Nigerian Ancestry in America | What my DNA reveals about the U.S.

two Nigerian women in traditional dress, representing the topic of Nigerian ancestry in America
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The craze of ancestry testing has swept the globe. Organizations like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have been on the receiving end of millions of spit samples for a time now. I sent mine in, you can believe. One of the most interesting parts of doing a test like this is learning your backstory. Not just of a family, but of an entire world. There was a whole global exchange that happened, something never seen before.

Now, I know these tests aren’t perfectly accurate and they might misrepresent ethnicities and countries. But my question is: What does our ancestry reveal about American history and identity? I mean Nigerian ancestry, in this case.

Before we get started, I just want to lay out a disclaimer; I am not a geneticist or DNA expert. Besides the science or validity of testing, I want to look more at context. How did Nigerian ancestry even get to America? And why is there so much Nigerian ancestry in so many black people? The focus today will not be about DNA itself, but about the story that ancestry tells about American history and identity. That’s because the story of my ancestry is the story of many people. Let’s take a look, shalt we?!

Sorry, that was oldschool.


How did Nigerian ancestry get to America?

Well, that one’s quite obvious isn’t it? Unless you’re living on an alternate time plane, we trust that most African heritage in the New World was brought under terms of slavery. Now, slavery was already being practiced in West Africa before Europeans showed up. 

I only mention that because when the Portuguese arrived at what is now Nigeria, they initially set up contracts with local African leaders to trade slaves across the region. (BTW, where’d you think the name “Lagos” came from? Portuguese!) That is to say, traders already had a system set up with regional leaders. Soon after, they began to take some of those slaves for themselves to Brazil, and of course, England followed suit. 

Nigerian ancestry (in America and elsewhere) comes mostly from a few groups, either Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, or Fulani, despite being home to over 250 ethnic groups. The Hausa are a very large group too, but they weren’t sent as much to the Americas. Throughout the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, most of those sent to the 13 Colonies (baby USA) were of Yoruba and Igbo origin. The Igbo captives, in particular, were known for being rebellious, violent, and even suicidal in revolt against slavery. This bad rep probably led to less of them being brought to the country over time. The ones that did make it were mostly held around the Mid-Atlantic colonies (Virginia, Maryland), according to records.

People of West African origin, including today’s Nigeria, would make a profound impact on the musical and culinary styles of the places they were sent to. In the United States, these manifested into ragtime, jazz, soul, funk, blues, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and more. Think of them as intensely Americanized versions of African music. Remember, Nigeria was not a country at the time of American colonialism and many West African cultures extended beyond their present borders.

It’s important to note that there have been a couple of waves of Nigerian immigration to the U.S., especially Igbo, since the times of abolition. One of those immigration spikes is happening right now, actually. Nigeria today is the most populous nation in Africa, and its ancestry is highly present in many black Americans, whether for recent or historical reasons. But there’s just one problem: Many black people have too much Nigerian ancestry.

Nigeria’s overrepresentation in black American DNA

So, there’s a bit of a mystery when it comes to black American ancestry — well, a lot actually, but let’s look at this one thing. I’m what most people call “mixed” or “light-skinned(ed),” but the African ancestry I do have is mostly Nigerian. By now we understand how arbitrary that is. I mean, how much of that is Yoruba, or Edo, or any of those other 250? The point is, this scenario seems to be similar for many Americans with African ancestry — at least those that have been here for several generations. 

What happened was that most slaves from today’s Nigeria were sent to the Caribbean or South America. North America … not so much. Those brought to today’s U.S. were mostly from Senegambia (Senegal, Gambia, Guinea) or Central Africa (the Congo, Angola, Cameroon), so the records say. If that’s true, then where did all these Nigerians come from?

There are a couple of theories and explanations for that. One is that Nigerian ancestry shows up more on DNA tests because a higher proportion of Nigerians partake in DNA studies compared to other African nations. So, that might boost your Nigeria score. 

