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I remember when I was coming back to Nigeria from school. People kept telling me not to talk with my Nigerian accent, that I should adopt the American accent so that people look at me with respect. I looked at myself and I felt like that would be living a lie but I wanted to try it out to see how true it could be. Why would anyone prefer to communicate with me nicely just because of an accent? When I got back and used an American accent at the airport, things got done in a calmly fashion. Even the custom officers kept smiling at me and these were the same people giving other Nigerians a hassle. The last time I came back home, it was a “gra-gra” experience. When I needed to buy something in a store and I used my American accent they treated me different. When I used my Nigerian accent it was like an attitude party sometimes. Then I decided that I would not use my American accent (which was fake and tongue twisting at times) but I would use the accent that I originally have because when people from other foreign countries go somewhere you don’t see them faking an accent. But then I realized that a lot of Nigerians have this complex. You meet people who went to University of Lagos (UNILAG) who are sporting the British accent. Some other people have only ever seen the international airport because they went visiting their friends in Ajao Estate and they are also speaking with an American accent. And when I meet people like this, throwing on a fake accent just to make an impression which already smells fake, I wonder to myself, what is wrong with the accent you’ve got? Another reason people told me to keep the accent is so that I get a good job. That is the part that saddens me the most. Although I never got my jobs due to my accent, I am saddened by the professionals who lose the job of their dreams to someone who lacks the knowledge but speaks like a foreigner. Your identity should not be doctored just so you can impress someone because you can only keep up a lie for so long. If people want to hide themselves, they change accents so the pretense can look original. But it is a pretense nonetheless. This brings me back to why anyone has to fake an accent to impress their fellow countrymen. If anyone is friends with you or takes a liking to you due to your fake accent, they will probably lose interest once they find out that there’s no originality to it. I believe that the Nigerian accent in its own can be appealing to most; all you have to do is learn to have good diction and make less grammatical errors. If you really want to impress with your accent, take oral English more seriously. Now it gets worse if your accent is not even believable. That’s the real eyebrow raiser. I believe everyone should take pride in the accent they posses. I work on the radio with my Nigerian accent and I love it. I am Nigerian accent filled and proud! Are you?

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This article was first published on 4th July 2012


Dami is the editor and business developer for she is an On-Air Personality and also an Artist with a focus in sculpting and pottery.

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