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Posts tagged ‘English language’

Borrow’s Bible Adventures in Spain.


Borrow's Bible Adventures in SpainGeorge Borrow‘s The Bible in Spain was published on this day, December 10, 1842. The author was an agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society. His book sold wildly, and remains one of the finest adventures yarns in the English language, made all the more interesting because it is a true story. A Protestant distributing Bibles in a hostile Catholic nation in the middle of a civil war…What could be more exciting?Borrow seemed created for adventure. He was fascinated by gypsies and mastered their language. Eventually he wrote several books about them. Something of a loner, he was always most comfortable with outcasts and loved the exhilaration of danger. Once he rescued a friend from drowning. (Later he saved another man in thirty foot waves.) He became a cragsman in Scotland. A gypsy poisoned him.

His genius was for language. By the time he was eighteen, he had learned Romany from the gypsies, French from an émigré priest, Erse while his father was stationed in Ireland, Welsh by reading Paradise Lost in it, Danish by reading a Danish Bible, and, by one means or another, had acquired Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Armenian and Saxon.

His love of languages made him what he became. As a young man he was a freethinker. He tried to make his living translating heroic stories from Scandinavian languages, but was only able to get hackwork. This included writing a six volume series on notorious criminals, which worsened his melancholy. Reconsidering Christianity, he offered himself to the British and Foreign Bible Society. His first task was the “impossible” job of translating the Bible into Manchu, the court language of China. He did not even know Manchu, but nineteen weeks later demonstrated such a mastery that he was sent to St. Petersburg, Russia, to complete the task. In less than two years, he overcame all obstacles (such as paper shortages) to see it into print.

His next assignment was Iberia. Landing in Portugal, he made a survey of its spiritual needs and headed for Spain. Adventure began at once. A saddle girth snapped, nearly killing him. He was shot at when he laughed aloud at an official who mistook him for a Frenchman.

In Spain he met gypsies and read them the gospel in their own tongue. Roman clergy in the big Spanish cities resisted his distribution of Bibles. So he rode through the most dangerous regions of a nation at civil war, selling Bibles. He witnessed grisly atrocities. Threats abounded. He was arrested, but refused to accept release except on his own terms, causing an international incident. An attempt was made to assassinate him. He survived.

His Bibles were seized, but demand for them was so great that the greedy officials became the distributors, selling the confiscated books to the highest bidders and lining their own pockets with the receipts. In a customs house, Borrow spoke so convincingly to officials who were instructed to seize his wares that they themselves bought Bibles.

After years of danger and daring–and much bickering with his home office–Borrow left Spain “forever,” having done “for her all that lay in the power of a lone man, who had never in this world anything to depend on but God and his own slight strength.”

As interesting as The Bible in Spain is, it is only fair to point out that it shows more love of adventure and hatred of the Roman Church than spiritual feeling.

Bibliography:

  1. Borrow, George. The Bible in Spain.
  2. ———–Lavengro, or, The Romany Rye.
  3. “Borrow, George.” Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-1996.
  4. Jenkins, Herbert. Life of George Borrow. Putnam, 1912.
  5. Kunitz, Stanley L. British authors of the nineteenth century. New York: H. W. Wilson company, 1936.

Last updated May, 2007.

Dan Graves, MSL

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Fears Grow over English-fluent Jihadists Infiltrating America.


The State Department on Wednesday stepped up efforts to counter moves by al-Qaida and other Muslim extremists to recruit more Americans and other English speakers via the Internet.

“We need to be ready to blunt their appeal,” Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, told The New York Times.

The pilot program focuses on deterring men ages 18 to 30, mostly in the Middle East, from becoming involved with such groups, The Times reported.

As examples of such groups’ influence, authorities cite the case of the accused Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

They built pressure-cooker bombs they set off at the finish line of the marathon in April from information they obtained from al-Qaida’s online magazine, Inspire, The Times reports.

Since 2011, many Americans have gone or tried to go to Syria to fight with the rebels against President Bashar al-Assad‘s military, the Times reports.

In addition, the propaganda on al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate now has English subtitles — and al-Shabaab, the Islamist extremist group in Somalia, now has an English-language magazine on the web.

“They were setting the narrative and had a free shot at the audience for radicalizing people,” Fernandez, a former U.S. ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, told The Times.

He was referring to the unchallenged efforts for several years by these groups in getting their online messages across to English speakers. “Nobody was calling them” on it.

According to The Times, the State Department’s program includes posting messages on English-language sites that jihadists scour for promoting their causes, recruiting loyalists, and raising money.

For now, though, only images and messages will be posted — not efforts to engage extremists in online conversations, The Times reports.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

PUNCH Newspaper Interview: In The Last 20 Years, I’ve Spent An Hour Daily Reading Dictionaries –Popular Lexicologist, Patrick Obahiagbon.


