corrected: The highly praised posh English accent we usually admire on the BBC news popularly known as the Queen’s English is not spoken everywhere. Welcome to the 35 regional dialects/accents one can find in England.
If you are lucky to be in the South, London (not East London though), Oxford, you would be surrounded by 'regular' accented English speakers because the Queen's accent originated from there. But you should also note that where you were educated determines how posh one sounds. Brits who attended public schools sound more posh than those who went to the local comprehensive. Also the more blue your blood is, the posh-er you’ll sound.
But as you move North, your ears will become assaulted by accents with unpleasant twangs that even you with your broad African accent would sneer at. And the bullets? (grammatical errors) you would think you are in the grammar war zone.
Watching local stations becomes a futile exercise cause its unlikely you'll understand what is being said. Shopping - a comedy of errors trying to understand and make yourself be understood. Interestingly those regional (I have to add ‘unschooled’) ones are the most impatient when it comes to listening and understanding you and your accent. Imagine that?!
In recent times, in the spirit of integration and erosion of class distinction, other accents have now become accepted in the mainstream especially in media like the BBC. E.g. Cockney, Brummie, Welsh and other accents influenced by them. Even celebrity sportsmen and stand up comedians wear their regional accents like a badge of honor nowadays. Love them or hate them…..
So for all ye British wannabes, it might just do you good to stick to your unique and lovely indigenous accent and be proud of it.
This guy speaking English in 24 accents could help you understand what I am saying…the Nigerian accent was last…was that an Ibo man’s accent?