vendredi 8 novembre 2013

Je m'appelle Ayo

French people are not used to Nigerian names, as we are used to English names, some of which are similar to French names. Although they are familiar with some African names coming mostly from francophone countries, names like Olamilekan, Chiwendu, Osaruese, etc., are totally strange to them.

On getting to France, I was shocked to find out that a lot of people are already familiar with my name. When I get introduced or when I am asked for my name, immediately I say Ayo, they are like, "Ayo ? Comme la chanteuse ?". Also, the name sticks ! They never ask me again what my name is when next we see... unlike me who is forgetful and hardly remembers French names facilement.

Ma formatrice and my colleagues sometimes call me by my full name Ayotunde, funny enough, they pronounce it well. All my documents carry Ayotunde and not Ayo. Since I was a child everyone calls me Ayo.
In Nigeria, I used get mocked for not being able to pronounce the letter R correctly. I had to abandon my name Rosemary at the university in Nigeria because I was teased a lot in secondary school for not being able to pronounce my own name properly. When I say my name, I hear Rosemary, but everyone else hears Wosemawy... It hurt me more when my little brother mocked me everytime I pronouced a word badly because of my R problem. He would immitate my accent and end up rolling his R like RRRRRRR... just like the Italians. My maternal grandmother used to sit me down for hours to help me learn how to say it right but it never worked.

Today all is working together for my good ! My pronoucciation of R in French is not noticed and I have never been mocked, on dirait all French people have the R problem. Although I have an African anglophone accent when I speak French, everyone who hears me talk for the first time ask me where I come from... they always, always, say j'adore votre petit accent, c'est mignon while my husband says c'est sexy :D (I am happy I am myself and don't fake my accent, trying so hard to be French... I am me.)

In English, I have got an accent also, I never knew that until I started working with English people, they think I have an accent, of course I do because I don't speak English like they do. They have the British accent and speak very fast that I have to try so hard to listen to understand.

After over two years in France, speaking only French every day, I am starting to forget the English language which I have spoken since I have able to speak. Now I am starting to revive it, thanks to the English people I work with and you my readers that I can write to in English...

Here is a picture of the singer Ayo that made my name popular in France, she speaks French and English fluently. Her Father is Nigerian while her mother  is German.
La chanteuse Ayo

Ayo et son père
Ayo - "Down On My Knees"

I won't be surprised si les français start naming their kids Ayo soon :) Wink wink

Lest I forget, a lot of people know Fela in France. Not the young generation but the older ones.

Bises et bon weekend mes amour <3

5 commentaires:

  1. I'm so proud & happy to have discovered this blog. Please, don't relent from this good work. Du courage.

  2. Awwww this is so nice. I love this blog. Je veux Parler le francais aussi comme toi.

  3. The singers name (a translation of her actual name Joy) should actually be Ayọ (note the dot under the o) or as alternative Ayo. (dot behind o) coming from the Yoruba language.
    I wonder is there a difference in pronunciation of the words Ayo (without dot, being the name of a board game) and Ayọ (with dot, meaning 'joy') if spoken in Yoruba?

  4. And shes pretty. Lucky you, you dont get to hear your name murdered by people who call it wrongly. how come Ayo is half german n Nigerian bt popular with the french? Lol. as regards your accent, your weakness was a blessing in disguise afterall. Danielle.