Saturday, September 7, 2013

In the last 20 years, I’ve spent an hour daily reading dictionaries - Patrick Obahiagbon

Patrick Obahiagbon, the Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, in this interview with GBENRO ADEOYE, talks about his controversial way of speaking and why he chooses to speak that way.

What is your educational background
I am by the grace of the celestial choir, a legal practitioner, a public administrator, an international historian and a diplomat. I earned a degree in Law and was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria about 25 years ago and I do also have a double-barreled Master's degree in Public Administration and in International History and Diplomacy.

Why do you always speak 'big grammar'?
I am not really consensus ad idem with those who opine that my idiolect is advertently obfuscative. No no no, it's just that I am in my elements when the colloquy has to do with the pax nigeriana of our dreams and one necessarily needs to fulminate against the alcibiadian modus vivendi of our prebendal political class.

How do you talk to your wife, children and even your friends?
I relate with my family and friends very warmly and in an atmosphere of camaraderie, stripped of my confutational habiliment and gladiatorial homilies. I am a very peaceful, calm, level-headed and celestially attuned soul personality.

Is this the way you proposed to your wife, speaking high tech grammar?
Of course, the business of the day when I interfaced with my wife on matters of the heart had to be in plain Caeser's language and you can decipher why that had to be so. The matter in view did not permit itself of sphinxian conundrum. It's a long time ago, so I can't remember the exact words I used. We had a relationship for ten years before we got married. We're looking at close to 20 years ago.

Is this the way you were speaking in your school days?
I'm sure if you confer with my school mates they will tell you that I no longer speak what those who just know me now call "grammar." I could speak for about twenty minutes when I was in the university and you won't understand one word of what I said. I must say I have deteriorated in my grammatical construct.

How did you start speaking in this manner?
It all happened when my father brought me a teaser which stated that good orators had ruled the world and you must have to be a feisty orator if you must rule the world. As an impressionable young man, I alacritously threw myself into the whirligig of improving my usage of words by amassing new words on a daily basis.

Did you write exams in school in these big words?
I used such words very-very freely in my exams both at the secondary school and in my university and little wonder I had the misfortune of my English results being seized intermittently in my O' Levels.

WAEC released my results for the other subjects and withheld my English result. This happened for about three years. Twice, I passed the University Matriculation Examination but I could not proceed to the University because of my English results that were not released. At the end of the day, it was released after the third attempt.

How many dictionaries do you read a day and how often do you read dictionaries?
I have read and still do read a vaudeville of dictionaries from Websters to Funk and Wagnalls, from Cambridge to Oxford dictionaries, from Black's Law Dictionary to Encarta and from Encyclopedia Britannica to Foreignisms, etcetera. I developed my corpus of vocabulary by reading omnivorously. I have also spent nothing less than an hour daily on my dictionary for over twenty years. So, whereas the dictionary for most people is a mere occasional reference point, it is for, me a vade-mecum. It may also interest you to know that there is much to learn from our daily newspapers.

You seem to mix English with other languages…
On mixing of languages; that comes with reading omnivorously. You cannot but pick these words here and there if you have an audacious reading culture.

1 comment:

  1. Dis man needs medical care immediately

    ReplyDelete

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