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A Foreigner's Guide to Common Nigerian Phrases.... (Lagos)

Just for laughs: A Foreigner's Guide to Common Nigerian Phrases and Expressions

‘I want your honest opinion’= Keep your unflattering opinions to yourself. Shower me with praise and adulation. Preferably something I can quote.

‘I am coming’ (except when said during intercourse)= I am leaving. Goodbye.

‘I am almost there’= When I finish heating the water to take my bath I will run just one small errand and then head to where you are.

‘With all due respect’= I am about to go to great lengths to undermine, insult and disrespect you. Please don’t act like a child and take it personal.

‘I will not take much of your time’= Forgive me and my insensitivity. Brace yourself for a long and rambling speech.

‘I will be brief’= You are about to regret letting me speak. This will last a long time.

‘I don’t want to repeat what has just been said’= I am about to repeat what has just been said.

‘Laps’= Lap.

‘God-willing/ By the grace of God/Insha Allah’= (These expressions have no known meaning. It is safe to disregard.)

‘I concur’= I pretend to agree. But it is important to allow me to use another set of words to say the same thing.

‘To God who made me/ I swear to God’= My only witness in this matter is busy in heaven. So I might as well lie to you.

‘Wetin you born?’= Tell me the gender of your child so that I can formulate an appropriate response. Eg ‘Eiya’, ‘Is that?’ or ‘Praise God’.

‘Who do you think you are’= Quickly establish if you are or know someone who can cause great suffering in my life. So I know whether to fight you or leave you in the hands of God.

‘Do you know who I am?’= ‘Do you realize that I could know or be someone in government who can cause great suffering in your life?

‘Why you dey do like woman?’= This is inappropriate for a male human. (More recently= dude, you are gay).

‘Moks’= Mosque.

‘Aks’= Ask.

‘Dress’= Move over/ Make space for me.

‘Where are you from/What tribe are you?’= There is no time to waste. I need to know quickly if I should trust or hate you.

‘Severally (as in, I called you severally)’= Several times.

‘I am a detribalized Nigerian’= I do not peddle my hatred for other tribes in public.

‘Tea’= This includes most instant beverages that are drunk in the morning, eg Bournvita, Milo, Coffee

‘Omo’= Powder Detergent. There are different types of omo eg. Ariel, So Klin, Omo.

‘Maggi’= Seasoning cubes. There are different types of maggi eg. Knorr, Royco, Maggi

By Elnathan John
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