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Migos Said Nigerians Can’t Speak English! Did They Lie?

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‘Bad and boujee’, American hip hop group singers, Quavo, Takeoff and Offset, collectively known as ‘Migos’ came to Nigeria, performed and had the effrontery to bite the fingers that fed them!

They watched their brother open his marijuana-ridden smelly mouth in an interview about their visit to Nigeria and to say something as hypocritical as “…and their English wasn’t even that good”. How dare they? Imagine a pot calling a kettle black. When we could barely hear the one that voiced the rubbish? Abi?

Apparently, Nigerians have taken extreme offense over the comments made by these rap stars and have taken to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to express their heartfelt anger an irritation.

Number one, they are angry that they have been referred to as third-world. Two, they are feel belittled that these the oyibo Africans suggested they were suffering; and most importantly, three: they are peeved that the street boys judged their English and rated it sub-standard.

First question: are any of these observations made and voiced by the young men untrue?

Second question: was their entire comment negative or did they also include good aspects of their visit to Nigeria as well?

Nigerians need to calm down and stop taking offense over every little thing, especially when they know the facts are true.
If we could channel all the energy we spend arguing over trivial matters to debating over serious matters, maybe we would advance and be better than we are right now.

Migos’ comment was most probably directed at the Nigerian accent, as they mentioned the English in reference to how the people repeated their songs or sang after them. It was not necessarily that Nigerians do not understand the rules of English grammar.

Think about it: the average Nigerian who grows up in the country either learns to speak a local dialect first, or learns to speak English like their parents (who, most times, speak a local dialect). Whichever way, the English the Nigerian learns to speaks is flavored by the pre-knowledge of the local language and as such, can never sound American or British, no matter what. This is also why no matter how good a Nigerian who has never lived outside the country tries to fake an accent, you still know. He/she is bound to pronounce a few words differently.

Accent matter aside, how many of Nigerians who have been raised to neglect the local dialect for the English language can raise up their hands and say that they can speak as well anyone in England? You see young adults who claim they cannot speak their local dialect still make a mess with the precious English language they claim to only speak.

They still say “I am coming”, “it is scratching me” and other common Nigerian phrases that typify out unique kind of English.

The anger Nigerians are exhibiting over this whole issue is not justified. If anything, they should be proud of their originality. So you sang “bad and boujee” with an Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa accent, so what? Would you rather ignore our local dialects because learning them first, affects how we speak English in the long run? Because neglecting them, would mean you sound more like the oyibo (depending on who teaches and what school you go to), right?

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at www.blackinkm.com or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.

58 Comments

  1. A Real Nigerian

    April 30, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Mtcheeew.

    • LemmeRant

      April 30, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Was expecting to see Cisi Eze at the end of the article but saw Nkem Ndem.

      Glad to know I wasn’t far off.

    • esther

      April 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I rarely agree with you but it’s really Mtchewwwww to the article. I don’t know who is worse the Migos or Nkem who can’t differentiate lingos, accent and speaking proper English. Epic fail Nkem, don’t try this nonsense again.
      When I came from Nigeria, I used to get all A’s in my English classes. My classmates and some of my teachers were shocked. How can someone with a thick accent do this? I literally used to help my classmates with their assignment.. It’s simply because speaking doesn’t always translate into writing and understand English which is the reason most Americans are bad with spellings and writing.
      Nigerian parent and school teach you from the root. Your present, past and past particle. Many Black Americans speak what they call “ebonics’. But I won’t say they can’t speak English, it’s a cultural thing.

  2. Stephen Ron Wells

    April 30, 2017 at 1:42 am

    You people you always conclude very quickly
    Why the guys did mean it in a nagative way they meant accent that’s all it was not a bigdeal.
    Go and challenge politicians stealing all your money. No light no water nothing your here talking things that don’t matter.