Another motive could stem from the abolition of Trans-Atlantic slave trading when it became illegal to capture and bring slaves from Africa anymore. That happened in 1808 in the USA. The weird part is that part of the pressure to do this, beside moral and economic, was to put a hold on the black population which actually outnumbered whites in the South. In order to get more black slaves later on, the U.S. had to import them from other New World colonies, particularly those in the Caribbean. This continued to happen even after all slavery was abolished in America.

It seems that there was a much higher death rate among the Senegambia slaves since they were among the first to arrive. It’s like the Europeans didn’t really know what they were doing yet, and so a lot of the slaves ended up dead. There were higher death rates in the Caribbean and South American slaves, but once brought to the U.S. they usually did a little better. 

Many were probably second-generation and were already used to the hard life on plantations. It’s thought that they intermarried with the established black population or even outnumbered them in places, enough so that their gene pool would become dominant. In reality, it could be due to a mixture of reasons. 

In Conclusion

As a black-ish American, it is fascinating to me to learn more about my African heritage. There’s a lot to be proud of and a lot to feel bad about. The idea that Nigerian ancestry is likely so dominant due to Caribbean slaves being brought into the States really demonstrates how linked together black people of the New World are. We don’t have our old languages, customs, or religions, but we do have our own new dialect, our own new customs, and a rich culture that has taken the world by storm! 

As I said, I am mixed, so I’ll be going over the different white, black, and whatever else ancestry I have over the coming weeks / months. It is all a part of a quest to understand the history of this country. What shows up on our DNA tests, whether exact or not, reveals not only how America was made. It reveals how the world made America.

Thanks for reading! As always, take care out there. 😉  

Further Reading and Resources

Abolishing African Slave Trade

African American Music

Nigeria Country Profile

So Much Nigerian Ancestry

Lots of Americans with Nigerian Ancestry

Overrepresentation of Nigerian Genes

Ancestry Profile of Nigeria

Nigerian Americans

10 Everyday(-ish) English Expressions about Cars & Driving | part 3

We are hitting the road on another adventure! Well, it’s just an article, but you get the point. Learning a language is a long and arduous process, but it’s easier when made fun. One cool thing about English is all the varied expressions it uses to describe daily happenings. There seem to be an interesting (or suspicious) amount of terms derived from cars and driving, as you could see in parts 1 and 2. In today’s article, I intended to describe even more of these kinds of expressions. However, I realized a lot of these are a bit more specific than your average terms.

Read more:

  • Parts 1 and 2 of Expressions about Cars and Driving

Still, these are useful, so why not give them a try? These are 10 more words and expressions about driving and cars … oh, and some can be used in other situations too. Enjoy! 

Fender Bender

Making a “whoopsy”

This term is very helpful in the specific case that one gets into a minor car accident. It’s not quite a “wreck” but there is a little bit of damage. It’s less common, but sometimes this expression can be used to refer to a minor accident off of the road, too.

Hits & accidents

  • Terry got into a fender bender last night on the highway. I sure hope he wasn’t drinking. 
  • Sometimes we get into little bumps and fender benders that we have to overcome. 

Crash Course / Collision Course

On the road to chaos

In some cases, these two expressions can have a similar meaning. Being on a collision course (or a crash course) towards something is like being on the road to disaster. This danger can be on an actual road or on a metaphorical “course” in life. Something bad is coming, and there will be conflict if nothing is done to stop it. 

In other contexts, a crash course can specifically be a highly intensive academic course or class. Just like this channel I love on YouTube called Crash Course! I’m sure you all will love it if you don’t already.

A crashing lesson

  • When the truck’s emergency brake failed, it went on a collision course down the hill until it eventually hit a wall.
  • If we don’t put John and Michael into separate classrooms, they are going to be on a collision course until one of them throws the first punch.
  • I’m taking a crash course next week on thermodynamics. Wish me luck! 

Hit the Road

Go away! Or not

“Hit the road, Jack!” Pretty much everyone knows this song, and by consequence, the meaning of those famous words. Saying this can be the same as telling someone to leave or go away. Usually, though, the meaning has to do with traveling or beginning a trip.

Get going 

  • You need to hit the road, Jack. I don’t want you around here anymore. 
  • Come on, kids! Let’s hit the road. Disneyland isn’t coming to us. 