Patrick Obahiagbon
By Gbenro Adeoye

Patrick Obahiagbon, the Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in this interview with GBENRO ADEOYE, talks about his controversial way of speaking and why he chooses to speak that way.

What is your educational background

I am by the grace of the celestial choir, a legal practitioner, a public administrator, an international historian and a diplomat. I earned a degree in Law and was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria about 25 years ago and I do also have a double-barreled Master’s degree in Public Administration and in International History and Diplomacy.

Why do you always speak ‘big grammar’?

I am not really consensus ad idem with those who opine that my idiolect is advertently obfuscative. No no no, it’s just that I am in my elements when the colloquy has to do with the pax nigeriana of our dreams and one necessarily needs to fulminate against the alcibiadian modus vivendi of our prebendal political class.

How do you talk to your wife, children and even your friends?

I relate with my family and friends very warmly and in an atmosphere of camaraderie, stripped of my confutational habiliment and gladiatorial homilies. I am a very peaceful, calm, level-headed and celestially attuned soul personality.

Is this the way you proposed to your wife, speaking high tech grammar?

Of course, the business of the day when I interfaced with my wife on matters of the heart had to be in plain Caeser’s language and you can decipher why that had to be so. The matter in view did not permit itself of sphinxian conundrum.

It’s a long time ago, so I can’t remember the exact words I used. We had a relationship for ten years before we got married. We’re looking at close to 20 years ago.

How does your family understand your English?

My family and friends understand me perfectly just the same way you understand me now though, I must admit that it depends on the issues on the piazza.

Is this the way you were speaking in your school days?

I’m sure if you confer with my school mates they will tell you that I no longer speak what those who just know me now call “grammar.” I could speak for about twenty minutes when I was in the university and you won’t understand one word of what I said. I must say I have deteriorated in my grammatical construct.

How did you start speaking in this manner?

It all happened when my father brought me a teaser which stated that good orators had ruled the world and you must have to be a feisty orator if you must rule the world. As an impressionable young man, I alacritously threw myself into the whirligig of improving my usage of words by amassing new words on a daily basis.

Did you write exams in school in these big words?

I used such words very-very freely in my exams both at the secondary school and in my university and little wonder I had the misfortune of my English results being seized intermittently in my O’ Levels.

WAEC released my results for the other subjects and withheld my English result. This happened for about three years. Twice, I passed the University Matriculation Examination but I could not proceed to the University because of my English results that were not released. At the end of the day, it was released after the third attempt.

Didn’t you have problems with your teachers?

It no doubt gave me serious issues at the university and that is because some, if not most of my lecturers, ran away with the erroneous impression that my attitudinal predilection had a deprecable tinge of academic braggadocio and intellectual megalomania. But this assumption was both mendacious and a fallacious ad hominem. I could not but take solace in that Latin apothegm which states that O Tempora! O Mores.

Was English your best subject?

My best subject in secondary school was government and religion and am sure that I was drawn to religion because, I now know as a student of Rosicrucian mysticism, that I was a student of divine light in my last incarnation. As for government, I just fell in love with the subject due to my early attraction in life to issues of political-economy.

So what did you score in English language?

English language was of course my hobbyhorse and passion but like I earlier asseverated, my results were constantly guillotined to my utter chagrin that I had to lapse into a jeremiad of lachrymoseim for a period of aeon. I would need to check the result again to be sure of my score.

Do you pray the same way you speak?

God understands all languages, my brother and I pray to God using any word that pops up. May I posit that the key points in prayers are your sincerity, purity of heart, walking within the compass and to what extent are you ready and worthy of receiving the benediction of the cosmic and the cosmic masters because as we say in mysticism- “when the students are ready, the masters would appear.”

Take my words my brother that more than seventy per cent of humanity don’t know how to pray but that is a matter for another day.

By the way, are there other names you call God?

God is variously known as Jehovah, Yaweh, The Great Grand Architect of the Universe, The Cosmic Host and several other names known alone to heirophants but which names are so ineffable for me to mention here.

Do you know that many people don’t take you too seriously when you talk because they think you are not communicating

Why will I be perturbed from ensconcing myself in the palatable arms of Morpheus because people have deprived themselves of the cultivation of the regime of the mental magnitude? I read all the farrago of baloneys and vacuous bunkum from pepper soup objurgators. The spirit of animadversion remains their fundamental human right. It also remains an indubitable fact that I get millions and millions of requests daily from people all over the world requesting for my verbal mentorship which positive cosmopolitan reactions have assisted my equipoise and righteous sense of pachydermatous garb. I cannot put my nose to the grindstone daily and expect to be understood by those luxuriating in a modus vivendi, verging on pepper souping, goat heading, suyaing, big stouting and isiewulising. Has a philosophical wag not once pontificated that things of the spirit are spiritually discerned and that it takes the deep to call the deep? We will speak more on this matter of critiques and chichi dodo another day.

