The Use Of Code Switching And Code Mixing In Nigeria (A Case Study: Hip Pop Music)

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The Use Of Code Switching And Code Mixing In Nigeria (A Case Study: Hip Pop Music)


While Nigerian scholars have examined code-switching in conversation and in literary language (Akere, 1980; Amuda, 1986, 1994; Goke-Pariola, 1983; O’Mole, 1987; Lamidi, 2004; Ayeomoni, 2006) this study presents a critical examination of code-switching in contemporary Nigerian hip-hop music. In spite of the fact that most Nigerian hip-hop singers use English, they still try to identify with their roots by mixing English with their indigenous languages. We present code-switching inf.–, the lyrics of five Nigerian hip-hop musicians: Sunny Nneji, Weird MC, D’Banj, P Square and Styl Plus.

The objectives are to examine the nature of the phenomenon of code-switching, to examine the reasons for code-switching, to discuss the stylistic effects of this trend, and to examine the implications of this practice for communication through music. Our findings reveal that while most code-switching is done in three languages – English, Nigerian Pidgin and Yoruba – Yoruba plays a prominent role. This makes the language the vehicle for the elaboration of themes within the songs.

We also observe two major kinds of code-switching; ones in which chunks of ideas in different languages feature in turns, (inter-sentential code switching) thereby producing switches at discourse boundaries; and ones in which expressions from other languages are sandwiched between those of a dominant language (inter-sentential code switching). The study concludes that the unique identities created by code-switching in Nigerian hip-hop have positive local and global influences for music and artists, and reflect the ethno linguistic diversity of the Nigerian nation.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Any keen observer of the Nigerian Music screen will readily agree that much innovation has been introduced by the new hip-hop groups whose brand of music is very popular with Nigerian Youths and Adults alike. These young Nigerians entertainers demonstrate creative ingenuity in the way they have blended Nigerian Language or another with English or its Pidgin variety. In some of theses pieces almost half of the music is composed and sung in a Nigerian Language, and the other half in Standard English or Pidgin variety. This phenomenon in language use has been described in socio-linguistics as code-switching and code-mixing.

Although this socio-linguistics concept has been widely studied, its investigation has largely been restricted to speech or conversational situations and most within formal settings Nigeria (if any) have been carried out on its use in other domains of language use, including music. Although music can be regarded as a kind of speech performance, it is a genre clearly different from any informal conversational exchanges.

This paper will examine new trend of code switching and code mixing Nigeria’s indigenous languages with English, with a particular focus on hip pop in Nigeria music.

1.1 Aim and Objectives

The objectives of this research “The use of code switching and code mixing in Nigeria music” is to show and analyze why musicians in Nigeria code switch and code mix their indigenous language into their music for proper expression and the use of their indigenous language shows where they hail from as in part 7 the states they come from. Aside that indigenous language is used to give better meaning and explanation of their mind.

1.2 Significance of Study

This project being a unique work will really contribute to our understanding of the music industry in Nigeria in particular. It will showcase and educate us why musicians in Nigeria code switch and code mix their indigenous language along side with English Language in their music. It will as well stand as a guide for the upcoming researchers or students who intend to write from this perspective. It is also important to know that communication is a key way of interaction of code mixing and code sw3itching ones indigenous language in music is a means of communication.

1.3 Scope of Study

The researcher hopes to reveal and examine the nature of these phenomena, to find out the extent of this practice, to examine the reasons for this practice, to discuss the stylistic effects of this trend and to discuss the implications of the practice for communication in or through music across the globe. The youths and adults are the most beneficiary of this study because they are young at heart and interested in entertainments in general especially the music industry.

1.4 Theoretical Framework

Socio linguistics, as the scientific study of society and the behaviour of people in the society are regards language use.

1.5 Hypothesis

This research projects will explain to us why musicians in Nigeria code switch and code mix their indigenous language in their music. Also, some musicians’ code switch and code mix in three languages- English, Nigerian Pidgin and Yoruba – Yoruba plays a prominent role. This makes the language the vehicle for the elaboration of themes within the songs.