Get the Show on the Road

It’s showtime!

Following the theme of roads, here’s another useful expression to bring up. When someone says, get the show on the road, it means to begin some process or to proceed with it. The “show” is normally a reference to something important like a major event, a meeting, a procedure, and so on. Sometimes, it’s used in a similar sense to “hit the road,” or in other words, let’s start this trip! 

Move along, now

  • We need to get the show on the road, so don’t worry about the microphone. You can start without it.
  • Come on, kids! Let’s get this show on the road. Disneyland won’t wait for us.

Joyride / Joy Ride

Bad joy

Joyriding is such a “joy!” Well, for some. Going on a joyride usually involves stealing a car or using a car that doesn’t belong to the driver. The new driver may do other illegal activities with the car or just use it to ride around with friends without any particular motive. This obviously isn’t a joy for whoever got their car stolen. 

Riding dirty

  • Carla loves to joyride in other people’s cars. One day she’ll get caught.

Road Hog

The hateful hog

A road hog is someone who drives in multiple lanes and likes to take up lots of space on the road. This recklessness usually puts other drivers in danger, but it is always super annoying. Road hogs are normally careless drivers or intentionally trying to get in others’ ways. The verb version of this is to“hog the road.” 

Danger, danger, space taker

  • Don’t be a road hog, let the other drivers pass.
  • I really wish that guy would quit hogging the road. It’s so dangerous.

Road Rage

Raging in the machine

Do you have road rage? Oh, it’s such an exhilarating disease! Just kidding. Road rage is exactly what it sounds like. This is when someone gets intensely angry, filled with rage while driving on the road. They usually perform such behaviors as honking excessively, speeding, and doing dangerous maneuvers to get around people. Road ragers may also yell or make obscene gestures at other drivers, and more. Doesn’t that just sound pleasant?!

They call me “angry driver”

  • Why do they keep honking? Just let the poor lady cross the street. Everybody’s got road rage these days.

Hit and Run

Left to hurt

This is probably the most controversial expression on this here list, if there is such a thing. A hit and run is what happens when a car hits another car or person, and then “runs” or drives away. The person at fault often drives away out of fear, but the accident oftentimes causes serious injury, property damage, or even death in the saddest cases. 

This nature of “cause damage and flee the scene” is sometimes used in the context of relationships. A hit and run in this sense can mean that someone had relations (usually sexual) with another and left without saying anything. A similar expression in these cases is “hit and quit.” 

Whether it’s a car or a relationship, the impact on the “victim” has a familiar feeling of being abandoned and vulnerable. 

Fleeing the scene

  • Did you hear the crash last night? I know, it was a terrible hit and run.
  • Chuck is an infamous ladies’ man. You better prepare for a hit and run. then.

Hotwire

Breaking in hot

H-o-t-w-i-r-e, Hotwire.com! No, not that kind of hotwire. Normally, this word is used to describe a crime where someone uses the electric circuits of a car to start it without a key. This is a useful skill for when one loses their keys, but it is normally performed to steal a car. Wow, this part 3 is a little dark, eh? 

One can also hotwire a system or program. In this sense, it’s not so much about stealing as it is about figuring out how to break into something for your own advantage. In an informal sense, it can have a similar meaning to “hack” or “breaking a code.”

Cracking the code

  • Vanessa is a professional car thief. She has hotwired everything from Mitsubishis to Bentleys.
  • My company’s new interface is very complex, but I’m sure I can hotwire it and figure it out within the week. 

Pumped (up) / Gassed (up)

Fill ‘er up!

Similar to pumping gas into an engine, being pumped up is feeling full of excitement and energy. It’s how I imagine a car must feel after going to the gas station. This expression works as pumped up or simply pumped. A similar term is gassed up, which is feeling high energy and excitement too. This is different from simply feeling gassed though, which is the exact opposite, for some reason. 

A gassy tank

  • The kids are so pumped about going to Disneyland. I’m sure it will be tons of fun. 
  • Many athletes like listening to music to get pumped up before a game. 
  • Let’s get gassed up, you guys! The game is about to start. 
  • We’ve been traveling all day long, I’m totally gassed. Can we please take a break?

