A Random Post about Language
So one of my pet peeves is the fact that many Nigerians (and especially Igbo Nigerians) refuse to speak their language in public. Being that I attend school in America, this baffles me even more. The ability to speak a language other than English is invaluable in this country because it gives you privacy no matter where you are. At my school most of the Nigerians are Igbo and not only are they Igbo they all seem to be from Anambra (myself included). Imagine the conversations we could have! The lively in-jokes, the nostalgic memory sessions, etc. Yet every single one of my friends absolutely REFUSES to speak Igbo to me.
To understand the extend of the ridiculousness, whenever we’re all sitting together and gisting, I invariably get told “hush! Your voice is too loud, those oyinbos on the other table will hear you!”
Do you know why this statement annoys me? Because if everyone would just agree to gist in Igbo then I wouldn’t have to worry about the oyinbos down the road hearing me.
It absolutely baffles me. The Japanese students all speak Japanese to each other. They don’t care if no one else around understands them. They are confident in speaking their native language because they know that if anyone wants to be included in their conversation, they can simply switch to English. Most of them have been using kids English apps (or 子供 英語 アプリ) since they were little so they are able to speak fluently and won’t let anyone put them down for their talent. Same thing with the French students who are even more adept at ignoring any nearby English students, same thing with the Germans and the Arabs.
Only the Nigerians insist on speaking English, whispering like witches for privacy when they could all have been at ease.
Once when we were waiting in line for something and I saw my friend and went up to him and said “Kedu? I ma ebe anyi ga no?” – I was saying hi and asking if he knew where we were all going to sit – He became very embarrassed and whispered angrily to me not to speak “that bush language to him in front of these white girls”.
I was like O_o.
Other excuses I’ve gotten from my friends are that they are not fluent in Igbo. You know what I told them? I said ‘ how will you ever become fluent if you don’t practice? If we all spoke Igbo to each other, surely after a month our fluency would have jumped up a couple of notches”
But no, Igbo is bush, Igbo will make white people think less of them, Igbo will make black americans think less of them, they don’t want to be associated with ‘that’… what does ‘that’ even mean?
So I’m stuck with 8 Igbo people that I can’t speak Igbo to. Go figure.
You know what really annoys me though? You will find Igbo people trying to suck up to these same Japanese, French, and German students, proudly speaking to them in their broken French while the French kids look on in amusement. I have never encountered a single international student that was even remotely interested in learning a word of any of the African students’ languages, yet all the African students can’t wait to show off the five new words they’ve learned in Chinese or whatever while the real Chinese students laugh at them.
Yeah I know, this is a very badly written rant but I’m high on Halloween candy so whatever.
On the flip side btw, I’ve noticed that watching so much Inuyasha is making me understand Japanese whether I’m willing to or not.
I woke up yesterday and realised that I somehow magically and miraculously am beginning to understand what is happening in the cartoon even when I’m not looking at the screen.
So far I understand the following words
Neko – Cat
Inu – Dog
Ano – But
Daijobu? – Are you alright
Kaze – Wind
Kaze no Kizu – Wind Scar
Arigato – Thank you
Sayo nara – Good bye
Aniki – Big Brother
Otouto -Little Brother
Chichi-ue – Honored Father
Haha-ue – Honored Mother
Baka – Fool/Idiot
Baka na koto o – Don’t say foolish things
Otou-san – Daddy
Okaa-san – Mommy
Onee-we/san – Sister
Fuujin no Mai – Dance of the Dragon
Bakuryuha – Backlash Wave
Kaza Na – Wind Tunnel
Houshi – Monk
Taijiya – Demon slayer
Youkai – Demon
Hanyou – Half Demon
Ningen – Human being
Saimyosho – Naraku’s poison insects
Sugoi – Amazing
Katana – Sword
Osuwari – Sit
And many more. It is very strange. It’s like watching this series suddenly filled my head with all this extra information.
Anyway that’s my random language post. Very disorganized but hey, Kit Kat makes you high.