You were there when a teacher in your state couldn’t pronounce ‘solemnly’, how did you feel?

I was indeed sad that a teacher in Edo State could not pronounce a simple word as ‘solemn’. That was certainly one of my low moments in the service of Edo State but the eulogies must go to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who put in place the infrastructure that made it possible to detect such an egregious ambience and this government would stop at nothing in cleansing the Augean stables.

Have you ever considered organising English classes in Edo State?

I would have loved to organise English classes, my brother, but you will agree with me that I am sufficiently busy just now.

Why do you pull your trousers up beyond the waist?

Hahahaha….That trousers style is called Yohji Yamamoto. It was my own audacious statement to remonstrate against the pervasive tendency of Nigerians especially our youths that took to the practice of putting on trousers exposing their lower anatomical contours and I will do it over and over again.

When you speak to Caucasians of English origin, how do they react to you?

My friends that are whites simply marvel and sometimes get maniacally bewildered when we engage, most times to my consternation.

Do you think that you understand English language better than the owners of the language?

I have never had the ambition to know the English language more than the owners. However, I must mention that they are shocked most times to find out several words from me they never heard of that existed in the dictionary. Yet, those words are supposed to be theirs. Na so we see am.

Have you ever met with the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka? And what’s your opinion of him?

Professor Wole Soyinka is an international personality. It’s either you have met him personally or by reputation. He is a great man and I enjoy reading him anytime, any day.

Can you ever be caught speaking what many would consider as normal English?

I speak in plain Ceasers language or what you call the normal language and let me tell you that I will hold my own even in pidgin conversation. No just try me at all at all o.

What is your take on the ongoing crisis in the PDP?

The crisis in PDP? All I can say is that I join some people to dey laugh o and he be like say my laugh go tay well well o.

Are you likely to contest for a political office?

I am still in politics, serving the good and amiable people of Edo State. Being the Chief of Staff to the comrade governor is in itself an art of daily political engineering.

Do you look forward to developing your own dictionary?

My own dictionary? I have never really given that a thought, but there is a young man in one of our universities who travelled all the way to meet me in Benin. His doctoral thesis is on “Obahiagbonism as a style of language.”

How many dictionaries do you read a day and how often do you read dictionaries?

I have read and still do read a vaudeville of dictionaries from Websters to Funk and Wagnalls, from Cambridge to Oxford dictionaries, from Black’s Law Dictionary to Encarta and from Encyclopedia Britannica to Foreignisms, etcetera. I developed my corpus of vocabulary by reading omnivorously. I have also spent nothing less than an hour daily on my dictionary for over twenty years. So, whereas the dictionary for most people is a mere occasional reference point, it is for, me a vade-mecum. It may also interest you to know that there is much to learn from our daily newspapers.

You seem to mix English with other languages…

On mixing of languages; that comes with reading omnivorously. You cannot but pick these words here and there if you have an audacious reading culture.

Is any of your children like you?

My children are still growing but I petition the celestial choir and cosmic hosts to give them the gift of kissing the hybla bee.

What is your favourite quote?

One of my favorite quotes is from the sapiential mind of the late Ikene philosopher, Papa Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, when he was quoted as saying that, “the greatest glory is not in never falling but to rise up after a fall.”

Are you planning to contest in 2015?

I always feel flattered and smile with delight when I hear positive commentary on my tenure at the National Assembly and the wish of Nigerians to see me back at the National Assembly. I am humbled but as a student of mysticism, nothing happens in my life by accident. I am a robot in the hands of God and from that point of view therefore, 2015 would take care of itself. All my efforts just now my brother is geared towards complementing the efforts of the comrade governor in the total transmogrification of Edo State which is enough to chew at the moment. Let me however use this opportunity of your question to appreciate my numerous admirers all over the world.

How are you coping with the Governor of Edo State, knowing that the two of you have strong personalities?

When two or more personages are united only by the bonds of rendering service, that in itself becomes an agglutinating fragrance. In any case, I am very clear that Comrade Oshio Baba is the Governor of Edo State and I am his privileged Chief of Staff. So we are working together very harmoniously and in an ambience of conviviality in our unstoppable desire in taking Edo State to the next level.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Macmillan Dictionary Redefines ‘Marriage’; ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ May Be Next.


gay wedding
It’s official. The dictionary has officially changed its definition of ‘marriage.’

The Macmillan Dictionary has redefined the wordmarriage to include same-sex couples—and may change its definitions of husband and wife.

The dictionary’s definition of the institution is now “the relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex.”

Its editor-in-chief, Michael Rundell, says the organization is monitoring changes to the use ofhusband and wife to see if it would change those words as well.

Rundell says, “In a same-sex relationship, two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as ‘wife,’ but if it’s two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye on that.”