  3. Stephen Ron Wells

    April 30, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Wen we Nigerians visit usa we could also say there English is not that comfortable so you all should chill try to think about wats happening to Nigeria ok.not fancy fake life and instagram
    Nigeria is sinking

  4. Nahum

    April 30, 2017 at 2:25 am

    nkem I am sorry but you are an idiot. What exactly is your point? That Migos was correct in his observations? That Nigerians can not speak English? What exactly is your point? His comments were completely inappropriate and Nigerians have every right to take offense. His Ebonics is no better than our pidgin English. In general, Nigerians are more educated than Americans. We have every right to defend our integrity and I for one do not understand this mentality of allowing outsiders to insult us because they come from more developed nations. Before you go agreeing with foolishness, why don’t you take a look at the person who is insulting you and ensure they have their shit together first.

    • Van

      April 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      More educated? Lol, no you’re not. You’re nowhere near the education level of Americans or any other first world nation. Wtf lmao.

    • Dude

      April 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Mr or mrs van, just shut up and don’t be a fool.

    • Oreofe

      April 30, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      “Before you go agreeing with foolishness, why don’t you take a look at the person who is insulting you and ensure they have their shit together first.” Word!
      This article just weakened me, My first year in Uni some commented on how I am well spoken (with my naija accent o). And this is not peculiar to me. A lot of friends and family also experienced this. Fast forward some years later I was training to be a science teacher. Had to write a literacy and numeracy test and many oyinbo failed this test. You won’t believe the level of this test – things we were taught in SS1. I was told as well as a science teacher (or whatever subject you are training to teach you) you are also a literacy and numeracy teacher. I understood what this meant better when I taught in a school and had to be correcting orishirishi spelling and grammar and tenses. Mind you that school is in a predominantly white area 97% – English not even inner city London o. So writer abeg park well

    • inori

      April 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you Biko , so Nigerian should clap because some arseholes insulted the whole country. Look at how she is bending over backward to justify what they said, have they clarified their comments. I wish Nigerians could even be more sensitive to what is said about the country and its people and not allow bloody foreigners paint ridiculous pictures about us. Some other person mentioned that we should go and talk to politicians first, what has one got to do with the other? Let the migos or amigos whatever they are called go and ask the Americans police to stop killing black people before they bring their smelly mouths to talk about another person country -bush cows

  5. omo-iya

    April 30, 2017 at 3:23 am

    Nigerians take offense to the most trivial things. Seriously, how would a Migo from Atlanta comprehend to which extent Nigerians can speak proper English. This is a classic case of overgeneralization, most of us are guilty of it. They have a limited understanding of our affairs so they overgeneralized. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. nope

    April 30, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Nigerians take offense to be welcoming and they being insulted after being hospitable thats the issue here. Imagine opening your home to someone and next thing they insult you once they leave

  7. nope

    April 30, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Nigerians take offense to being insulted and disrespected after being hospitable. The main issue here is people we were welcomed and embraced them only for them to say rubbish. Imagine opening up your home to someone and then the next thing they do is insult you once they leave

  8. Confuzzled

    April 30, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Keep on making excuses for people insulting you. It’ll get you very far in life.

  9. Beautiful stranger

    April 30, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Nkem you need to chill a bit..you are all over the place.

  10. annon

    April 30, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Uneducated idiots. There’s a difference between “English” & “Accent.” If you can differentiate, just shut ya weed smelly mouth. Our accent is good, our English is good! These retarded looking foreigners who can’t even speak correct grammar need to stop shading our accent. They probably wouldn’t have said what they said if they went to Switzerland or Germany. Countries that English is not even their first language & have strong accents when speaking English. Because Nigeria is in “Africa” abi. Hisss

  11. Cocolette

    April 30, 2017 at 5:22 am

    The question is… ‘can migos speak English’ ?

  12. Truth-be-told

    April 30, 2017 at 6:01 am

    @Confuzzled, bless you.

  13. Dolly

    April 30, 2017 at 6:11 am

    At this point its safe to conclude you like upholding unpopular opinion for obvious reasons “traffic”.

    Few facts for you; Perfect spoken English is different from having an accent.
    Everyone in the world has an accent peculiar to their country of origin. Cheryl Cole lost her X-factor job in America because of her strong accent not because she didn’t speak English, i mean she’s English.

    Migos critic is laughable or upsetting because these little boys cant even form a full sentence in this same language. Like you think Anderson cooper or even Don lemon can have a full blown well understood conversation with them, lol go to American blogs and see how natives find their comment hilarious and out of line.

