Sunday 13 May 2018

The Language of Your Thoughts

Language of your thoughts
I was thinking this morning.... in pidgin English. No, I am not thinking of pidgin English, I am thinking in pidgin English. I grew up in a neighborhood in Warri where pidgin English was the dominant language of communication. Though my parents spoke the local Itsekiri language to us at home, pidgin English was the common language because of the diverse backgrounds of the neighborhood kids. Hence, I grew up thinking in pidgin English. Have you ever wondered the language of your thoughts? I once knew a man that speaks in measured words. When asked why he speaks so slowly, he responded, 'You see, I think in Yoruba, so before I can respond to you in English, I must first translate my thoughts from Yoruba to words in English. I takes time you know.' Hmm!!!

As I thought about it, I shouted 'Eureka! That explains it.' It explains why our leaders have been embarrassing us in recent times. I have always wondered why they make such unpardonable goofs even when we know they can communicate fairly alright in English. Remember, when the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, made her famous 'There is God' speech. She had said, '...There is God o! The bloods we are sharing, there is God o!' As I wondered how we could be sharing blood when it is not money, it occurred to me, she thinks in her native language of Okrika and probably had difficulty translating 'shedding' into English, hence the linguistic misstep.

Next it was PMB in July 2015, while delivering a speech on the 'abduction of the Chibok girls,' at the United States Institute of Peace. The President said that the children had been kidnapped from 'their hotels' instead of 'hostels.' Since I am not aware that we now conduct SSCE exams in hotels, it is safe to assume that it was a linguistic misstep. This is so because PMB thinks in Hausa. According to Google, the Hausa word for hostel is 'dakunan kwanan dalibai' meaning 'the room where students sleep,' while hotel is 'Masauki' translated 'accommodation.' So, if PMB translates accommodation in Hausa to hotel in English, do you blame him?

For a split second, I thought it was only Nigerians that think in a language other than English until I read how France's President Emmanuel Macron goofed during his May 2 visit to Australia, Wrapping up a joint news conference during his brief Australian visit, Macron moved to thank the Turnbulls for  their hospitality. He had said, 'I want to thank you for your welcome, thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome.' Oops! How can someone's wife be delicious? Calabar man will exclaim 'Abasi mbok!' I am sure Macron was still thinking of the delicious meal and red wine he was served when he made the comment. However, thinking about it, I found out that the linguistic misstep was because Macron thinks in French where a similarly sounding word 'delicieux' better translates as 'lovely' or 'delightful.'

I have come to realize that the language of your thoughts can change depending on your environment. I have since switched over to thinking in Queens English, but on this Sunday morning, something telleth me that I thinketh in Bible English, because Prov 23:7 says 'For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.' I urge you therefore to think holy to avoid linguistic misstep.

Happy Sunday.

....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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