Osman Bangura 10/25/13
‘’How you de multiple the variables?’’
‘’Hahaha, that’s not how you say it!’’
‘’Na the way how I speak amm.’’
It was the start of 9th grade and we were having one of our first stream of lessons in math of the school year that involved variables, two-step equations and etc. This was the year I turned 15, but the only difference/new thing here in this year was that I decided to speak in my West African dialect, which is called Krio, for the first half of the entire quarter of the school year. This language is a mixture of a French and African language. I did this to become more fluent in my language in attempts to connect more with the indigenous side of my culture. Although people did not appreciate or like the thought of me speaking in a foreign dialect, I simply did not care.
I didn’t always sound like this. Originally I always spoke in an english dialect every place I went, even around family members who were full-blood Africans. I was ridiculed by family members and people of my country whom I knew, because of my inability to speak my country’s native dialect fluently. Even when we were asked to share a parcel of our culture in an history project, I didn’t have much to emphasize on about my culture because I knew so little of who I really was. These experience brought me to becoming more critical of myself when it came to language and the way I would communicate with others.
There were major influences that urged me to begin to speak in Krio; most notably my mother and a devoid feeling of identity brought this urge. I had to eventually find some way to break away from this devoid feeling, so I diverted to speaking my native language to gain a better sense of my culture. One time in the house my mother and I were arguing over me not getting homework done or any of my chores and she decided to speak in Krio so rapidly that I could hardly understand.
For example, she started off as ‘’Waten yu de do na yah? You de fail because yu fashion fashion this game.’’ I responded in english with a startled expresson, ‘’What do you mean?’’’ She then responded without hesitation and a quick tone, ‘’Na make the reason yu de comot from de school with all these ziro ziro grade!’’ She turned in dismal and marched upstairs while I stared into space, with disbelief. Her accent was heavy and she talked fast, which made it very difficult to comprehend with what she said. However, I found it strange that I had any difficulty with comprehending her dialect whatsoever, because I was born in the same country as her; this was a rude awakening for me.
This was the event that sparked off my search for an identity as an adolescent. It occurred to me after this event, that how could I possibly be deemed as an African male if I had no capability to even speak in my native language? And I also realized if anyone ever asked me to talk in my African dialect, what would my response be if I had no basic knowledge as to how? I would not only be embarassed but I would be looked at differently socially. It was bad enough as it is not being able to speak in my dialect, but in classes full of ridiculing americans and a few africans I would have any bolster from people of my country in classes at school. They would not accept me if I couldn’t simply communicate with them in my language.
For example, in American Tongues, people were often criticized for having a different way of speech. If someone speaks in a different foreign dialect they would be laughed at or teased in some form of way. I was going through the same dilemma in my 9th grade classes at my old school, some people saw my language as amusing because of the way I expressed my accent(though I hardly had one, which contributed to the laughter). When I first began generating of the idea of speaking in that dialect for the first half of the entire first quarter, I seen it as ridiculous because I knew it would be socially unacceptable in a predominantly American school. But eventually I cared less and less as time went on, and got into the habit of doing so which produced some stunning results.
Eventually, I stopped doing this all together in classes as soon as I realized that I was able to now fully comprehend and fluently speak in my native dialect. It was altogether a lot to go through socially because I had a hard time making friends, but people began accepting me for who I was because they respected me for my efforts on wanting to get intimate with my original culture. Although I dropped this regimen and stopped speaking this way in school, I still continued this habit at home and around family members.
Overall these experiences helped me to see past the social aspect of it, but the personal aspect as well. With making this plan to speak in my dialect for the first half of the quarter I gradually redeemed myself because I spoke in this dialect always around family members; when we had family occasions or meet ups I wouldn’t face exclusion which boosted my self confidence greatly. This helped me understand my identity and who I really was: Osman Bangura a strong-willed individual from West Africa. Reflecting back, my life is not as confusing as it was nearly a year ago now; therefore, I have no social obstacles because I know who I am and which type of people to associate with. I feel animated about all of this now, and I can even have a laugh now and then about how silly my struggle was to overcome but it was worth all of the effort.
Sources: www.easybib.com (For editing purposes)