    And the Nigerian phrases you emphasized is called local lingo, every country has it which is not necessarily a proper way to speak English. E.g she looks busted in the face or ‘he aint quitting the trap coz he gets his bread’ These are all American lingos not English language.

    Every immigrant in America who wasn’t born and raised here have an accent but that don’t mean they don’t speak the language well. American or British accent is not the benchmark for well spoken English, stop slave mentality, stop losing your identity. But i digress…

    While I’m not implying we speak the greatest English, the few that do e.g actors like Bimbo Akintola, Yemi Blaq and Edith Jayne Azu speak it well & fluently with Nigerian accent. You can understand them regardless of your nationality. Migos should never be the one to tell us about ourselves……Hell fudginnnnnnng No!!

    • Grly

      May 1, 2017 at 5:01 am

      Thanks Dolly for an excellent response and contribution, you have shown great attribute of intelligence.

  14. Temi

    April 30, 2017 at 7:08 am

    I am laughing right now while writing. Indeed they were right.. some of thesecommdnts need to be checked.. .. INDEED SOME OF THESE COMMENTS IT IS JUST A SHAME TO READ THEM. DUHHHHHH. AT LEAST CHECK BEFORE POSTING. WOW

    • Vienna

      April 30, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Did you check yours? ??‍♀️??‍♀️??‍♀️

    • EGO

      April 30, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Temi indeed, the nitwits were RIGHT ABOUT YOU, their fellow dimwit. See how you went and fucked yourself squarely in the face with your abominable spelling, wrong use of Capslock and horrible punctuation. Next time you try to mock people especially those whose comments make sense, do try to type with your brain and not your Gluteus Maximus.
      Happy Sunday Dullard!

    • funmilola

      April 30, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Shame on you!

  15. nnam

    April 30, 2017 at 7:56 am

    you guys should take life easy

    • Judgejudyjudy

      May 1, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Lol! Nnam, your comment cracked me up, hahaha.

  16. Ijs

    April 30, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Majority of Nigerians – the mallams in your hood, the hawkers in traffic, badly educated students of public schools, etc don’t speak properly. Have u read comments on Linda ikeji’s blog? Vanguard online and other sites that show u the real Nigerians on the streets?

    • funmilola

      April 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      And the ones that speak good English language are not real Nigerians, abi?

    • ijs

      April 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Key word – majority

    • Icrossmyheart

      April 30, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      But majority of Black Americans dont know how to speak English and ENGLISH IS THEIR ONLY LANGUAGE.

      Majority of Nigerians DONT HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH because last time I checked THERE ARE OVER 300 languages in this country.

  17. mamaisabel

    April 30, 2017 at 8:13 am

    @Dolly, you forgot to add Nse Ikpe Etim, Liz Benson. On a lighter note though, the typos in Bolanle’s tweets and also the ones seen in the writeup above kind of shows we don’t write good English.

  18. Prince Akoh

    April 30, 2017 at 9:32 am

    why are you people so much concern about Nigeria’s not able to speak English fluently? last time I checked, English wasn’t part of our original language, its a borrowed language. so you guys should take your pills and chill out! we are proud of our dialects. I bet most of you guys here don’t know or can’t speaker or even can’t write your dialects fluently. of course, it’s only in Nigeria you will see this kind of insignificant argument.

  19. Lliki

    April 30, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Nkem has inferiority complex, so, I’m not surprised about the rubbish you wrote up there!
    You’re giving excuses for those nitwits., I don’t know why some Nigerians feel like substandard goods immediately America or the Great Britain is mentioned.

    Speaking good English is different from having an accent. Every country in the world have their unique accents that differentiate them.

    • Hian

      April 30, 2017 at 10:49 am

      @Lliki what are you even saying? You just contradicting yourself anyhow because you want to talk. Omg.

  20. Rise

    April 30, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Nigerians seriously need a reality check. Nigeria is a third world country, it’s one big slum with delusion men and women who are still very brain washed. The slave mentality is still alive. Majority of the women too ashamed to wear their natural hair or leave their homes without caking on makeup or contouring their West African features.

    The accents are ear soars. Nigeria and Nigerians — swampland of lost souls who claim to be a proud people yet thier is deep routed self hate.