MacmillanDictionary.com currently defines wife as “the woman that a man is married to” and husbandas “the man that a woman is married to.”

Under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, men in a gay marriage can in some circumstances be legally called “wives” and women called “husbands.”

The change is in the official explanation of the controversial legislation.

It says the terms husbands and wives will in some circumstances mean people of either gender.

“This means that ‘husband’ here will be read as including a man or a woman in a marriage of a same sex couple, as well as a man married to a woman,” the explanation states.

The explanation adds, “In a similar way, ‘wife’ will be read as including a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.

“The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female spouses in marriages of same sex couples.”

When the redefinition within the legislation was revealed, a spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage said, “We always knew the government would tie itself in knots trying to redefine marriage, and this shows what a ridiculous mess they’ve created.

“This mangling of the English language shows what happens when politicians meddle with marriage. They’re in cloud cuckoo land.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

THE CHRISTIAN INSTITUTE

The Political ‘Higi-hagas’ And The Negotiation Of Nigeria By Benedict Oladipo Koledoye.


By Benedict Oladipo Koledoye

I borrowed the word ‘higi-haga’ from Igodomigodo, Hon. Patrick Obaiyegbon, presently the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State. Hon. Obaiyegbon  has registered his presence in the political landscape with his very atypical manner of speaking.  To some, he is annoying and nonsensical, to some he is amusing, while to others, despite his use of words in different languages that could  be compared to some form of earth tremors,  he is making a lot of sense.

I am not sure of the etymology of the word ‘higi-haga’, not even sure, if the spelling of it herein tallies with that of Hon. Obaiyegbon.  However, I have decided  to use that word,  for want of a single expression to capture the dimensions of absurdities in our political landscape. It is interesting to note that, I have also taken liberty to pluralise the word- ‘higi-hagas’.

A survey on the discourses on Nigerian Political activities,  shows that we might have exhausted all the adjectives to qualify the Nigerian Political landscape. No doubt, Nigerians are very  good in  the  use of English Language, at least we have our own Kongi, as Nobel Laurete in Literature, to show for it. The first African to enter into this elite of the Nobels!

Even though Professor Soyinka is a winner of Nobel Prize in Literature,  very many Nigerians  have  also excelled in the use of English Language.  To this extent, there is no deficit of adjectives or expressions to qualify our  ever intriguing political activities.   For now, I believe, ‘higi-higa’ sounds hilarious, but at the same time, it sounds ludicrous and apt enough to capture the unfolding political activities.

Indeed  there are many ‘higi-hagas’ in the Nigeria political landscape.  It is so interesting and intriguing.  It is a political landscape that is not based on any form of altruistic values, but predatory values. Ours is a political culture that  is not based on any noble or heroic history, but it is consistently operated on amnesia. That is why at every  point, when it is expected that we take  decisive steps to truly evolve a new Nigeria , there is always  sinister ways of avoiding such moments by the political class. One of the amusing but annoying escape route is always the  invention of cliché such as ‘ to protect our nascent democracy’ and ‘let us move on’.

It is in this clime, that a father is reported to be campaigning for a son, who was a Governor, and has performed woefully, and he was reported to have told his audience, (that) “if you child has failed, will you not allow him to repeat (the class)?”.  We laughed about it, and indeed the son repeated the Governorship.  It is mind boggling how we simply overlook disasters in form of irresponsibilities and lawlessness of political leaders and simply ‘move on’, as we would always say-‘let us move on!’ Is there any other way we can describe this absurdity than invent a name word or phrase for it?   ‘Higi-haga’ is so apt. ‘Higi-haga’  it is!

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not,  the “Nigerian ship” is towing in the turbulent waters of a destructive storm ready to capsize the ship!; and no matter the political prevarications that  are sold through Government paid commentators on the pages of Newspapers and other social media, this ‘higi-hagas’ will haunt us one day. It is already hurting the soul of Nigeria.

I am a staunch believer in Nigeria project, I love Nigeria, I am proud to be a Nigerian, I am passionate about being a Nigerian. Nigeria should not be a failed Nation.  I am convinced that Nigeria should be a blessing to humanity.

However, when things are moving in the wrong  direction, patriotic Nigerians must continue to raise  objections to the political and economic absurdities.  Those who love Nigeria will not share in the vain hope that Nigeria cannot collapse, when some people are hell bent in destroying  the country.  I am yet to understand the basis of their hope.  When you are programming yourself to fail and you say you cannot fail, that  is the highest form of delusion.   For Nigeria to be the Nigeria of our dream, we need to be honest in dealing with the political ‘higi-hagas’.