That’s it, you guys! Thank you for reading and I hope you learned some new phrases. How would you use these in your own sentences? What is your favorite expression about cars and driving? Tell us about it. And, as always, take care of each other. Peace!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com or Give me a Shout!

Contracting Words with ‘Of’ – English Speech Habits

a pink neon question mark in a box down a dark hallway, doubts about contracting words with 'of' in English speech
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In English, like in any language, we speakers have some funny habits when it comes to using the language. Hey, at least it adds some character, am I right? Today I want to dwell a bit on this thing we do when we contract a quantifier word with the word “of”. This is similar to what happens when we combine “want to (wanna).” But first thing’s first; what in the Anglo-ing world is a quantifier?? Well, quantifiers are words that indicate a quantity (no, really!) or in other words, an amount of something. 

Contracting Quantifiers with ‘Of’

Some examples of this are: a little, a lot, many, some, a few

Read more about the types of quantifiers:

When describing an amount (or quantity) of something, some of these words are followed by “of.” 

  • a lot of cake; some of the cake; a bit of cake

Keep in mind, this is not all the time. Many quantifiers and some of their uses don’t have an “of” after them. 

  • some cake; a few cakes; many cakes

*“Some cake” and “some of the cake” can mean the same thing. Although, usually “some of the cake” sounds more specific (a piece of a specific cake) while “some cake” sounds more general (a piece of any cake)

When there is an “of” behind those quantifiers that need it, some speakers have a habit of combining the quantifier word with “of.” In this way, it forms a contraction. 

  • There’s a lotta cake left in the fridge. (a lot of)
  • Do you want to take home somma this cake? (some of)

This is more common in speech and when people are talking quickly. This habit is not a rule though, and these words are almost never spelled in the contracted way except in very informal text. It is also not universal and not everyone has this habit. Still, it is fairly common and a good thing to be aware of, say, when you talk with native speakers or watch TV. 

This plays into the larger trend of changing short words with the “shwa” sound (uh, like ‘of’, ‘to’, ‘the’) and just contracting them with a bigger word.

The most popular one of these you’ll notice in day-to-day speech will most likely be kinda. As a quantifier, it has about the same meaning as “somewhat” or “a little bit.”


Examples

Here are some other common instances of contracting quantifiers with “of.”

a bunch of

  • They’re a buncha sore losers. (They’re a bunch of sore losers.)

some of

  • Do you want somma my fries? (Do you want some of my fries?)

kind of (used as a quantity)

  • I kinda like him. (I kind of like him.)

a couple of

  • They’re just a coupla / couple’a guys hanging out. (They’re just a couple of guys hanging out.)

enough of

  • Okay, I’ve had enough’a this. (Okay, I’ve had enough of this.)

all of

  • Oh no! All’a / all’o the food is gone. (Oh no! All of the food is gone.)

We thank you for reading and learning new things! Feel free to explore more posts here on Cult-surf. Similar posts can be found on the Blog. Enjoy yourselves, and take care out there!

For contact or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com; Give Me a Shout

Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving (part 2) – English List

dark Porsche car driving at sunset, related to the topic of words about cars and driving
Peter Miranda

Welcome to this version of English List. Cars have had such a huge impact on that language–the English one–and we’re here to prove it! This is part 2 of Everyday Expressions about Cars and Driving, including some terms that can be used for both vehicles and other life situations.

For English students, these can be a cool way for you to liven up your word choice and vocabulary. Otherwise, you may just like driving cars or be an awesome English-speaking person that loves to learn. Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to give your own examples, ask questions, give feedback, do whatever!

Alrighty, let’s get rolling.

Read Part 1: Some Everyday Expressions about Cars & Driving

Full Tank

Powered up

It’s easy to imagine the benefits of a full tank of gas. Similarly, when talking about people, we can say that person has a full tank. This is like saying that they are full of energy, ready to go, and pumped full of enthusiasm. There’s also the expression “on full,” which is the opposite of “on E” (on empty). Careful, though! “On F” isn’t quite a popular expression (yet).

