Today let’s talk about a little something that we all see or do when we go abroad.
The Change of Accent
This “art form” goes by many different names:
a) Wenging or wanging
b) Butchering/murdering the English language
c) Pretending/ Being fake
d) Becoming “bougei like that”
But why does is it that the way in which we pronounce words all of a sudden changes when we move to a foreign nation?
The reasons I think it happens, which have probably been discussed heavily in private conversation, are:
2) Inferiority complex.
Very few Africans are in doubt that many of us do have inferiority complexes when it comes to white people and Westerners.
Sure, it varies in degree, character and expression but a lot of us kinda know that its there.
However, there are those of us who still vehemently hold on to the belief that Africans do not think of themselves in any way shape or form as inferior to our Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Western and other cousins in this human race.
To prove my point, journey with me as I go through a mental exercise. Let’s call it, “Why doesn’t……”
Our accent change when we go to:
1) Other African countries
2) Meet with people from other tribes in Africa
Seriously, some of us can spend our time around other African people from other countries all our lives and our accent will never change.
I actually have a friend who the moment they landed here, immediately abandoned Kiswahili (why do people call it Swahili, it’s Kiswahili, folks, Ki-swahili) and her native tongue and until this day spends most of her time butchering the English language, check out the silly audio below for an imitation of “her linguistic skills”.
On the other side, people close to me have considered taking lessons with an expert on how to adapt their accent to the what I lovingly call, the Down Under Drawl.
I will move into the second point, marketing, by continuing with the game of
Why Doesn’t, Part two
Why doesn’t our accent change when we go to:
2) Oriental Asia
I have met quite a few people who went to study in India and none of their accents changed a lick. I have met other folks who have studied in Malaysia, and nothing.
Give me 6 years here and all of a sudden I sound like a hybrid between Patrice Lumuba, Emily from friends, Kofi Kingston, the All blacks, Steve Irwin, Mtukudzi and Wainaina.
The Marketing Stereotypes
It’s all because other groups have been marketed as cool (Acolyte, I am aware these are stereotypes, but note how these stereotypes are indeed used to push products and TV shows out there):
1) Americans market themselves as the loveable, uber-committed, individualistic cowboys and rogues
2) The Brits are posh
3) The Aussies are laid back and charming
4) The French are romantic
5) The Spanish are lovers
As to the Indian accent, I’ll let Russell Peters talk about that one (NB: There is some swearing in this video clip) :
And so on and so on and so on. Combine that with the Western entitlement syndrome, which even we buy into and it results in us believing that Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians are the superior human product that we should model in order to become better people.
My Take On It
And with that, you have my take on why our accents switch gears when we land overseas.
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Finally: A Silly Spot of Fun
If you are not a fan of silliness as I am, skip this and leave a comment below. As I was writing the article, I got the idea to record this. Lovers of folly enjoy (Keep the volume on a mid setting because the volume fluctuates)
Question:Why do YOU think our accent changes?