I have noticed lately that whenever i write on this blog, 1/4 of it is in pidgin english. First of all, that's due to me assuming 95% of my readers are nigerians who understand pidgin english, secondly it really depends on my mood. On my previous 3 deleted blogs (RIP), i hardly ever wrote in pidgin. I'm not sure what happened, but i guess i no longer have to deal with being depressed and i'm a much happier and light hearted person. I doubt anyone who used to read my other blogs would believe it was the same person.
So i was chatting with my first "love" (ewwww... i can't believe i wrote that. I think i threw up a lttle in my mouth) today. We started dating when i was 15 and the relationship lasted for a little more than 2 yrs. That's my longest relationship to date. Anyway, we were chatting and he said something like he no longer speaks pidgin english (he never used to speak it back then anyway, so i don't know what he was yapping about). I asked him what was wrong with speaking Pidgin English, and he was like u know, after u speak it for a while, it starts affecting ur English. WHAT?!!!! Now i see y my friends thot he was a pretentious bastard.
Well, given the fact that i can't speak any other nigerian language fluently (....at all) thanks to my darling, wonderful parents, especially my mother who can speak 7 languages fluently...... i have fully embraced pidgin english as my own. I don't care that it is not recognized by most nigerians as an official language. Tell that to my left toe. If it wasn't a language, how come non-nigerians can't understand nigerian pidgin english (yes, i know other african countries have their own pidgin). I have been speaking pidgin English since i could talk. I think i learned pidgin b4 i even learned how to speak english cos that's what we speak with my mom. My dad hates that, but he doesn't count in this issue cos he was never around while we were growing up. I don't think it has affected my English at all. I happened to attend two snotty secondary schools and it was razz to speak pidgin. I mean, people didn't even attempt to speak it, so it wasn't an issue. I remember in SS3 when i said something to my friends in pidgin english in school, a lot of them were shocked that i could speak pidgin. That's the first time someone said to me "you don't look like someone who can speak pidgin". B4 then i didn't know that people who could speak pidgin had a certain look. I have heard that statement many more times since then but i have since stopped wondering how people who speak pidgin english look.
I had friends who as at SS3 (12th grade to u americanas) did not even understand pidgin English, talk less of speak it. One of the things i love about the nigerian university system/culture is that it is cool to speak pidgin. I don't care how boti (ajebutter, aso, assorted) u r, by the time u graduate from uni. u will not only understand pidgin, u will also speak it. I'm still shocked whenever i call one of my bestie's from sec sch and she speaks pidgin. This is someone that could not speak it at all when i left naija. I used to beg her to stop whenever she would attempt cos she sounded so bad. Now she's a fluent speaker of pidgin thanks to uni. I'm so proud of her. Another of my fellow jambite, you would never hear this dude utter a word in pidgin when we first got into school. By the time he was in final year, whenever i would call it would be hard for me to believe this was the same person. The dude was rapping pidgin.
I think the stigma people used to have (or still have) with pidgin is that it was a language for the illiterate or uneducated pple. You all know how hard we try to be westernized/american/janded back home. I remember back then when one of my classmates called my house and heard my mom speaking pidgin in the background, she asked me if that was the maid, as she could not imagine it being anyone else. Of course, i asked her if she was crazy..... i no dey play like that. Na my mama she dey call house help?! I think back then i was the only one of my friends whose family spoke pidgin. I was cool then, i'm still cool now. Thank u very much! Na them sabi. My brother's friends used to tease him about it, and it got to a point where the dude refused to speak pidgin anymore. Ok, no problem.... speak english, we do dey answer u for pidgin. OMG, i'm laughing so hard remembering this cos, something happened that made him give up that nonsense. So the dude had an appendectomy. After he was wheeled out of surgery, they wheeled him down the corridor past where i was, so i followed behind. All the while, my brother is moaning and groaning about the pain. He's not fully awake at this point oh, and to this day he cannot recall. Guess which language he was doing the moaning and groaning in? You guessed right..... PIDGIN. I want to die from laughing right now. I'm definitely going to remind him when he gets home tonight.
He was like "e dey pain......" The nurse would ask him back "e dey pain?" It was so funny, cos prior to that my brother had completely boycotted pidgin english for months. You can bet ur life that i told my other siblings and he didn't hear the last of it for a long long time. After that incident, the boy said fuck it, and went back to his roots. Oh lord. I love my brother, he's quite a character. I love speaking my pidgin english jooh! Nothing do me. These days whenever i hang out with my friends that's what we speak. The conversation just seems to flow better and it doesn't hurt that we can talk about whatever without pple understanding us. Trust me that was never the case when we were younger, but for some reason now that we are older, we tend to speak pidgin more. It's funny how friends i had in naija that i never spoke a word of pidgin to, now when we talk all we speak is pidgin. I wonder what happened.
I don't think it has affected my English at all both written or spoken, although i will admit that there was one time when i was arguing with my jamo ex about something i said, and he said it wasn't correct. I insisted that it was, only for me to get home and realize i had said it the way i would say it if i was speaking pidgin. Oh well. But, i give myself kudos for being the best in my Eng 1101 and 1102 classes. I took those classes less than a year of me being here. So this is concrete evidence that there's hope for my pidgin english lovers out there. It doesn't affect ur english, unless u were bad in english to begin with. Then pls i beg u, find something else to blame.
By the way, in case u guys were wondering why my mother who can speak 7 languages refused to teach her kids even one, let me tell u. You know how they say when two elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers, that's what happened. So my parents are from 2 different tribes. My two older sisters who are a decade older than the rest of us grew up speaking igbo. They even went to primary school in onitsha where back then (i don't know about now) kids were taught in igbo. My dad was not around for most of these years. Years later he comes back to naija and decrees that there should be no more igbo speaking in the house and insisted that my mom should teach his language to the kids. My mom can speak his language very fluently cos she went to live with his mother who can't speak english after they got married. So she had to learn the language in order to communicate. She picks up languages so easily, i'm jealous. Anyway, my mom got mad and in order to get back at my father (bad decision if u ask me) she decided that she would not speak her igbo or his Edo to her kids. If my dad wanted us to speak his language then he would have to teach us. Well, he wasn't around to teach us. Me and my younger siblings weren't even born when this happened, but that's how we ended up a naija languageless household. My older sisters eventually forgot how to speak igbo and we all ended up rolling in pidgin. My mom regrets it now though, but it's too late. She tried teaching us my dad's language when we were still in primary school, but it never took. Although, now i can understand a little bit, but someone could probably sell me in that language while i'm standing right there and i wouldn't know. As thing with igbo, i can understand a little bit.
Did i just sit here and type a whole post on pidgin english? Who said i don't have issues. For all those who were wondering, i took ur advice and i have been MR. STINGLESS for 3 days now. I feel so much better. More of that later and my naija toasters in Nigeria. I don't believe those guys. I no know wetin dey see for my body. They haven't seen me in six year oh! Somebody help me understand.
Tonto Dike's Selah Post
25 minutes ago