No stopping … no stopping

  • Let’s make sure the truck’s got a full tank so we don’t have to stop the whole trip.
  • He has been running for hours and is still on a full tank! Can you believe it?

Roll up (the window)

Windows shut

This one may sound obvious, but it might not be so for English learners. When talking about making the window go up in a car, we can say roll the window up or roll up the window (it works the same for “down” too). Roll up by itself also has a multitude of meanings. It can be as simple as “to roll something” or to “arrive or go somewhere.”

Read also: Roll out, rolling, & other expressions

Getting there

  • Can you please roll the window up? It’s freezing in here!
  • I have to roll up my clothes so that they can fit in my suitcase.
  • Do you feel like rolling up to my cousin’s house? You know, she’s the one with the big TV.

Junk in the trunk

Big things in the back

This phrase is near and dear to many English speakers. Literally, it refers to having too much “junk”, or lots of random and useless objects, in the trunk of one’s car. Junk in the trunk can also be used to talk about people, especially women, saying that they have a big behind. This is actually the first thing that will come to mind to most English speakers when this silly phrase is said.

It is a very playful expression, used mostly with people we are really comfortable with, and it can be a really funny thing to say.

A beautiful mess

  • Do you know if Tyler has any jumper cables? There’s so much junk in his trunk, I can’t find it.
  • Mark told me I had a lot of junk in my trunk. Uh, I think he likes me.

Backseat driver

No driving from the back

Just picture it: you are riding along happily in your car, not a care in the world. Suddenly, you hear a voice from the back seat telling you to turn your blinkers on before you switch lanes. That’s decent advice, but still, nobody likes a backseat driver.

This expression is used to refer to someone who is giving instructions or directions but is “out of line” to. Maybe they are unqualified, or maybe they just weren’t a part of the conversation, to begin with.

Input from the sidelines

  • I thought to tell you to slow down, but I didn’t want to be a backseat driver.
  • The parents on the other team are such backseat drivers. They should just let the coaches do their jobs, right?

Down the road

What is to come

Driving is a lot more comfortable when you can see far down the road. This expression refers to what is ahead of you, further down the street. In a figurative sense, it means what is ahead in life, as opposed to the actual street or highway. Still, it’s a very useful idiom to know.

Looking forward

  • There’s a new Chipotle that opened up down the road. Want to try it?
  • You should always be prepared because you never know what might happen down the road.

U-turn

Turn it around

When driving, some people get the sudden urge to want to completely change directions on the road. That round 180-degree change is called making a U-turn. Likewise, people can make a “U-turn” in life as they completely change directions or go back to old habits.

Another very informal way of saying this is making a U-ey. (Some also say “pulling” a U-ey, “busting” a U-ey, “flipping” a U-ey, it’s all the same)

Bring it back

  • Sheryl was so happy in retirement. Now, all of a sudden, she did a big U-turn and went back to teaching again.
  • Do you think we can make a U-ey on this road? I think we can.

Run out of steam

Steam-less

No one wants this. When you’re driving and the car suddenly stops working. Apparently it’s got no more gas, no power, and everything says that is has run out of steam. The same idea can go for people when they don’t have the smallest bit of energy left in them.

Run until the running’s done

  • Boy, I sure hope this old truck doesn’t run out of steam before we make it home.
  • Alex started the day off full of energy, but now she looks like she ran out of steam.

Driving (me) nuts!

Nuts and (crazy) berries

Many people like to drive, while others get enraged by it. Driving someone nuts is the same as making them feel crazy. Other ways to say this are driving someone “mad,” driving someone “crazy”, driving someone “bananas,” and driving someone “coocoo”, among others.

This “driving” is usually used with negative emotions, so you would not say “driving me happy,” for example.

Ja-Making me crazy!

  • Is this Camila Cabello? Oh no, her music drives my brother insane.
  • I can’t handle being around kids while they’re crying. They drive me nuts!

Read more expressions about cars and driving: Hubpages


**Thank you for reading! Do you know any other car-related expressions or phrases? Can you use them in a sentence? Feel welcome, this is your place!