One of the enduring  ‘higi-hagas’  is the  absurdities of the election of the Governor’s Forum. The endurance  of the new arithmetic  16 more than 19  till date, is to say the least terrifying. More terrifying is the loss of sense of shame by the  Governors, and the country’s political leadership.  For  discerning hearts, this particular situation is a threat to the soul of the nation.  It portends a great danger for the 2015 election. At a point we thought that the era, whereby   election results are announced in Abuja, while the election proceedings are still going on  was over. Recent events in the country show that it remains “business as usual”.  It appears, these guys are test-running a clandestine scheme for 2015. Will there be an election, or mere negotiation?  The latest meeting of the  Governor Jang’s group was on the 11th August,  8:00pm News on AIT reported the infraction as the Nigerian Governors Forum.

I am actually waiting to see how the same station will report the Rotimi Amaechi’s group that has 19 votes, whenever its meeting is convened. I think, the little difference between what happened at the Nigeria Governors Forum election and the  elections of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Motor Parks lies in area of the weapon deployed in the battle. NURTW members would have freely deployed dangerous weapons, like machetes, axes, and guns, (remember Tokyo and Eleweomo in Oyo State), on the contrary, the weapon deployed by the Governors is so lethal to the soul of Nigeria. It is  an assault on values, assault on the sensibilities, and a great danger of morals for our children. Something must be done about this ‘higi-haga’.

The ‘higi-hagas’ in Rivers State is still subsisting. It appears that we have ‘moved on’ as usual!  No news again, at least for now. What I find so interesting in the whole saga is the sectional dimension it took, and the long term implications for Nigeria State. ( It is very interesting that the debate and politics of ‘relocation’ and ‘deportation’ of some indigenes of Anambra State, from Lagos State is ongoing.)   In Rivers State saga, the non-indignes were accused of meddlesomeness, and have been advised to stay clear of Rivers State internal affairs.  There are indeed so many issues in Rivers State Crisis,  however, the manner in which the Political elites have been carrying on is very disturbing. It is important that the Political elites live in the consciousness that Nigerians  voted for President Jonathan, as such, he is the President of Nigeria and not of South-South. The votes of South-South alone cannot gain for him the Presidential seat.   In as much as I acknowledge  their achievements in politics, whatever it might be,  I think their calculation may be wrong after all. If they strongly feel that the ‘higi-hagas’ are mere internal problems, they should go back to the history and read about the 1953 Kano riots, (it is interesting to note that some of the elders are also part of that era) they would realize how weak is their argument. It is pertinent to refresh the memory.

At the struggle for Independence,  the Southern Political Leaders, made up of the Action Group ( AG ) and National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) earnestly sought for self Government by 1956. A motion on the self-government was tabled in the parliament by Late  Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1953. The Northern Political Leaders, made up of Northern Peoples Congress  (NPC) opposed the  motion. They have their fears of being emasculated by the well advanced Southern Region in the event of Nigerian Independence.   The Southern Political Leaders viewed the stand of the Northern Leaders as retrogressive and reprehensible, they staged a walkout.  The Northern Political leaders where thereafter confronted by hostile crowds, apparently southerners,  who jeered at them and called them unprintable names.

These reactions enraged the Northerners, and heightened the tension between the South and the North.   Riot broke out in Kano when the southern leaders went to the North to campaign for self –government. So many lives were lost, not to mention property that was lost. It is on the record that even at this point Northern Legislative House sought for secession.  With this background, and with the benefit of hindsight, knowing fully well  the politicking within the so- called “Nigerian Democracy”, allowing their followers to pelt the five Northern Governors with stone is a terrible ‘higa-haga’. However, it appears we have moved on again, but I guess it is a temporary reprieve.

It is imperative  that the Political Leaders and elders should have a rethink about the future of the country they intend to ‘govern’ not the one that have so far been ‘conquered’. A ‘governed’ Nation is a civilized and progressive Nation. A ‘conquered’ Nation is a retarded and lawless nation akin to the state of nature before our forefathers learnt how to use stone or fire not to talk about the age of enlightenment. To this end,  I absolutely agree, Nigeria can be negotiated, we need to once and for all settle some lingering matters, so as not to disintegrate but to truly be a nation, a pride of Africa and blessing to humanity.

Benedict Oladipo Koledoye

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

What Are The Cultural Rights Of African English Speakers By Alexander K. Opicho.


By Alexander K. Opicho

Inception of the republic of southern Sudan as a new sovereign state has a lot of lessons. Firstly it is an addition to the United Nations organizations, and secondly an extension of the Anglophon African atlas. The Southern Sudan republic came out through tortuous pain, but received with pomp especially by the people of southern Sudan and most warningly by the world English speaking societies.

Southern Sudan, now has a national anthem  written in English, its statehood identity bears an English sound ‘’southern’’, its  state inception speeches  are fairly made in English (with a few in Korean and Arabic) but above all the official  speeches are read  in British English. This is a cultural connotation that Southern Sudan is a new African state which also is a sub-domain of English cultural civilization.

