Monday, July 15, 2024

This Thing About Gossiping in Your Local Dialect

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I used to be on a bus going to Yaba after we stopped at Ketu to select up round eight Hausa-speaking girls in a bus that had house for under 5 extra passengers. It was a battle, however belief Danfo drivers to discover a solution to squeeze passengers in. This aged girl who was within the entrance row needed to make room so two individuals may squeeze right into a seat meant for one passenger, pending when different passengers would get down at Ojota.

Then got here the gists within the Hausa language, and it was cool. Lovely girls chatting away fortunately of their native dialect in a metropolis like Lagos? Nothing may go fallacious. Not till the aged girl mentioned, “Why are you insulting me?” *curse phrase* “I shifted for you and made myself uncomfortable so that you each can handle right here and also you’re insulting me. You assume I don’t perceive your language?” *Extra curse phrases*. What adopted was an embarrassing silence, then a flood of apologies.

I chuckled and thought, “I’ve been right here earlier than.”

I schooled in a predominantly Hausa-speaking state. And if you’re a stranger in a land whose native language you don’t perceive, you are inclined to gravitate in direction of individuals such as you. So naturally, I had some Yoruba-speaking mates. Amongst them was this explicit good friend who cherished to speak about different individuals in her native dialect(s). She may converse 3-4 native languages and when she met somebody who may converse them additionally, there was a excessive probability she’d speak about others in that dialect. For example, we may very well be strolling behind somebody and he or she’d say in Yoruba, “Take a look at this particular person’s shoe, it seems to be like his face, hahahahaha.” Or a scholar who we used to name rainbow as a result of she cherished colors may stroll into the category and he or she’d say, in Yoruba “What kind of mixture is that this? Did she look within the mirror earlier than leaving house? Hahaha.” Or we may very well be within the again seat of a bus and he or she’d faucet me and say, in Yoruba, “Oh, this particular person has such a giant head, haha.” My good friend was not being a malicious particular person and these little gossips had been, properly… not dangerous? Whereas she discovered them humorous, they made me uncomfortable. I laughed the primary few instances, however I quickly realised we talked about individuals – she doing the speaking, me the laughing – too typically and it wasn’t okay. It was turning into a factor – making enjoyable of strangers we knew nothing about. Individuals minding their companies, merely current. I assumed, certainly, we may do higher? So I progressively stopped laughing at these jokes.

Past the truth that these little pockets of gossip weren’t wholesome for both of us, certainly one of my fears was what occurred on the bus to Yaba: what if the particular person/individuals you’re speaking about can perceive your dialect? What in the event that they allow you to speak for some time earlier than letting they’ll hear you? As soon as, my good friend gisted me about how she had made enjoyable of a person’s head and when she was about to get down from the bus, he turned to her to let her know he understood all alongside. One other time, she had insulted a driver she assumed was a Northerner due to change and it turned out he was a Yoruba man who grew up within the North. I keep in mind laughing and saying, “This may educate you to maintain your mouth shut.” It wasn’t all unhealthy although, one time, she and one other good friend had been occurring and on about how good-looking a man was in Esan language and he may hear all of it.

Random individuals understanding her jabs, insults or adulations – because the case could also be – didn’t educate my good friend any lesson, till she resumed college after a semester break, her eyes twitching uncontrollably, her mouth tilted haphazardly practically touching her left ear, trying like she suffered a stroke on her face. It turned out that days earlier than we noticed her, my good friend had insulted an aged girl.

They’d had a row available in the market place and he or she had washed her – in fact, within the Yoruba language. Though the girl didn’t perceive what she was saying, she felt the load of the insult and cursed her. My good friend wakened the following morning with certainly one of her eyes closing and her mouth tilting in direction of her left ear.

It’s virtually a decade since we left college however every time we catch up, I remind her of that point we needed to nurse her face again to regular just because she couldn’t bridle her tongue and we snigger over it.

 

 

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Characteristic Picture by Ketut Subiyanto for Pexels

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