Today, I went to visit my old friend who just got back from the USA where she had been for two years. She was no longer the girl I grew up with, she now speaks differently. I honestly wasn’t sure how many accents I heard within the 2 hours I spent with her. Just when I start getting comfortable with her American accent, I hear a trace of British and some other accents I still can’t seem to figure out.
What happened to the bubbling girl I grew up within the ancient brown roof city? Where had she gone? We laughed together at the crazy accents of the Bar one students in our Law school campus; the ones who had a British accent even though they schooled just around the corner in Porto Novo.
I stared at the English-speaking stranger sitting across from me, looking for my friend underneath all the ‘poshness’. When I couldn’t find her, I thought maybe, just maybe speaking Yoruba to her would reset and tighten the loose buttons in her brain. So I switched to Yoruba, I particularly spoke to her in our Ibadan accent, but my ‘posh Americana’ friend looked at me in a way you would look at somebody on whose head two horns suddenly sprouted. She said she doesn’t speak ‘that language’ anymore.
Well, what do we ‘never been to oyinbo land’ know about studying abroad, but thanks to her, now I know all I need to do to get a variety of accents and forget my own language is to travel abroad for a couple of years.
I understand those that were born and bred there but what the hell happened to ‘our friends’ who only left after high school, I will never know…after all I ‘neva jand.’