Attack of the LAFA!

You know, it's one thing to hear about a phenomenon, but nothing beats experiencing the real thing. Friends who had recently returned from Ghana had complained incessantly about the rise and rise of the LAFA. Huh? That was my initial reaction too. It stands for "Locally Acquired Foreign Accent". You see, as part of some Ghanaians' haste to embrace anything and everything foreign, the beautiful Ghanaian accent has fallen victim to tragic butchering. As a linguist (3 years of uni is worth it just to be able to say that. Yay me! Lol), I'm well aware of the fluidity of accents and how easy they adapt and merge. However, there is a patent difference between somebody who has lived in a different culture and has therefore adopted (consciously or unconsciously) the local accent, and a person who has never stepped foot outside the country for any length of time.

I remember when we we in our teens, Friday's Afro and I would call this an "Aferican" accent and it's sad to see the phenomenon has not died out but seems to be under going some kind of revival. Originally the property of the Ashanti "bogas", the LAFA is thriving everywhere. In my experience, most Ghanaians speak excellent English but I can't count the amount of times I've heard people apologising for their English merely because they don't possess some kind of foreign accent. What is so special about a foreign accent? What are the thought processes that lead a person to think it's normal to fake an accent? Can anybody out there enlighten me?

On the flipside, since my arrival in Ghana, I've become a victim of what I call "accent-ism". I've been introduced to people who are perfectly pleasant until I open my mouth. The English accent provokes a total and complete shut down in pleasantries. Often the person will adopt a look suggesting they have just smelled something bad (it's not my armpits, I checked...) and even Stevie Wonder can see the "wo ye too-known" look that passes across the face. I'm by no means suggesting that everybody has been like this but I'm beginning to see that the accent war goes both ways. Now what kind of fuckeries is that?

To see a fantastic LAFA at work, check out the link below. You have been warned...
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=100986489923283

Now what experiences of the LAFA or accent-ism have you experienced?

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9 opinionated people have something to say:

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Lol, interesting. It's all over now. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people start acting differently, sometimes borderline mean when you have a different accent.

I experienced that feeli feeli.

Abena Serwaa said...

*LOL* You have made me laugh out loud! Really needed that. LAFAs always make me smile..especially when they are strenuously forced.

Nita said...

lol.This got me thinking, maybe i should hire a -get-my-original-accent-back tutor, because i just might experience that someday...

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

LAFA's are funny only until they are annoying and when the are annoying, BOY are they annoying! Why are African's always in a hurry to let go of what is their and accept someone else's...especially when then new accent they have acquired is so damn bad!

Although to stand up for my people I heard the worst Chinese LAFA the other day, she was trying to sound posh. HI-LARIOUS!

Friday's Afro said...

Sank, thanks for the 'Aferican' reference this word and others like it (Jafaican, Jaferican, Nigerican....) must be promoted and circulated worldwide.
Not so thanks for the'in our teens' bit, you musta lost yo' mind, I'm still in my teens!
Also why don't people like your Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrritish accent, i don't get it.

enyonam said...

Just saw the video. My description is in five syllables.. Un-be-lie-va-ble!!!!

I have heard a lot of LAFAs in the University but nothing beats this... yet!!! LOL!!!

Nsoromma...Child of the Heavens said...

U people don't know about Bro. Capo 'in London yeah, at the river Tens yeah, at London Bridge, yeah? NO IT'S TOWER BRIDGE FOR STARTERS U NINNY!

Sankofa said...

Capo Cheez is my hero of the week. "London-fuo chill up"!

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