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Miss Unilingual!

I'd wrapped things up really early and decided to stop by at my friend's site. When I got there he was taking a call and I listened to him switch between Yoruba and Hausa. For the thousandth time I wanted to whack him across the head. He seems to have this group of friends that speak both languages so fluently that I'm not sure who's from the north and who's from the west. He's from the north btw. 

Last week I was talking with one of these friends of his, who coincidentally was friends with my former boss. We got to talking about why I don't visit the law firm and I admitted I never quite felt at home there. Individually, I loved my colleagues, they were/are all good people. But I never quite felt like I vibed with them. "Yeah, I know what you mean. And then the way all of them used to gist in igbo all the time and you...." Yes, I, unfortunately couldn't join in on the daily girl chat, so yes, maybe that's why I felt like a second cousin of the family, and not a sister. 

The guy, my friend's friend, speaks Yoruba, Hausa and Italian fluently. 

Now back to my friend, after that call he got another and in two minutes he spoke three languages, he started out speaking yoruba, predictably he switched to Hausa (I hate it when they do that!) next thing I know he was conversing in French! That sucked majorly. 

On the day I talked with his friend about my former office, he told me he didn't think language was a big deal and he didn't know why people placed so much emphasis on it. Then in the same breath, just a few minutes later, he suddenly turns to me like he just saw me for the first time and shrieks, "So you are Unilingual!!! Buhahahaha". I'm like, you just finished talking about people who place emphasis on speaking or not speaking languages, now here you are mocking me?

He apologized. 

I've spent quite some time in the last few weeks with these guys and their effortless use of language "oppresses" me. I've told you guys before how I sometimes want to bite of my parents' noses for not bringing me up speaking igbo as I could and would have inevitably learnt english outside. Yeah I know some of y'all said I can still learn igbo but ain't nobody got time for that right now! I'd rather learn Mandarin or Arabic. I envy people whose native language is their first language. I'm extremely jealous of people who speak their native language and other(s), besides the Lingua Franca, in our case, English. 

So who else is Unilingual like me? Don't be shy, let's wallow together. Lol. And who are the bilingualists and multilingualists in the house! Raise your hands up y'all. What language(s) do you speak? 

...I know Easah is multilingual, please don't come and show off again! Hehe. 

Now, on to my second question. Where two people in a relationship/marriage don't speak the same language, is one justified in taking offense if the other keeps conversing with his/her family members or friends in that language, in the presence of their partner, knowing fully well that they don't understand the language?


  1. I'm multilingual; Igbo, English and Pigdin English, all on fleek.
    My younger brother speaks English, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Latin, French, a lil German and is going to learn Portuguese now, as he will be working in Angola (that's their lingua franca). I hate when he's conversing with friends and switches from one language to another. So annoyingggggggg!

    1. Lmao @ all on fleek. Funny how we went from brows on fleek to pidgin on fleek. Issorai...

    2. Thelma, the Clare that I should have been (language-wise) speaks french, German, Italian and Mandarin, plus Hausa, yoruba, Edo and English.

      But reality on ground is that I speak English, a little yoruba and a little Ishan.

      I feel like I entered one chance. I schooled in Kaduna for 6 yrs o. I can't say anything beyond "haba" -SMH

  2. So I speak three languages while hubby speaks two, found out he gets upset when I start speaking French with my family I suspect he feels like we are talking about him so I leave the room to speak in French

  3. I can speak 75% of bini, English and pidgin. Abeg I've tried!

  4. My parents have only english in common. My mom gets paranoid when strangers or outsiders speak yoruba. I think she figures she has been married to my dad long enough to no longer be paranoid.

    I speak 3 languages English Yoruba and Arabic. My husband speaks only English but understand minimal Yoruba. I plan to teach my kids Yoruba as a home language. I have a brother that speaks reads and wites Mandarin better than he does Yoruba.

    I am trying to learn Igbo magic.

    Parents need to teach their childrenmultiple languages when they have the chance. It has been proven thay multilingual people tend to solve problems faster than unilinguals. When youcant figure out something in a language mentally you shift to another language and attempt to process it...Harvard said so.

  5. 91% English, 20% French, 32% Igbo, 4% Yoruba, 0.5% Hausa. 7% Urhobo. Is pidgin English among? 100% there incase...

  6. I speak English, Pidgin,Yoruba, and Hausa...he he..But I really want to learn Igbo,especially the way they funny....TNHW

  7. I speak English and Yoruba language fluently. Little hausa, and greetings in Benin and Delta.

  8. I speak Igbo, Yoruba, hausa, a little of Ikekwere(rivers), English, French, Spanish a little(still learning though) ,Portuguese(courtesy my new friend-learning of course) then almighty pidgin mehn! I don't even know where I leanrt pidgin English from sef, I am the only soul in my family that speak pidgin English.

