National
US 'soft power' diplomacy. Now in pidgin.Publish Date: Feb 11, 2014
US 'soft power' diplomacy. Now in pidgin.
  • mail
  • img
Amb James F. Entwistle presenting credentials to Nigerias head of state, Goodluck Jonathan
newvision

LAGOS - As a career diplomat he would be expected to be able to converse in several foreign languages but it's doubtful that Nigerian Pidgin English would be one of them.
 
Yet the US ambassador to Nigeria took to the airwaves to speak in the vernacular about the most pressing issues between the two nations, from gay rights and presidential elections to visa rules.
 
"Me I no talk say sanction go dey for Nigeria," James F. Entwistle told presenter "Oga Madam" on a recent visit to Wazobia FM, the Lagos radio station that broadcasts entirely in the English-based patois.
 
"Make I repeat myself, the US government no say sanction go dey for Nigeria because of same-sex palava o."
In other words, the US was not planning sanctions against Nigeria for passing a recent law banning same-sex marriages and civil partnerships despite the furore it has caused abroad.
 
Nor, he said, did Washington have a preferred candidate for next year's elections, at which incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan's ruling party is expected to be pushed hard by the main opposition.
 
"First make I tell you say US no get any candidate for mind," he said, according to the weekly English-language news magazine, Tell.
 
"The only thing wey go sweet us be say make the election dey transparent, credible and concluded."
The US consulate in Lagos confirmed in an email to AFP that the quotes attributed to the ambassador were correct.
 
"He knows a few words and phrases and received assistance from the staff to do the interview," a spokeswoman added.
The linguistic prowess of the ambassador -- whose profile on the US Embassy website lists him as a French and Thai speaker -- provoked a response from listeners.
 
Some were amused that a middle-aged white man in a suit was speaking the language of the street, Tell reported.
"Oyinbo man talk am for Pidgin and laugh wan kill me die. Lol," wrote one listener. (The white man is talking pidgin. I'm laughing so much I might die.)
 
AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
A tailoring project to empower PWDs launched
UK-based JANE Betts, who is the programme manager at Advantage Africa, was recently in Uganda to launch a tailoring project at Special Children Special People (SCSP) in Gaba, Bunga....
UPDF clarifies on Somalia salaries
The Uganda army has come out to clarify on a media report on payment of salaries of UPDF soldiers serving in Somalia....
Policeman, thug killed in city suburb shootout
A police man was on Friday night killed in a city suburb while in pursuit of armed thugs. One of the thugs was also put out of action and an AK 47 rifle, recovered, police said....
Al-Shabaab commanders
African Union troops in Somalia said Friday they had killed two "senior" commanders of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab insurgents, in the latest push of an offensive against the extremist fighters....
UN warns of world inaction as South Sudan famine looms
Top UN aid chiefs have begged donors to increase efforts to stave off looming famine in South Sudan, where a third of the population are in crisis after months of war....
Bukenya summoned over youth group
Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya has been summoned by police in Kakiri Wakiso district over a group of youth that had visited him at his Kakiri country home....
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter