Hey my lovelies!!! It's Friday again *dances etighi*. Also, the official countdown to my POP has begun *whew*
Lingua Franca simply put, means an official international language. An international language to the best of my knowledge, is the widely recognized and spoken language within a nation/country and abroad. Which leads me to the question, What is Nigeria’s Lingua Franca?
Growing up, I was told that Nigeria is an Anglophone country which means an English-speaking country. Therefore, Nigeria is an English-speaking country. I was brought up by a grammarian, so I guess that probably drove that into my little head.
Then, I get into the world, and I feel that somewhere along the line, I lost the memo stating that the country’s Lingua Franca was your mother tongue. Everywhere you go, like MTN, there’s someone bombarding you with greetings and questions in their mother tongue, and then I’m like, “Huh? Where did I go wrong?”
Don’t get me wrong o! I’m all for ethnicity and rich cultural heritage. I can speak one Nigerian language (Yoruba) fluently and I can speak another ( Igbo) to save my life. But it doesn’t mean I’d see a stranger and start speaking Yoruba or Igbo to them, I mean, that would be outright rude joor.
There are some people you just see and can tell where they’re from without asking. But for someone like me, I can swear I don’t wear my culture on my sleeves and I kinda love it when people fall over themselves trying to guess where I’m from *smirks*. I’d even advice you approach with the popular pidgin English; at least you won’t be offending anyone.
Being the Gulliver that I am, homes and schools in the West, South-South and North-Central, I happen to know firsthand how irritating this whole ethnicity thing is. First, I had to learn Yoruba so I could decipher what my classmates were saying (especially so I could know when they insulted me). Then a bit of Benin to be able to haggle prices in the market with those hostile Benin women. Now, living in the Igbo speaking part of the South-South, my little Igbo is being put to use.
I have however, come to the conclusion that Igbo speaking Nigerians, elites and peasants; literates and illiterates, all alike, didn’t get the memo stating English as our Lingua Franca. Most Igbo people, especially the men, would just see you and start blowing Igbo like no man biz. For instance, one day at the park, I sighted a hunk and I was all “hot dude alert”. Then he walks up to me and next thing, “Nne!! Ke kwanu?” My heart broke into tiny pieces and I ignored him hoping he’d go away. “Ki bu afa? E bu amaka o! Bebe bu very beautiful!” I just hissed and walked away. Now to someone looking on, I was the total rude bitch, but for God’s sakes, what if I had anger management issues and I thought he was raining curses on me cos I didn’t understand what he was saying and I stabbed him or something (abeg o na assumption I dey o!).
I attended a wedding in Aba, the home of them Igbo, recently. It was like nobody there could speak English or pidgin. I cant remember how many times I had to cut someone short with “Sorry, I don’t understand or speak Igbo.” Then they’d go “oh!” and the convo would end and in my head I was wondering why they couldn’t continue the convo in pidgin maybe. The worst part was at the reception when the bridal party went to get food at the buffet stand. Typical me, I didn’t roll with the exclusively Igbo speaking girls, we wouldn’t have clicked. At the stand, we held our plates out to be served and I told the woman we wanted to get our food before the couple would enter. The woman got hysterical and covered all the plates “una don collect food before o, make una shift make others see food chop.” I was surprised and embarrassed at the same time, so to avoid further insults, we left the line. Next thing, the Igbo speaking members of the train walked up to the woman and blew tons of Igbo, then she just heaped their plates with the goodness of the wedding. I was all shades of anger and disgust sha, smoke came out from my ears sef.
So I wonder, after all the One Nigeria chants, even for food matters people get tribalistic. So what if I cant speak Igbo? I spoke pidgin English na. I even prefer people speaking pidgin at least it’ll save my ears from getting filled with the gbagaun most people speak as English.
I apologize in advance to anyone who finds the contents of this post insulting, that wasn’t my intention. But then again, it’s just The Way Esther Sees It.
Ciao lovelies!!!!! Muah!!!!