I recently had an interesting journey; it’s not always about the destination but what happens along the journey. I had already reserved a seat when I booked my ticket; because it was a connecting trip an elderly man was on my seat, apparently he was supposed to be sitting on the aisle. I had wanted to tell him but I noticed his wife was sitting opposite him, so I just smiled and sat in his seat. They were a very happy couple; the way the wife was tapping him to buy crisp reminded me of how little kids always want to pick up everything in the mall. He left a couple of times to either get a sandwich or a cup of tea; meanwhile we kept on passing this amazing scenery of the sea which definitely caught my attention and the man’s wife. The man adjacent to our seat noticed the excitement in our eyes when we saw the sea, somehow in one of the episodes of the elderly man getting up to go get something again the other man asked me to seat with him to get a better view of the sea.
From observing the sea, we got into a conversation that went from Peace studies, Arabian language, Religion, Art, Nature to Molecular Biology. In the course of the conversation, he said he couldn’t understand some of the words I spoke because of my accent and maybe his age is affecting him too (He’s English and probably in his late 60’s or 70’s). He said it in the most polite way, but I was quick to tell him it was Okay, I grew up in Nigeria and I have an accent. After that I slowed down in the way I spoke to him, and we had an amazing conversation although it was a short one because he got off about 30 minutes later.
I’m sure you are wondering why I am giving all that information. I have observed and heard many people complain that their accents or languages are often mocked, hence you see a couple of people trying so hard to change the way they sound if they get to leave their country. It’s amazing to see someone who went on a two weeks’ vacation to Dubai and comes back with an American accent (insert confused smiley). I watched a friend’s YouTube interview and in one of the comments someone said you still have your Nigerian accent, I couldn’t help laughing.
The truth is, everyone has got an accent, even in the UK someone living in Yorkshire sounds different from someone living in London or in Scotland. You should never feel sorry or shy you have an accent; the only issue is when it affects your communication but if you can be understood then that’s fine. Am I saying you shouldn’t aspire to sound different? No but don’t lose your Identity in the process. Nations have experienced violent conflicts because people wanted to be taught in their languages. Your environment and your mother-tongue has a way of influencing the way you speak; pretending to be someone else only robs you of your Identity.
So next time someone says you have an accent; don’t feel offended rather use it as an opportunity to bring up a healthy conversation. It will amaze you to know the stereotype people have; I heard one of the most hilarious stories from my cousin. She told her classmate she was from Nigeria and he responded, you must be poor then. Just thinking of it makes me laugh real hard. Cheers to all those who are upholding their identity and an encouragement to those who are struggling to retain theirs in a globalized world.
Loads of Love
Photo Credit : Google