Annoying Things That Happen When You Can’t Speak Your Native Language.


November 21, 2019

On the long list of things that make Nigerians needlessly work themselves up into a frothy lather, not being able to speak your mother tongue is seemingly at the top. Even though it affects them in no way whatsoever, they will gather around you, gawk, and point like you’re some bird who just fell out of the sky and turned into an old woman on impact.

And that’s before the following things happen:

1) They’ll condescendingly ask what language your parents speak to y’all (the kids) at home.

Have a little fun with this and reply with a fictional language (anything from Klingon to Dothraki). Tell them that your parents died in a fire when you were three. Throw in tears if you want to make them hella uncomfortable.

2) They’ll straight up criticize the way you were raised by saying shit like, “Omo, your parents no try at all oh.

The fucking audacity.

3) One (usually elderly) person will open their mouth and be like, “So what will happen if we all have to return to the place we came from one day?

If you’re Igbo, they’ll be like, “Don’t you know we’re going back to Biafra soon?” And me I’m just like, “Go if you want. Don’t drag me into this.

4) If they’re older relatives or family friends, some of them will be like, “I’m not speaking to you in any other language until you understand” as if that has ever helped anyone ever.

5) One by one, they’ll start asking you what certain words in the language mean EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE MADE IT CLEAR YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE.

Find Zikoko
wherever you are

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.