Contact for personal messages, English advice, or collaboration: tietewaller@gmail.com (Contact Page)

Check out similar posts on the Blog

Peace & love, y’all!

Contracting verbs with “to”, Wanna, Gonna, Hadda & more – Speaking Habits

a pink neon question mark in a box down a dark hallway, asking questions without auxiliary in English

There’s a dirty habit that English speakers have … okay, it’s not that terrible. Still, when many people speak, they have a habit of contracting certain verbs if they come before the word “to.” These verbs usually stand ahead of another verb that is in its infinitive form, which is the most basic (e.g. to love, to go, to see). Here, I’m talking about the verb that comes before these infinitive forms. Read some examples to see what I mean:

Examples – connecting verbs with “to”

  • I wanna help you.

(“Want to” might get fused together, so this sounds more like, “wanna”)

  • You hadda say that, didn’t you?

(You had to say that, didn’t you?)

  • You hafta help me, please!

(You have to help me, please!)

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Or, do you want more info? Look at this article on RealLifeGlobal.com along with the video below.

http://reallifeglobal.com/.

This might happen because the word “to” is normally pronounced as a “shwa” or a short “uh” sound. When people are speaking, it can be a drag to pronounce every letter and word. So, they get bunched together and form into a new word. It’s similar to how “would have” can turn into “would’ve.”

One thing to remember is that this fusing the verbs before “to” doesn’t work all the time. You might have to pay attention to which words this is used most commonly. Also, unlike with “would’ve,” hafta, wanna, and hadda are just how these words are pronounced in speech. They aren’t proper English, though, so you shouldn’t write these words on a paper or test (but they’re fine in text messages or social media).

Some other noteworthy examples of these contractions I’m sure you’ve all heard before are gonna and gotta.

More examples

  • They’ve gotta be kidding.

(They’ve got to be kidding.)

  • No one told you what’s gonna happen?

(No one told you what’s going to happen?)

  • She hasta help her mom first.

(She has to help her mom first.)

Thank you all for reading! I hope you learned something. Read the Blog for other posts like this about English habits. Go ahead and share a comment with us if you’ve heard this habit before. And as always, take care out there. Peace! ☮️

Not Pronouncing the ‘D’ & ‘T’ – English Speaking Habits

a cat sticking its tongue out, representing the tongue-twisting nature of people not pronouncing their d's and t's in common English speech
Don Hassan

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch it here:

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Dropping the D & T

We’re here to look at a funny habit that many English speakers have. Sometimes we drop the “d” or the “t” sound in the middles or ends of words. This is more common if that “d” or “t” is next to another consonant, and especially if it’s between two consonant sounds.

Examples

  • “I can’t hear a thing you say.” Pronounced, I cann hear a thing you say.
  • “There’s going to be a band night this evening.” Pronounced, There’s going to be a bann night this evening.

Above, the “t” in can’t gets lost between a “nnn” and a “hhh” sound. The “d” in band gets lost between two “nnn” sounds. This doesn’t always happen as a rule, but it is common for many people.

The “d” and “t” sounds when next to consonants are already pronounced weakly in normal cases, so it wasn’t so hard to completely omit them. Still, the sound is not simply dropped, but usually, the sound before it gets a little stressed. Remember, that’s like the “n” sound in I cann hear a thing you say.

Taking other letters along

In some words, the “d” and “t” take some other letters away with them. This can be heard in some accents with the words don’t, doesn’t, and didn’t, among others. Watch how many sounds get dropped from these words.

Examples

  • “He doesn’t look like he knows what that means.” Pronounced, He ‘onn’ look like he knows what that means.
  • “Elvis also played the guitar, didn’t he?” Pronounced, Elvis also played the guitar, dinn’ he?

This might look pretty funny on paper, but it sounds smoother in speech. Again, not all English speakers have these habits when talking, but they can be noticed in several accents. This usually happens so that the words can come out easier since so many “d’s” and “t’s” right next to each other just don’t seem natural.

It’s some people’s way of making the speech flow better. Of course, lots of people may find these habits weird or think they’re uneducated, and there are plenty of those that do try to annunciate all their letters. This is just another habit that English learners may come across when they practice their new language.

