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English in Twos: Episode 15

By Bashir Jammaje

Education is the most powerful weapon, Nelson Mandela says, which we can use to change the world.

This article helps and inspires students to improve their English and encourage their interest in achieving their goals without needing to go off the course syllabus, however strict it might be. It is divided into four segments: quotations and their explanation, proverbs and their meanings, correct and incorrect English, and some tips to improve your English. All the segments are presented in twos.

Quotations and Their Explanation

Life without motivation is like sitting in a dark room with lots of fear inside. Here are two quotes that can motivate you in life.

“If politicians will not think of Nigerian development first, then we will not get out of the mess we are in . How can one say if I am not the winner, the country must go to ashes? That is not politics; we must look at the progress of the country. In the first republic, there was one research in 1961 or so that projected that in the coming 15 years to 20 there are three countries that will compete with developed world. The three countries were India, Brazil and Nigeria, today India is in that class, because of good and credible leadership, the same with Brazil who are producing war weapons, ships and boats, and this is what Nigerian politicians should aspire for development.” ─Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule Dan-Masanin Kano

Explanation: Yusuf Maitama Sule (1 October 1929 – 3 July 2017) was a Nigerian politician, diplomat, and elderly statesman who held the Danmasanin Kano a chieftaincy title. In 1955-1956 he was the chief whip of the Federal House of Representatives. In 1960 he led the Nigerian delegation to the Conference of Independent African States. In 1976, he became the Federal Commissioner of public complaints, a position that made him the nation’s pioneer ombudsman. In early 1979, he was the presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria but lost to Shehu Shagari. He was appointed Nigeria’s representative to the United Nations after the coming of civilian rule in September 1979. While there he was chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid.

“Leaders will accept in public what they have accepted in secret. Leaders will not steal. Leaders are not corrupt, leaders will look at the common men with the eyes of compatriot not with the eyes of privilege few, leaders who know they will one day, stand before God’s account not those who will want to perpetuate their stay in office.” –Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, Dan-Masanin Kano

Explanation: well, this is pretty self-explanatory!

Proverbs and Their Meanings

There is a proverb for almost any situation. It is a wise saying that gives some advice about life.

Easy come, easy go

Meaning: used to say that a relationship or possession acquired quickly or without effort, may be lost quickly as well.

The darkest hour is just before the dawn

Meaning: used to emphasize that things often seem at their worst just before they get better (something like aski in ya zo gaban goahi… in Hausa).

Correct and Incorrect English

We all make mistakes when we are speaking or writing English as a Second Language, along the way. Of course, it is inevitable. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes so you become a more confident, capable speaker and writer. Here are some mistakes that should be avoided:

Incorrect:  I usually get up from my bed at 5:10.

Correct: I usually get up at 5:10.

Note: “ When the phrase, “get up” means, “leave one’s bed”, it is incorrect to add “from one’s bed”!

Incorrect: NEPA has taken their light.

Correct: The electricity is off.

Note: Well, this is a very common mistake among learners of English hence the need to address it. What’s more, you can also say, “the power went out” or “the electric lines are down”,  which are the classic American English phrases.

Words and Their Meanings and Examples in Sentences

Words are of paramount importance to our lives.  Voltaire once said, “Language is a very difficult to put into words.”  What is the best way to learn new words? Sound them out, The Seattle Time reported. Researchers found sounding words slowly helps people memorize new words easier.

Proliferate /pra ‘lifareit/ (verb)

If something proliferates, it increases quickly in number; multiply.

  • I can see how English  academies continue to proliferate in Kano!

Note: the “o” in the word, is pronounced /a/ – and the stress, on the second syllable – not /prolifa’reit/. However, the noun is “proliferation”/pra,lifa’reishn/.

Sleep/sli:p/ (noun) {U}

A substance that forms in the corners of your eyes while you are sleeping or when you have a bad eye (ƙwantsa in Hausa).

  • She removed the sleep from her eyes.

Note, that the word, here, is uncountable.

Tips to Improve Your English ─ Hester

  •  Read a whole novel. You can do it!  You’ll feel great afterwards.
  • Read children’s books as well. They have easier words and are a good alternative.

A big thank-you for reading and remember ─ practice is key!

Bashir Shu’aibu Jammaje

08168757065 Twitter: @Mrbashjam


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