“Tell me,” our assistant Professor, Yohana, requested, “How do you learn the American accent?”
Radwa and I stared at him in confusion, “We just know it?”
“Hapana,” he shook his head, No. “Where do you learn it?”
“Where did you learn Maasai?” I countered.
“Hapana,” he said again, “Maasai is not written. It is different. How do you learn to pronounce words?”
“We learn how to pronounce words from the people around us when we grow up. I grew up in America so I have an American accent but if I grew up in England, surrounded by people with British accents, I would have a British accent. It’s not something we learn.”
“Kweli?” He asked, exasperated. “But then how can you understand eachother? You write the same words but you pronounce them differently.”
Radwa and I looked at eachother, stumped, and shrugged.
“But then which one should I learn?”