Read more: about dropping d’s and t’s especially in American English

Find more posts like this in the Blog.

More examples

I havenn heard from you in a while. (haven’t)

It’s hard to benn metal. (bend)

Chris ‘onn’ even know how to change a tire. (doesn’t)

I dinn’ see that one coming. (didn’t)

Nigerian English – learning about the accent

about the Nigerian accent of English with Nigerian national flags in the background
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Hi, I’m Susan Rex from Nigeria and always being a Nigerian (Smiling). I’m thankful to Trystn Waller for giving me this alternative to a guest post about my country Nigeria and its accent (just in brief). I’m a Relationship Coach, helping to build healthy relationships. I hope you like this post and also share your thoughts with me as well.

Contact: (relationtipps@gmail.com)

My website: Link

Main Article


Nigerian spoken English is an amalgamation of British English and American English. The outcome is an imaginative clash of broken English and words that have cheerfully grown eternally distant from their original definitions.

Path to Getting the Nigerian Accent

Cutting out inner syllables

  • Medicine pronounces as “med-sin
  • Happy Birthday pronounces as “api betday
  • Concern pronounces as “consign
  • Get out as “gerrat
  • Start as “stat
  • With as “wit
  • Bathroom as “baffroom” etc.

Swap your “er” for “a”

  • Paper pronounces as “pay-pah
  • Father pronounces as “fathah
  • Mother as “mothah
  • Helicopter as “elucuptah” etc.


Nigerians also pronounce each of these groups of words in the same manner.


  • Work and walk (pronounced as same)
  • Bus and boss (pronounce as same)
  • Saint and sent (pronounce the same)
  • Curb and cub 
  • Hair and air
  • Ear, hear, and here (pronounce the same way).


Having the basic conversation

  🇬🇧 (Standard)

Hi

How are you?

No problem.

I’m walking please.

Please, where is the bathroom?

I don’t know.

I don’t understand.

 🇳🇬 (Non-Standard)

How far.

How you dey?

No wahala.

I dey waka abeg.

Abeg where the baffroom dey?

I no no.

I no sabi.


(Add “No” if you need to say that you don’t understand something or don’t have something. Also, Nigerians refer to older people as Auntie or Uncle, pronounced as “hanty or “uncul”, to show manners and respect.)


Let me remind you that if you are not a Nigerian, it will be hard to blend in with the accent. That’s one of the unique things about being a Nigerian; no one can take that away from us, not even those that colonized us. 

image written Nigeria and a map of Nigeria in the back, landscape of a city in Nigeria in the background
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**I hope you enjoyed this article from Susan Rex and got some better insight into the unique accent of Nigeria! Please feel free to contact her with more questions, and read her website to get advice about healthy relationships. I appreciate you doing this guest post for us, Susan, and I look forward to seeing what others have to add about the Nigerian accent. Stay safe out there, people! Peace.

Read more: the Blog

Listen & Read: a Nigerian song in Lyrics “Explained”

Asking Questions with or without ‘Do’ & ‘To be’? – English Habits

There is a habit that many people have and, maybe, don’t know it. In casual speech, many English speakers tend not to form questions properly. This can happen on purpose so that the speaker can make themselves not sound too formal. Sometimes though, it can be an accident. Well, I’m not here to say whether it is right or wrong but just to show you English learners what’s happening when you hear this. To refresh your memory on the right way to ask questions, you can read this page. Read about other English speaker habits on the Blog. Following are two habits with asking questions that English speakers have:

Questions without “Do”

One of the most noticeable question-related habits is with the verb, to “do.” This little word is confusing for many non-English speakers, but it helps us understand that what we are saying is a question. In other words, it’s an “auxiliary.” With that said, “do” gets left out of a lot of questions in regular conversation.

  • “What you want from me?”

Correct is: What do you want from me?

You can see that “do” just gets dropped out. This also happens in questions that don’t have question words (AKA What, Where, Who, etc.)

  • “You have a dollar I can borrow?”

Correct is: Do you have a dollar I can borrow?

If you speak a language like Spanish, then you do this regularly anyway. “Do” just lets us know that we’re forming a question without having to change our tone of voice to sound more “questiony.”