On the cultural front, birth of the 54th African state of southern Sudan justify a premise that French as an international cultural civilization has suffered an injury, and also the same case applies to Arabo-islamic religious civilsation. French linguistic subculture suffers a blow in the sense that English linguistic culture, its competitor in the realm of cultural imperialism has scored a new full state bigger than France. The state is and will be doing everything in English language as its sub- cultural terra-cotta that will guide so basic civilizations like naming of the children. While, an Arabo-islamic religious civilization has simply suffered a decimation, as in the words of European -American Writer; Ayn Rand,in form of an ominous fate of having its atlas shrugged.

The cultural future of Southern Sudan is not Dinka nor Nilotic in any manner, is going to be purely English. Southern Sudan is going to run its educational programmes from baby class to university in English, it will have a Catholic faith conducted in English, it will meanwhile use Shakespeare as drama set books at o level, A level, diploma colleges and in university schools of art and literature. Only after a generation or so to have its first batch of Sudanese English writers. Who will write literature of anti-Khartoum struggle but in British or perhaps in American English?

The eventuality of the Republic of Southern Sudan has extended the African strength of African-English culture and English linguistic civilization, both at language and commercial level. Africa is now the second largest English speaking geographical block, after the United States of America, and then followed by Australia, then Canada, India and finally the United Kingdom. This means that with proper management of the economy, Africa will be second to America in supply of actors, dramatists, scholars, novelists, poets, musicians and journalists who write and perform in English, as other Anglophone regions trail behind. This is so obvious when the current African English speaking population of more than 900 million people is taken as a basis of the projection. However, the question is that what are English cultural rights of an African? Given the position that speaking of a language alone is not true civilization, instead it is pure cultural enslavement that only ennobles the owner of the culture as at the same time ignoble the foreign speaker.

The point of concern is the following questions to be answered; can an African formulate an English word; can an African formulate an English vocabulary? Can the English culture be extended to justify and accommodate a special brand of English language known as African English the way we have American English and Canadian English? Answers can be obtained only if western English civilizations mature to a level of true and unselfish intercultural relations.

The study of English language shows that most of the words used in English are not native and indigenous. They are cultural borrowings from French, Latin and Greek. The word: entrepreneur is a combination of three French verbs etre pro noir.The words; stratagem and academy are both of Greek origin, firstly used by Homer and Plato respectively. Shakespeare formulated more than one hundred English words. Some of them are; leapfrog, oxymoron, mercurial and clown. Falsifity and wench are also ascribed to him. Rudyard Kipling a pro-colonial English writer introduced very many words ;coolies and white man’s burden are his main English cultural hallmark while George Orwell the English anti-communist writer formulated double-speak and big-brother among very many others. American political writer Dr. Rourke introduced the word intermitics in 2003, meaning both international and domestic. The word has already received a very strong English cultural stature that its usage does not stir any grammatical furore.

In relation to the above observation, it is therefore notable that English language is not yet complete, it does not have enough words to describe, label and explain each and every situation that befall its users. At most, very many African situations don’t have English words that can be used in their description. It was under this cultural, linguistic and psychological quagmire that Chinua Achebe used the words; Ogbanje in things fall apart when describing a unique troublesome child, Osu, in no longer at ease when describing a girl whose natural position is that she was not born to be married and mad-medico in Anthills of the Savannah when describing unique corruptible behavior. Alex Haley used the word tuaobob, in the roots when describing unique American hostility towards a Negro slave, a situation beyond the capture of ordinary English linguistic civilization. However, a severe cultural and intellectual contradiction is that none of the above words have ever been adopted to be used as neutral English words in spite of the situation that there are no indigenous English words for the same. Reasons for their neglect are that they are of African origin but not of European or North American origin.

There are still other situations that reflect a lacuna in the English linguistic culture that can easily be described by African words. But the sad challenge is that authorities in western English language are neither ready nor willing to adopt a word of African origin for the purpose. It is therefore the duty of persons and stakeholders to English civilizations to appreciate each and every sub-culture that makes up the broad English linguistic civilization so that English as a culture can be carried above degradations that relate to cultural slavery.

Recently in the realm of past two years two African artists made very significant contributions to cultural extension of English linguistic sub-culture. These Africans  are; professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria who was born and brought up in Yoruba nation of Nigeria and another one is a Ugandan peasant musician in a town of Mbale by the name Betty Nafuna. During his lecture on African social science and research at CODESERIA conference in Senegal, Soyinka,alerted his audience on the goodness of the name being more sweet than tyranny of taste, in this presentations Soyinka formulated and introduced the word;  ‘overrecheaosness’. Soyinka pointed out that this word was the most pertinent to be used in communicating the concept he was describing but it was not yet in the English dictionaries. Up to now no English dictionary publisher has heeded the advice of professor Soyinka to put the word, ‘overrecheausness’ in the dictionary. What a beacon of cultural laziness!