    1. Wow that's a handful of languages! I wouldn't mind learning Spanish, used to have a friend who spoke fluently but intimidation nor gree me learn. Currently I speak English and Yoruba. I know the usual greetings in Hausa and those bad words you pick up first when learning a new language then very very very few words in French too.

  9. LMAO, lemme borrow memphis' style

    english 88%, Igbo 98%, Yoruba 7%(learning from kabuoy's comments) , French 20%(teaching myself)
    and pidgin, I really have to round it off to 5 languages
    multilingual toh bad

  10. I speak yoruba, igbo, Erik, English and pidgin fluently and then little of huasa. I wanna learn Spanish and any other language real soon. Thelma nne, pay me and ama teach u igbo real good. Lol, let's talk biz, MMBM.

  11. Biko kwanu, when did pidgin english go from being "bad english" to become a language?

    Anywaiz, I speak English and Yoruba fluently, I know a few Igbo words( NYSC, comnents on here and Igbo songs in I've always wanted to learn to speak French and Spanish, but there's always no time(read "I'm just very lazy")

  12. When did pidgin become a language?
    I speak Hausa and English only, I want to learn Chinese so bad

  13. I'm unilingual too and it hurts like hell. My new nanny is Urhobo like me and I've told her to teach me. We started with some few sentences and I can't Wait till I can make sentences on my own.

  14. I think it is wrong to speak in a language your husband or wife does not speak or understand. It is insensitive

    1. Finally someone answered this question, I agree with xx, I think it's rude and insensitive especially when the person your talking to can speak a language your spouse understands. If you don't want them to get what the conversation is about then do it in their absence.

      I won't limit it to just partners, if you're among friends and one of them can't speak a certain language I think it's only polite for you to stick to the language that everyone understands. Yoruba people take note. Lol

    2. First paragraph.... You are absolutely right.
      Second paragraph... I hate it too but if the person is on a call, you really don't have to know what he or she is saying

    3. I think it's equally rude to speak in coded languages.

      However, some issues may be personal. It's left to your SO to address the issue.

      Set some ground rules.

      I also had a boss who would speak his language to some staff right in the office. I found that very wrong on all levels.
      If you are alone and wanna do such, fine, not in an office having several non-speaking language people (watever that means)


  15. English, abit of Igbo, still trying to learn Yoruba and also picking up on abit of French!

    As to ur 2nd Q,well it depends on who's calling u and how they initiate the convo but better still if ur spouse is uncomfortable, just finish ur call in private!

  16. I speak English and Yoruba language fluently. Little hausa, and greetings in Benin and Delta.

  17. I speak English, Igbo and Hausa fluently and I desperately want to learn Yoruba.

    It is also not good to speak a language ur spouse or partner does not understand in their presence. There's this Yoruba lady that lives with us, anytime she starts conversing with her people in Yoruba ehn, it annoys me big time and she has refused to teach us but is quickly learning Igbo.

    My aunt married a Yoruba man and has refused to learn the language saying she doesn't like the language and can't learn it. I wonder how she cope with in-laws, wish I was her tho.

  18. English. Igbo, little of hausa,

  19. English and Yoruba. I understand Igbo but can't speak. I and hubby speak English. I speak little yoruba to my children, I don't want them to grow up like I did.

    1. Stick to the language he/she understands except they're not there. Your motives might be right but not be perceived that way especially when you both have an argument.

  20. I speak English. My Yoruba is horrible. But when its time to negotiate and price something my Yoruba improves to 60%. Cant let them be over charging me.


  21. I speak English, and Igbo fluently. I understand yoruba fairly well and speak enough to convey my message to even the 'ede' people. I'm forever wanting to learn Spanish, french and hausa. Someday someday sha.....

  22. I speak English,Yoruba and Kwale. I understand igbo to an extent and can speak little.

    To the second question I don't believe it is right to do that in front of one's spouse when they can't understand the language. Speak what they can understand or don't receive the call in their presence.

  23. Anonymous Rider!2:57 pm, August 12, 2015

    Englsih, Yoruba and French. Of course Pidgin English.

    Igbo I am learning.

  24. I'm mulitlingual ( Igbo, French, Spanish,English and Pidgin)

  25. I speak English, Igbo and German fluently. Since pidgin counts as a language too, I would say I speak that fairly well. I'm currently trying to learn Yoruba.

  26. English, yoruba, French and Ishan. Husband is yoruba, I am ishan. But I speak yoruba better than I actually do ishan. It amazes everyone around me, as it does me myself! It definitely made the integration process with the in-laws a whole lot easier. Will have to learn Spanish if I am considering practising medicine in the US.


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