As a fabulous Naija mum, it is important to prevent your kids from imbibing this notorious cliché grammar right from cradle.
So, below we’ve circled 5 of the most notorious grammar clichés hear everyday in Nigeria
(1) Ating (implying ‘I think’)
89 out of every 100 Nigerians are guilty of this grammar redundancy in their daily exchanges. Out of that 89–57 are children between the ages of 2-12 years. You’d often hear phrases like this in a dialogue:”Ating/athink” tomorrow is public holiday?”Or “Ating” you attended choir rehearsals yesterday? It is even more saddening that it has grown to become something of a communication norm amongst many Nigerian. Correct your child any time he/she uses it and teach him instead to use lexical affixes and discourse markers like ‘right?’ When confirming things, or prefixes like ‘is’,’ did’ etc.
(2) Varenda/h instead of veranda/h :
A roofed platform on a building’s frontage where people sit out for air, which may or may not have railings or a balustrade, is called a VERANDAH (or veranda) and NOT a VARENDAH!
Nigerians have made referring to that area of the house as ‘Varendah’ seem normal and acceptable and growing kids pick this wrong grammar relatively fast. Teach your child the correct thing and correct him tirelessly so he eventually unlearns this improper grammar.
(3) Proper pronunciation of the word ‘envelope’:
The word ‘envelope’ has french etymology, so the ‘en’ is pronounced as /un/. The proper pronunciation of the word is ‘onvelope’ and not ‘envelope’ as it is spelt, as most Nigerians are apt to.
Showing your child the correct way to pronounce a word as seemingly simple as this is bound to give you refreshingly fulfilling outcomes as a fabulous mom.
(4) ‘Panties’ for underwear and not ‘pant’:
Nigerian kids today grow up referring to their underwear as ‘pant’ and this is entirely wrong. Originally(British grammar),the underwear is called ‘underpants’ and sometimes ‘pantS'(emphasis on the ‘S’).The latter(pants) is seldom used to refer to underwear and is in fact exclusively used in the US to refer to any ‘trouser-like’ garment worn from the waist down that is not a skirt or gown! Your child should be taught to say, “Mummy,I want to take off my panties”–when he/she wants his/her underwear taken down and not: “Mummy,I want to remove my pant”.
(5) ‘Scratching’ instead of ‘itching’:
We feel an itch and we ‘scratch’, hence we say that something is ‘itching’ us not something is ‘scratching’ us. Sadly, the upcoming youths have joined in on the norm and regard this grammar cliché as plausible and proper. As parents and as mothers specifically, it is your duty to ensure that our children grow up speaking English correctly.