Ever since my video about leaving Nigeria went viral, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about accents. I’d like to answer this question once and for all. Should foreigners in America get rid of their accents?? Enjoy! xo
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Should Foreigners in America Get Rid of their Accents?
Now, back to the topic.
I’m discussing this issue because I previously made a video explaining why I moved from Nigeria to the US. In that Nigeria video, I made a passing comment that I intentionally speak English with a minimal Nigerian accent.
Ever since I made that comment, I’ve been getting all sorts of questions about it. So I’m just going to address this topic once and for all. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion.
I hope that you’re not too disappointed that it’s really not that deep. In fact, this whole post can be boiled down into one word – priorities.
I remember when I was in college, there was a day that I was on the phone with my mom. Of course, since I was talking to my mom, I didn’t feel a need to change the way I talk.
I was talking to her in my regular Nigerian accent when one of my friends, Anna, just happened to walk by.
Anna came back to my dorm room later than night and was like:
“OH MY GOSH! I just LOVE it when you speak your language”
And of course, my roommate and I burst out laughing because I wasn’t speaking my language. I was speaking English. I was just speaking it in a very very thick Nigerian accent and she thought I was speaking a different language.
This scenario even happens when I post videos on YouTube.
There are certain videos where I’ve thrown in a little Nigerian accent here and there. Inevitably, somebody comes back to ask what language I’m speaking.
I’m speaking FREAKING ENGLISH!
Americans and Thick Accents
The thing is, even though my college room mate understood my accent, she is definitely the exception to the rule. In my experience, most Americans are more like Anna.
They haven’t heard a Nigerian accent before so they don’t understand what I’m saying when I speak with my Nigerian accent. That creates a little bit of a problem.
When I’m talking, it’s kind of important that people understand what I’m saying.
Who Do Americans Think They Are?
I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t have to change how I talk. Americans need to learn to listen to different accents. Who do Americans think they are? Other people shouldn’t have to change how they talk so that Americans can understand.
You Have Issues
I’ve had people tell me that the way I talk is tied to my identity. And so if i change my accent, I am changing my identity. And if i’m willing to change my identity for other people, then there must be something wrong with me.
But it’s SEXXXYY!
I’ve had people tell me that the Nigerian accent is one of the sexiest accents in the world. And why would I want to change an accent that everybody thinks is sexy?
I’ve had so many people tell me all sorts of different things about why I shouldn’t change my accent. Yet again, I have the same response – it’s all about priorities.
When I am talking, it’s not because I want to be cute. It’s not because I want to prove a point about my identity or my ethnicity.
When I talk, it’s because I want to be understood. So why wouldn’t I make it easy for the person I’m talking to, to understand what I am saying?
And the other reason it’s so important for me to be understood is simply the fact that it’s my job.
So, should foreigners in America change their accents?
It depends on their priorities. It depends on what their ultimate goal is.
I say, if your goal is to further your culture, then please speak with your local accent.
If your goal is to be understood, please explore the possibility of changing that accent because I guarantee you that half the Americans you’re talking to have NO IDEA what you’re saying.
Need a Speaker? Contact Me
Need a Speaker? Contact Me