Polluting English words with ethnic phonetics by reporters By Polycarp Onwubiko

www.odogwublog.com brings you the view of Polycarp Onwubiko on the murdering of English language by some Nigerians in the  business of news casting ……………..

Polluting English words with ethnic phonetics by reporters By Polycarp Onwubiko
I do not blame some people who believe that Nigeria is labouring under a devastating curse due to mindless impunity in virtually all aspects of its national life. Due to governance that condones impunity and mindless malfeasance in all its ramifications, leaders in different positions of authority pretend to lack the courage to address inadequacies and shortcomings in government establishments. The question then arises: how would Nigeria record realistic progress in all aspects of its national life so as to join civilized and industrialized countries of the world?

 One of the constraints in forging national cohesion and integration is that Nigeria is a conglomeration of diverse ethnic - cultural groupings with concomitant diverse languages, dialects, phonetics and perceptions of corporate activities that is germane to nation unity and mutual understanding. Common sense would dictate that ethnic differences must be played down for a common ground to prevail so as to forge the much sought after national cohesion germane for socio-economic and political advancement and civilization. Ethnic irredentism is one of the intractable fault-lines in actualizing national consciousness, tolerance and mutual compromise to move the country forward.

The founding fathers of Nigerian nationalism and independence did the needful in adopting English language as the national communication medium especially in the electronic and print media. Radio Nigeria and Nigeria Television Authority, NTA have employees cutting across all the ethnic groupings in the country. It is given that reporters and broadcasters in the two national electronic media passed through institutions of higher learning where English language is the usual medium of instructions. English language is domiciled in the general studies department is taught without mixing it with particular ethnic group’s accent and phonetics.
Nigerians from all the ethnic group and even foreigners who listen to the news from Radio Nigeria and NTA expect that reporters and broadcasters would be pronouncing words that would be comprehensible to everybody. But what has reporters from an ethnic group been doing in communicating to the listening public? Some reporters from the specific ethnic group have taken it upon themselves (and deliberating too) to be mixing English words with their ethnic group’s accent and phonetics. The ill motive is to impress other ethnic groups (and even foreigners which English language is indigenous to their nations) that their accent/phonetics is better and has to be copied by other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

This writer has written to the directors general of Radio Nigeria and Nigeria Television Authority on the ever increasing impunity and nuisance being caused by some of these ethnic chauvinists so as to call them to other in the interest of the generality of people living in Nigeria. I pleaded with the leadership of these national media organizations to write a circular letter to these sectional-inclined reporters or initiate periodic re-training workshop on reportage and broadcasting where proper English phonetics will be emphasized, and sanctions be meted out to pigheaded defaulters. Children and even adults learn English language from media establishments since the traditional functions of media is to educate to inform and to entertain. The mindless and nauseating impunity of these ethnic conscious reporters who proudly mix their ethnic accent and phonetics with English language makes the avid news listeners to be confused in understanding some English words and the pronouncements, thus making them to resort to guesswork. For instance, listeners do not know what these self-opinionated reporters mean by words like “esitate” (hesitate), “ouse of representative” (House of Representative) “el” (hell), “eaven” (heaven), “arsh” (harsh), “traditional title older” (traditional title holder), “compre-ensive” (comprehensive), “ardship” (hardship), “owever” (however), “inerited” (inherited), “old on” (hold on), “ave to” (have to), “ospita” (hospital) “ost community” (host community), aid of department” (head of department), army aidquaters” (army headquarters), “stake-olders” (stake-holders), “andshake” (handshake), “an elicopter”, (a helicopter), “an abit”, ( a habit), “ e as”, (he has), “earing” (hearing)  etc. I believe God never structured their tongue and lips making it difficult to pronounce ‘H’.  This disgusting habit is telling on many people indeed because there are dignitaries from the particular ethnic group like the Director General NTA who pronounces ‘H’ when he speaks English language but at liberty to omit ‘H’ when speaking his ethnic language.
This writer’s concern does not imply denigrating ethnic group even as he cherishes all the ethnic groups’ languages in the country according to God’s Will. The point is that if reporters from all the ethnic groups mix their ethnic accent/phonetics in the reportage of events, the tendency will be that many people will stop listening to the Radio Nigeria and NTA news, even non- indigenes not listening to the Radio station of their host states. This mindless impunity will make foreigners perceive Nigeria as a lawless and disorderly society.

 Other ethnic groups in Nigeria played down on their accent/phonetics when speaking English language. For instance, in Aguata local government area, the people do not have the letter ‘R’ in their phonetics, but electronic media reporters from this area would never reflect it in their reportage of events in the radio stations – state and national. Again, indigenes of Onitsha and Anambra east and west local government area do not have the letter ‘F’ but V in their dialect but reporters employed from these areas cannot pronounce word like ‘File’ as “Vile”. This is because the reporters are enlightened, accommodating and conscious of the fact that it is mischievous to inject their ethnic accent/ phonetics with English words to leave the impression that they also have a supposed “rich culture” in language. People should be accommodating with spirit of tolerance in a multi-ethno-cultural society like Nigeria and not be overtly selfish, self-opinionated and nonchalant on the feelings of other ethnic groups and even foreigners. 

The unfortunate thing about this gross impunity is that both editorial writers and columnists in the print media have the temerity to insist that the letter ‘H’ is abominable hence you read phrases like “an Helicopter” “an historical account of” instead of “ a helicopter “or “a historical account of” in the newspapers and magazines. The question which these ethnic jingoists should answer is: How do English people pronounce these words? Why should these reporters and writers ethicize English language thus confusing children in the ethnic group?

The fact remains that English people have long abandoned the King James Holy Bible omission of the letter ‘H’ in writing and pronouncement.  Modern Bible Translations reflect modern style of English language pronunciation. It is only in words like “Honour”, Honorary and “Hour” that ‘H’ is silent in pronunciation; hence they are pronounced as “onour”, “onorary” and “our”. Sanity must prevail in Radio Nigeria and NTA even in state radio stations in the particular ethnic group so that the children will not grow with the impression that the alphabet ‘H’ is an abomination in English language.

While awaiting the appointment of Minister of Information in President Muhammadu Buhari administration, it is expected that the Minister will restore sanity and prescribe severe sanction on the serial defaulters and even the leadership of Radio Nigeria and NTA stations since they have bluntly ignored representations against the brazen impunity.

Mr. Onwubiko is an author and public affairs analyst, [email protected], Awka Anambra State 

Polluting English words with ethnic phonetics by reporters By Polycarp Onwubiko Polluting English words with ethnic phonetics by reporters By Polycarp Onwubiko Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, July 13, 2015 Rating: 5

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