Betty Nafuna is a betty- peasant, illiterate not schooled in any manner of modern art brought up in rural villages of east Uganda, speaking Gishu language as her mother tongue, the language of Masaba Nation, but surprisingly she sings in English. And even her Musical band is known as Mbale Brosters. The word brosters being an artistic blend of the words brothers and sisters. She is able to sing in English despite of her lack of formal education because of cultural factors that in Uganda English is not a basic measure of literacy. All Ugandans; old and young, illiterate and literate, graduates and non-graduate speak British English with equal fluency. They adopted the language as their lingua franca since inception of their independence under the auspice of President, Dr. Sir Milton Apollo Obote. It  is under such context of cultivation that Betty Nafuna formed the word; Brosters. This is technically described as cultural participation. Question; when is this word brosters going to be adopted in England?

ALEXANDER   K   OPICHO

ELDORET, KENYA

aopicho@yahoo.com

Phone; 0727466793

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters 

The Bus Preacher Vs The Queen Of The Coast By Don Norman Obinna.


By Don Norman Obinna

As you are about to read this column, thank God wholeheartedly if you are among those he has delivered from boarding public buses. The menace associated with this act, to say the least is exasperating. Apart from the driver’s/conductor’s nuisance which you have no choice but to tolerate, you also have these obnoxious and guileful brown envelop carrying preachers to contend with.

Apparently, religion has become the opium of the people simply because of the government dereliction of its statutory obligations. The more people are impoverished, the more they become impressionable to all sorts of messages in the name of the gospel. The more unemployment accelerates the more young men and women resorts to self-serving preaching as a means of survival.

It is so loathsome to say the least that this is done without considerations for the passengers’ susceptibilities. Beside the badly spoken English language mostly used by some of them to convey the message and saliva often poured on passengers sitting close-by, the content of their messages are oftentimes contradictory to the real gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My experience inside these public buses these past few weeks my car broke down upon my return from Abia state because of bad roads is not palatable at all but, at least I found this particular one very interesting to share with you on this column. The day was Friday last week and the weather also was not too convivial. I hurriedly boarded a bus heading to Ikeja from Obalende, to at least avoid being drenched by the rain which at that point had already started drizzling. Sitting beside me was a young man wearing a faded but well ironed suit probably in his 40’s. As the bus was about to move, this young man stood up and greeted everyone in the bus. His mission was to preach the gospel which according to him, he has been doing for the past 20 years.

As he was about to commence preaching, he ordered the men putting on caps to put them off, while the women he commanded to cover their heads as a sign of respect to the presence of God which he boasted was already overflowing in the bus. I was totally dismayed by the alacrity with which almost everybody in the bus complied with this command. After the praying bout and indecipherable tongue speaking, the shout of “Halleluiah” rented the entire bus as he commanded passengers to wave their problems away by waving unto the Lord.

Trust Nigerians, the compliance was very tremendous. Buoyed by this, he commandingly introduced himself as a prophet of God sent to deliver people, especially passengers from bondage and accident causing demons. He indirectly derided the passengers as people of little faith and challenged God to physically manifest his power in this bus if indeed he is God’s servant. His preaching to those willing to listen was on the powers and the manipulations of evil forces and marine spirits.

As we got to the middle of Third Mainland Bridge, he stopped the preaching abruptly and started mumbling. Quietly but with a strong voice he said, “I perceived the presence of the queen of the Coast in this bus”. Gullibly some shouted, “The blood of Jesus”. At this point, the prophet violently began to bind and loose and subsequently demanded that all eyes should be closed. Suddenly there was this horrific scream which interrupted the prayer and forced every eyes opened.

Behold, it emanated from a beautiful, fair in complexion and smartly dressed lady sitting at the rear seat of the LT 35 bus. With her eyes ablaze with contrived anger and contorted face, she pointed at the so called man of God and declared, “This is my territory and how dare you think you can stop me? You dare not disparage my kingdom henceforth, understand! She yelled at the prophet. In fact, you must be extremely discernable to understand that this was a contrived plot ingeniously executed by two guile fellows just to extort gullible and unsuspecting passengers in the name of God.

At this point, there was an uneasy calm inside the bus; passengers were already jittery, especially those sitting at the rear seat with the so called queen of the coast. Expectedly the prophet replied in a commanding tune “shut up you blood sucking demon from the marine world. I come against you in the name of our Lord Jesus”. With her eyes fixed on the preacher, the lady laughed scornfully and wanted to utter some words, but the so called prophet cuts in. “I seal your mouth with heavenly super glue. And by the power vested upon me as the oracle of Jehovah the most high God, I put you into temporary sleep in the mighty name of Jesus” he commanded. But trust Nigerians, almost everybody was too nervous to chorus Amen, at least not in the middle of the lagoon. It will be like insulting someone right in her compound. “God of Elijah, Fireeeeeeeeeee,” He thundered. Lifting his hands above his shoulders he continued, Jehovah! No be you bi the snake wey dey swallow snake? The burning fire, oya! Gbooosshhaa!