Questions without “To be”

Another habit people have when forming questions is leaving out the verb “to be” where it should be.

  • “What you doing this weekend?”

Correct is: What are you doing this weekend?

Just like with “do” before, the version of “to be” (are) gets completely dropped. This habit is more common in longer questions. It would usually sound weird in a short question with only a few words.

  • “Who you?” This sounds weird. It’s better to say, Who are you?

Doing this with questions that describe an action is more common in general casual English. Doing it in questions where the main verb is “to be” sounds somewhat uneducated and very improper. In “What are you doing?”, doing is the main verb because that’s the main action. In the question “Who are you?”, are is the main verb because, well, it’s the only verb.

  • “What your name?” This sounds very improper. It’s better to say, What‘s your name?

Remember, people do this without really thinking about it. It’s more for you to understand what’s happening as opposed to trying to memorize this feature. This habit also can happen in questions without question words, of course.

  • “That going to be a problem?”

Correct is: Is that going to be a problem?

A Note …

These are pretty common habits for many English speakers, though not all. It can depend on region or accent, and some habits are more common with certain accents than others. Because these habits are widely practiced, many people don’t even notice them in casual speech. But beware; sometimes dropping the “do” or “to be” can sound very improper, incorrect, and make the speaker sound sloppy or uneducated. Listen to other English speakers and pay attention to how people react to the things they say. This is a good way to tell if that habit is acceptable or not in X situation.

More Examples

Without “do”:

“What __ you think about the new mayor?”

“__ They know they’re being watched?”

“__ He just say that?”

Without “to be”:

“__ You some kind of genius or something?”

“What __ we doing here, anyway?”

“__ That a threat?”

**Hey again! Thanks for reading and learning more, my wonderful reader. Continue to be encouraged in your learning journey. You can do it! And share with us anything that’s on your mind to share about this topic, if you can. Talk soon…

Featured image credit: by Emily Morter on Unsplash

English Speaker Habits Using ‘Got’ – Quick Tip

If you’ve been studying English, you know there are many possible meanings of the word “get.” There are so many uses that it has become notoriously difficult for English learners to know how to use. The past tense of that word is “got,” and it is no exception to this wild and confusing system of uses and meanings. I’m not here to explain all the possible meanings of “got”. Instead, I specifically want to tell you about some habits that English speakers have when we talk. You’ll be able to read more quick tips like this on the Blog. Hopefully, this can clear things up a bit more (or confuse you a bit more)!

Got and Have, which one is right?

One habit that many English speakers have is saying “got” where they should be using “have.” This is where “have” means to possess something or needing to do something. This use is quite informal and is used more in casual speech. Read more about that here.

  • I got five rooms in my house.

More correctly would be: I have five rooms in my house.

A similar habit that people have is in situations where “have” is used in the present perfect. We might mean to say “have got,” but “have” gets completely taken out. Here’s an example:

  • I got to leave in five minutes.

More correctly is: I have (I’ve) got to leave in five minutes.

Because most of the time saying “have” and “have got” means the same thing, it can be hard to tell which of the two cases the speaker is using. Either way, they are referring to possession or a need to do something.

Another Note

In British-style English (British, Australian, South African, etc.), I notice it can be more common to say “have got” in place of “have.”

British: — Have you got any gum?

I’ve got some. Here you go.

Neutral: — Do you have any gum?

I have some. Here you go.

Again, I’m not saying only British-style accents use this. It’s just more common in those accents than in the American-style accents. And remember that all English speakers don’t have the habits listed above. Like any language, the region, social class, and personal experiences of the speaker play a role in how the individual talks. Still, you can bet lots of English speakers talk like this!

Read More Examples:

“Do you got a dress? I need one for the party.”

“Marissa got three kids? She looks so young!”

“Listen, I got to tell you something.”

“We got to go, hurry up!”

**Thank you for coming, curious readers! Have you heard English speakers talk like this? Do you think you could correct the example sentences with the right grammar? You’re doing great for seeking to learn more about this wonderful language! Keep on learning, my friends.