By Aisha Abdullahi Bello
As the principal of a renowned private school here in Kano, I am saddled with many responsibilities, from managing the school’s activities to attending to visitors, sometimes from the ministry, other times parents of our students. This goes on and on and on throughout the term till the end.
On one of such tiring occasions, after the day’s work, I was trekking home as usual (I don’t have a car) when I saw some middle-aged men, most probably in their late 30’s conversing. At first, what they were discussing was incoherent. But as I walked closer to where they were seated, I began to get a grasp of what they were arguing about.
The conversation goes thus: you ‘Ausa’ (Hausa) men don’t know ‘au’ to pronounce English words, says one of the two men who looks just like a Yoruba man. This word ear (here) is ‘ferry’ and not ‘berry’, he adds with all seriousness.
The other guy, who is undoubtedly a Hausa man, then replies by saying,’ you are the ones who do not know how to fronounce (pronounce) English words correctly. Look, says the Hausa man, the word is pronounced ‘berry’ and not ‘ferry’.
As curious as I am, maybe due to my position as a teacher, I went close to them demanding to see the word which is the bone of contention that resulted in the heated debate. Lo! And Behold! The actual word they were all referring to is ‘Very’
Aisha Abdullahi Bello teaches English at Kuntau Science Academy, Kano. She could be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.