After putting up a little resistance, the mighty queen of the coast staggered a bit and suddenly fell into sleep as commanded by the prophet. Much to the relief of the passengers, especially those at the rear seat who kept shouting, “Thank you Jesus”. Buoyed by the ingenuousness of the passengers the prophet continued, “The Lord did not lead me into this bus accidentally. I am here to save your souls from this blood sucking demon from hell”. Pointing at the queen of the coast, he continued. Her plan was to cause a fatal accident and subsequently remit blood to her insatiable kingdom, but the Lord has a counter plan.” Praise the Lord” he thundered in heavily Edo accent. But people responded pragmatically.

In fact, the passengers’ subservience to this prophet was so nauseating to say the least. The fact that almost everyone acted as if they were under spell made me quiver with anger. I shook my head in disbelief; does this mean that Nigerians go to church in vain? I mumbled to myself rhetorically. At least the bible is replete with compendious information about God and his modus operandi. No wonder the bible says “my people perished because of lack of knowledge”. I concluded frustratingly.

After some abracadabra and fake spiritual demonstrations, the prophet cleared his throat and began to prophesy, this time in outdated English language reminiscent of the King James Version. “There is a man in this bus, who loves everything and anything in skirt. Repent ye son of man for the anger of God is come upon ye and your end shall be worst than your beginning”. He warned repeatedly. With his eyes firmly closed and arms fidgety he continued, “There is a young lady in this bus whose plan is to spend this weekend with a man who is not her husband. Thou shall try it not as ye may not be alive to tell the story”. But before he could conclude the statement; the gullible had shouted, “It is not my portion in Jesus name”.

My frustration grew further at this point; how can people be so dumb? Of course a man having so many bed partners or a lady planning to spend weekend in a man’s house on a Friday are commonly acceptable social activities in Lagos; albeit religious people who will argue on the contrary. So it is expected that a bus carrying approximately 23 passengers will have all manner of people on board. I was so disappointed that people could not figure out that this man was psychologically manipulating them in the name of God.

As I sat still pondering the matter with my eyes fixed on the so called prophet, he sneaked a surreptitious glance at me. Absolutely noticing my slightly protruded stomach, he continued. “Thank you Jesus. Oh! There is a young man here with a pot-belly, hummmmm! How long shall thou continue to imbibe alcohol? I see death coming like a whirled wind. But thank God your deliverance has come. It shall not be your portion, in the mighty name of Jesus” he shouted. The chorus of Amen like a thunder rented the bus once again to my sheer trepidation.

At this point I was indignant and was almost stirred to protest, but quickly subjected my temperament under control. Apparently aware of my disposition, the so called prophet threw a light-hearted banter just to placate me and also ameliorate the almost tensed atmosphere in the bus.

Noticing that he was running out of time, he hurriedly asked everyone to bow down their heads for prayer. After the prayer, he afterward brought out a large quantity of brown envelops and cajoled passengers to give cheerfully to the Lord of harvest who is seeking for that faithful person to bless abundantly according to his riches in Christ Jesus.

Absolutely astonished by the passengers’ response, he tactically admonished them on the power of seed. And thereafter challenge them to try God with their seeds. He mentioned all kinds of seed and their ripple effects and encouraged the passengers not to miss this wonderful opportunity with the Lord for a last minute miracle. Of course the acquiescence was amazing. Smiling, he asked everybody to lift their hands up for benediction.

As he shouted in the name of Jesus, behold there was a heavy sneeze; alas, the queen of the coast is back to consciousness again staring at everyone to the consternation of the passengers. As he turned his attention towards her, he amorously asked, “Are you ready for your salvation now”? Humbly the queen of the coast nodded in affirmative. “Are you ready to abjure marine spirit and accept Jesus as your Lord and saviour”? The prophet asked, this time more intimately.  Yes, she replied covering her face with her palm.” Do you desire a total deliverance from the marine world”? He asked yet again, encouraging her to speak up. Crying, she replied “yes”. “In that case you will follow me to my church immediately” he ordered the lady.

At this point, the prophet leapt for joy and ordered everybody to put their hands together for the Lord. As this was going on, he beckoned the queen of the coast to rise onto her feet and follow him. He gleefully thanked everybody in the bus for granting him audience. And the next thing we heard was, “driver owa oooO! 7up mo ti fe bole. I could not help but laugh uncontrollably as the queen of the coast hurriedly alighted from the bus with her man. Did I hear someone say ‘a perfect drama filled with contrivances of plot?’ Lagos na waa!

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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