Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Phonetics, Accents & 'Oyinbo'

Phew! I have just stepped out of a meeting and all i can seem to recall were - accents ('oyinbo' as it is popularly referred to in Nigeria) and phonetics. I really got a heavy dose of them! I had to ask a particular guy to repeat himself several times not because i don't understand foreign accents, but he was using it so badly. I have always been a firm believer in self-development especially when it comes to giving speeches, conversations etc. I believe you judge a person by words uttered, nonetheless... i still believe in being R-E-A-L. The most important thing in communication is being clearly understood in the simplest manner by the listener.

Everywhere i go these days, people seem to be have some kind of foreign accent and it's amazing how unoriginal these accents are. A friend of mine who had just gone for a year to the UK for Masters study suddenly came back with a very thick British accent. Don't get me wrong, i'm not saying it's not possible to catch on an accent that quick, but i'm at loss to know if she's genuine about it because she uses it flawlessly. Someone once told me that it is necessary to catch on these foreign accents as they come in quite handy when you're holding conversations with highly-placed individuals in our society and foreign nationals just to pass for a well-educated/traveled person. In fact, someone said "you get to climb up the social ladder fast with an 'oyinbo' accent"

Funnily, not everyone with this foreign accent has actually left the shores of Nigeria, not to talk of Accra (obviously you don't catch the kind of accent i'm referring to here)...My point is simple...speak clear and well- constructed English! For those who have these accents genuinely, by all means go ahead. For those who alternate accents - you catch them saying 'Nice' today and tomorrow they pronounce it 'Noiceee'...stick to one please. I met someone who said he has three accents - the British, Jamaican and French. How he instinctively knows when to use them i can't tell but i do know he goes through unnecessary stress in communication.

For me i'll just keep being REAL! lol


  1. LOL egbon the difference between plantain chips and kpekere na packaging o. all this foreign accents na packaging o. Customer service in 9ja is zero but just flick on the accent and your eyes shall behold wonders. not to talk of the places u can enter with that accent lol but im with you on the consistency. stick to one atleast with the same group of people: 9ja for family, british for the workplace and american for the clubs :)

  2. LOL!!!!! @ "difference between plantain chips and kpekere na packaging o"

    Olori! i feel you jare...i have no issue with the accent thingy as long as you use it perfectly, and by perfectly i mean audibly and easy to understand.

  3. My dear! The wonders a british accent can do.I just finished my masters and i think I DESERVE the british accent! Afterall, I paid a huge amount in fees and all...accent better be a part of what im getting oh. If you spend 2 years in france, i would expect u to come back speaking a bit of french, oh yes! Same with when u go to britain, or america.lol

  4. lol...Abi o, paying that huge sum should come with some incentives. Congratulations on your Masters degree dear! Well well, i don't mind catching on an accent, as long as i don't use it unecessarily...