1.6 Statement of the Problem

There has been a growing concern on the negative impact of the hip-hop music on youth in the Country and in spite of the seeming financial success and popularity of the musicians; hip-hop culture has been frequently condemned for its exploitation of women on duty. Most of the Hip-hop artistes have a lot of vulgarity, sexual, resonance preposterous violence, drugs and good time symbolism.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The hip-hop songs examined in this paper clearly reflect the cultural diversity and multilingual nature of the setting in which they are produced. Despite the fact that hip¬ hop came to Nigeria from America, it has been largely domesticated to express uniquely Nigerian linguistic and cultural realities created by the code-switching features. The homegrown hip hop stars have popularized their brand of hip-hop to the extent that they are engaged by multinationals companies (e.g. MTN, Globacom), drinks producers (Nigerian Breweries, Nigerian Bottling Company) and so forth. In fact, we could not but agree with Bentahila and Davies(2002) that the employment of code-switching serves the dual purpose of globalization and localization of the music. While the artists gain more fans and. increase the sales of their albums in geometrical proportion, particularly among Yoruba speakers, the elite promote the music in various countries of the world; thereby making this music not just popular in Nigeria, but also among Nigerians in the Diaspora. This earns the artists more invitations to international music festivals in Europe and America to promote their music. It is also evident from our analysis that code-switching draws on more than one Nigerian language, thereby reflecting the ethnolinguistic diversity of the country. Itupale Online Journal of African Studies, Volume I, 2009 Page 20 of 26.

5.2 Conclusion

It is also important to note that one aspect of hip-hop culture, namely rap, is gaining acceptance in the Church, particularly among the youth. This clearly shows that as the hip hop culture evolves in Nigeria, it has no bounds. There is also an indication that the use of the local language – Yoruba – is spreading hip-hop faster than lyrics in English only. The mixing of Nigerian languages with English in hip-hop music may also be a subtle way of resisting the overbearing influence of English in the Nigerian social setting, especially among the educated. A Nigerian brand of hip-hop is popularly accepted not only among the educated, but also the uneducated youths because they can largely understand the message and identify with the culture. In addition, many African hip-hop singers have often been criticized for imitating American singers in their attempt to sing and rap. They are even accused of trying, unsuccessfully, to fake an American accent and rehash lyrics that have been recorded and performed by artists from overseas. This is because many of these singers fail to recognize the fact that rapping is a matter of uniqueness in style, and that most music lovers the world over appreciate something that is different from what they are used to. However, with this new wave of code-switching Nigerian musicians are establishing unique identities for themselves and their music. As their music gains more fans at home, the continued global influence of the Yoruba language (particularly in the United States, Britain and Germany) has also made a positive impact on Nigerian hip-hop music, and this has encouraged hip-hoppers to improve in their creative efforts at blending the languages in their music. To finish, the data presented here shows two kinds of code-switching features in the five songs, namely inter-sentential and inter-sentential. The songs however differ in the styles they exhibit in these code-switching patterns. Three of the songs (Ijo ya, Oruka and Olufunmi) have complete switches to Yoruba refrains. The kinds of switch in the verses differ. In Ijo ya Itupale Online Journal of African Studies, Volume I, 2009 Page 21 of 26 and Oruka, there are intra-sentential switches. While in Ijo ya, the switch is between Yoruba and NPE; in Oruka, the switch is between Yoruba and English. In Olufunmi, there are switches between the verse (English) and the refrain (Yoruba) and the bridge (English). In Tongolo Yoruba and NPE are mixed in the verses and the refrain. The raps have a Yoruba structure with occasional switches to English nouns and adjective complements. The general code-switching feature of the song, however, is intea-sentential. Omoge mi exhibits features of both inter¬-sentential and intea-sentential code-switching between English, Yoruba and NPE.

Future research needs to examine how more Nigerian indigenous languages are used in contemporary Nigerian music lyrics. It should become clear that Nigerian languages, especially Pidgin English and the so-called minority languages, are widely used in Nigerian music, and this is yet to be studied extensively in linguistic research. Studies of these kinds can pinpoint how indigenous languages are used in a musical piece, and to what extent such musical lyrics are more successful that those composed and sung entirely in English. The socio-semiotic aspect of Nigerian hip-hop music is another fertile ground of linguistic study that will further showcase the rich linguistic diversity of Nigeria.

5.3 Recommendation

The use of code mixing and code switching in Nigeria music industry has helped to promote our indigenous languages for both old and young in the society. Therefore it should be allowed and encourage among our artist to free style with our indigenous languages in other to communicate effectively to target audience and others.

Government should make law enforcement against piracy and thorough scrutiny should be made before any work of art is released because of sexual harassment among the youth and under age audience.

Parental guidance should be made effective in homes against the use of slangs and bad use of words used by artist in their music so that children will not emulate it.

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