    • ijs

      April 30, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Nigeria is a third world country because its never had good leaders. People wear weave and makeup because they want to look like the most attractive versions of themselves and not because of the white man. Trust me if my natural hair was long I’d prefer it

    • Chuma

      May 1, 2017 at 1:01 am

      Another glassful, Rise?

  21. Marian

    April 30, 2017 at 11:01 am

    “We were surprised [with the reception] because it’s a third world country and there’s a lot of struggle in the city. To see that first hand was amazing. And for them to come to the show and know everything [lyrics] word-for-word. They were looking, they paid attention to everything that was going on. They knew word-for-word and their English wasn’t even that good” (theybf).

  22. king Bey

    April 30, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Nigerians get irritated even with little things like this..nawa ooo,is speaking of English a big of a deal? Even Bolanle came to disgrace herself…

  23. Not Nigerian

    April 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Worse accent in all of colonized Africa,
    It still surprised me you were colonized by British

    Why would you say borrow me instead of lend me.
    Why would you say Poorshoe instead of pursue

    Sometimes truth hurts

    • Spunky

      April 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Sharrap or shatap!!! Pick one a**hole..

    • Kwaku

      April 30, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      U are spot on son. They ‘ve the most horrible accent in the whole world. Thirty and they say taty. No wonder they are flocking to Ghana to get proper education and also pick up our accent.

    • Bee

      April 30, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Dindinrin ni Kwaku yii sha. Isnt the Ghanaian accent even thicker?

    • ijs

      April 30, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Its called bellaNAIJA for a reason. What are u doing here. Oh I’m sorry your country doesn’t have an equivalent

    • Chuma

      May 1, 2017 at 1:06 am

      @Not Nigeran. How about you go f**k your self now you’re done, huh?

  24. Me

    April 30, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    See Nigerians getting overtly upset because Migos gave his opinion on English usage and the Nigerian – They are far more interesting issues to focus on that pettiness. Nkem Ndem, you only exhibited unprofessional journalism here.

  25. Me

    April 30, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I wonder what late Nnamdi Azikiwe would say.

  26. kenechukwu

    April 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Whoever wrote this is an idiot……keep making an excuse everytime someone insults me….

  27. kenechukwu

    April 30, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    you i mean bitccccccchhhhhhhhh

  28. Blesyn

    April 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve learnt that you can’t measure intelligence by speaking good English.

  29. Carmen

    April 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Nigerians is a suffering third world country…Nigerians can’t speak English. But all these did not deter you from bringing your seemingly non suffering,good English-speaking selves to Nigeria,did it?what does that make you then?Ndi ara.

    Nkem,I have no words for you.Today is sunday.It seems you have not realised that you were included in that demeaning generalisation. You have accepted the insult…allow those of us that find it distasteful.

    • Carmen

      April 30, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      *Nigeria*

  30. Ijebujesha

    April 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    What a useless group of humans! Acute economic hardship, hardship driving people to commit suicide, an extremely directionless and totally static government yet the two issues that have trended recently are jollof rice and spoken English. What a wasted generation! So very sad……

    • passingby

      May 1, 2017 at 6:40 am

      umhum all this serious matter for ground and you still got time to visitgossip entertainment blog. Weldonesir/ma.

  31. Tobi

    April 30, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    English is a second language to most Nigerians. Being bilingual is a good measure of intelligence. Nigerians una try!! English is the first language of most Americans and they can’t get it right!!!!!.TBH Migos wouldn’t know good English if it came up and snatched those natty dreads Of dem heads. Who needs the endorsement of Migos ??? LMAO Wah di Rass!!!!.

  32. deedee

    April 30, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    @ijebujesha, bikonu, our generation is not wasted, quit with the generalization after all you are a part of the “wasted” generation. The country is a mess right now but it does not stop us from discussing other issues. Trends come and go, so live and let live. Migos or whatever they are called, can take a breezy ride in hell for all i care…….

  33. Idomagirl

    May 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    So what’s the point of this article? ?

  34. Ifeyinwa Atuanya

    May 3, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Their own be-tt-er sha. They speak American English.

    Let them deport me; abeg

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