March 11, 2018

KING IFEY MUONYILI: FROM A SPEECH DEFECT TO SPEAKING FLUENTLY

​I will tell my story again to anyone who wishes to transform the way they speak the English language.
How did I get to this point of fluency?
Before I turned fourteen, aside having a soft nice voice, I was plagued by the inability to produce two vital sounds in both Igbo and English: the /r/ and /ch/ .
Before I turned 14, I couldn’t speak the English language fluently. My parents didn’t raise us to speak the English language. We were raised to speak our language. During Christmas , I would meet my cousins from Port Harcourt. They spoke pidgin English quite bad that everyone admired them. I couldn’t even converse with them because I just couldn’t speak any of the Languages properly.


Growing up in Enugu city especially places like Acharalayout, Uwani and New haven, you would hardly hear anyone speak pidgin English, let alone English. Although, at the moment, Kids of this decade living in Enugu all speak the English language fluently.
My speech defect caused people to laugh hysterically at me the day I prayed in church for the leaders. In the Igbo language, leaders are NDI NA ACHI ACHI. Due to my speech defect, I ended up calling those leaders NDI NA ASHI ASHI, which means LIARS.  There was a wave of loud chuckles spreading across the church. After the service. Some men met me and said , “that was a nice prayer. It was pretty obvious our leaders are liars”. I was just ten. I was embarrassed. I knew I had a problem. I didn’t know how to change it. I didn’t even think I could change it.


King Ifey Muonyili
King Ifey Muonyili


Things began to change when friends jeered at me for not speaking the English language like a city-bred child. Everytime we had English, I knew I might be reading a paragraph. The teacher had to ascertain our fluency in reading. It was difficult for me to pronounce /r/. I would rather say /l/. I pronounced “rice” as “lice.” Yes, this is typical of people from Anambra I only made a decision to change after Jss 3. I spent that three-month vacation honing my craft in speaking.  I assembled all the films I have seen before and began seeing them over again. This time, with a long note-book and a big Longman dictionary, I taught myself the English phonology, and because the films I watched more were American films, I got used to the American phonology first. I learnt how to produce the /r/ because Americans love that sound so much.

I knew I couldn’t speak with anyone at all at home or even in school. I only practiced at home. I would stay in front of the mirror and say lines from films I learnt. I would pronounce words I have learnt too. Nobody taught me stress pattern. I learnt it by listening to the cadence of native speakers.
I began learning British English after my dad became besotted with the CNN and the BBC. I was fascinated by the differences between British and American English.
I was thrilled by the British English  accent but I didn’t want to speak it because, to me , it requires more energy and clarity. American accent requires you to speak lazily. So I chose the lazy side of speaking. Two years later, I almost failed English because I was using the American English to answer my questions.
After the mock exam, I went back to the dictionary to address the issues. I relearnt the British way of spelling of words, and the British phonology system.  It was a short while for me to change all I have learnt . It still affected my WASSCE but it didn’t affect my NECO.  I learnt my lessons. I also learnt that the British English is the standard in Nigeria, so we should stick to it.
Well, I began learning the two dialects of the English language. I learnt basically through CNN. I marked the British anchors like Aisha Sesay, Max Foster,  Richard Quest, Errol Barnett, Christianne Amanpour and Rosemary Church. I learnt their ways of enunciating words by listening to the ways they do it. I compared how they pronounce words to how I used to pronounce mine. I will dump mine and pick theirs.
I never stopped there. I always learn new words and New expressions daily. I kept improving till I got to this point. I can’t tell you that I know how to pronounce all English words, but I have learnt the exact way to enunciate these sounds. Whenever I see a word I don’t know the pronunciation, I check the dictionary and get the pronunciation.
At the moment, I have learnt to the Point where nobody even sees me as a city boy. Most people would  find it difficult to believe that I never lived in the UK.
Recently, a young woman who worked as an intern at the radio station where I work, discovered that I am igbo and I am from Anocha in

King Ifey Muonyili
King Ifey Muonyili

 

Anambra State, while she is from Aguata. She screamed her voice hoarse. She never thought I was Igbo let alone know how to even speak it.By the way, I still have people who are not happy with me for learning fluency to the extent that my Nigerian identity got completely expunged from the way I enunciate words. 

Nobody wants you to speak English with your ‘igbotic voice.’ If you do, they will laugh at you. If  you speak  fluently without compromising your pronunciation, they will say disapprovingly that  you are an anglophile.
Obviously they want you to become  a city boy or city girl like they are.  Well, I chose not to do so. I am King Ifey and I can’t be restricted by any of those  standards we set of a language that isn’t even ours.

If you can apply all these, you will improve the way you speak. Believe me. I have been there and it took me years to hone my craft well.
The three-month class with King Ifey is basically going to help speed up your improvement process.
I love to see you prosper my friend .
Ifechukwu King Ifey Muonyili is a linguist, an OAP and Journalist at family love fm 97.7fm Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He also runs a monthly paid online classes at the King Ifey Academy for anyone interested in learning how to speak the British English-language fluently. He could be reached via his social media handles with the same name.

My name is David Francis and the nature of my engagements include:

Philosophy (University of Jos, Nigeria); Research Consultant (St. Albert’s Institute, Fayit-Fadan, Kaduna, Nigeria); Editor (Sapientia African Leadership Formation Programme, e. V Address: Badenstedter Street, 99 30453, Hannover, Germany); Editor (African Home Reintegration, Spinnereistrasse 1A 30449, Hannover, Germany); Literature (S. E. M. S. Nassarawa State, Nigeria); Former Associate Editor, “Periscope Magazine,” Abuja and Columnist, “Seekers Delight Magazine,” Kaduna.

I simply try to question the ‘happy darkness’ by encouraging more hands to minimize ignorance. Just a dose of knowledge, is enough in training the mind, to conform to nothing except truth. Let’s ride this train together!

Send a message, or for inquiries to davidfrancisef@gmail.com

Submit your work (researches, stories, articles, etc)  here.

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