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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Columnist: Tony Pobee-Mensah

Akufo-Addo’s ‘affected’ English

I read an article about “Market Women” complaining about Akufo-Addo’s “affected” English. The article explained that Akufo-Addo spoke American slang. Well, Akufo-Addo does not speak American slang. I will not be surprised if Akufo-Addo will not understand real slang spoken to him.

Slang are words or phrases. For instance, I can say, “we cut the rugs all night” or I like your pumps. These are slang. The way you say it, which will be the intonation is what many people often mistake for slang. By the way, if anyone is wondering, “we cut the rugs all night” means we danced all night, and I like your pumps means I like your shoes.

Akufo-Addo says “Ghenaian” and thinks he is impressing upon somebody that he speaks with American or British accent. This is very, very dumb. The people who do such things are often the people who find the need to plagiarize thinking they will impress by copying something that impressed them; which Akufo Addo has done.

Mr. President, be a Ghanaian and be proud. You sound ridiculous when you try to speak like an American or British. I will bet you, if you will admit it to yourself, that Americans and the British ask you about your accent. If you spoke like an American or British, no one would ask. I have known many people make fools of themselves because they feel the need to impress with what they think is a foreign accent. If an American or British says “Ghenaian”, I will correct them. If my President says “Ghenaian”, I will think he is dumb because he should know better. In case he doesn’t know, it is Ghanaian. I bet a “Market Woman” will know Ghanaian and wonder what Ghenaian is or not understand what she is hearing.

Even my daughter, a mixed race, American born, takes the time to learn Fanti. She is teaching her children to speak Fanti. She told me how proud she felt as a visitor to Ghana to make it by herself to a tro-tro station and take a tro-tro from Accra to Tema. She tries to be a Ghanaian because she is proud of her roots while Akufo-Addo finds no pride in being a Ghanaian so much so that he has to pretend to be British or American except when he is running to be President: the shame….

BE A GHANAIAN AND BE PROUD. You can start by speaking English like a Ghanaian. I speak like a Ghanaian and Americans ask me how long I have been in America. When I tell them, they tell me that explains why I speak English so well. You can impress by being a Ghanaian; you can impress by speaking like a Ghanaian: Mr. President.

By: Tony Pobee-Mensah