Code Switching In Northern Nigeria: A Study Of Kannywood Film Industry

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Code Switching In Northern Nigeria: A Study Of Kannywood Film Industry


Abstract


This study is an examination of the language use in the northern Nigeria film industry called Kannywood. This work focuses on Hausa-English code-switching in contemporary Kanywood films. Thenature of code-switching in the films, as well as reasons for code-switching are all examined.It is noted that code-switching in Kanywood films is mostly influenced by characters’emotional situation (love or sadness). Only in few cases the characters use the phenomenonto share an identity with a member of their group. The paper also argues that code-switching in Kanywood films is a conscious behavior as opposed to unconscious one in spontaneous conversation.


Chapter One


1.1 Introduction

According to Yusuf (2014:2), Kanywood is the name for the Hausa film industry based in Kano. Due to the cosmopolitan nature of Kano and the fact that most of the production is placed there, in 1999 a journalist working with a Hausa newspaper called Tauraruwa coined a name Kanywood for the industry. Yusuf goes ahead to state that the first commercial Hausa film Turmin Danya (1990, directed by Daudu Galadanci) was produced by Tumbin Giwa Production, Kano. After the successful marketing of the film many people became engaged in film production. Currently it is estimated that over 2000 companies are registered with Kano State Film Makers Association apart from others across Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large. The language of communication in the film is Hausa. However as a result of contact between the Hausa with the British in 1903 and the use of English as Nigeria’s official language and language of instruction at schools, some of the film actors are bilingual which is reflected in their conversations in films and this has brought about the issue of bilingualism or code-switching in Northern Nigerian films.

Code-switching is broadly studied in linguistics and related fields. Amin (2011:4) notes that linguistic research on code-switching usually focuses on grammatical perspective and sociological point of view. A grammatical approach focuses on the structural aspects of code switching which determine the syntactic or morpho-syntactic constraints on language alternation (e.g. Poplack 2000; Sankoff and Poplack 1981; Joshi1985; Belazi et al. 1994; and Halmari 1997). A sociolinguistic approach is concerned with the role of social factors in the occurrence of code switching, such as context and speakers’ role relationships. (see Bloom and Gumperz’s 1972; Gumperz 1974; 1982; Myers-Scotton 1993; Rampton 1995; Benson 2000; Milroy & Muyasken 2005 and Danyaro 2011). Sociolinguists define code-switching as “the use of more than one language in the course of a single communicative episode” (Heller 1988:1). Grosjean (1982:147) mentions that “Code-switching is the alternation in the use of two languages (or even more) in the same discourse. The switch can happen within words, clauses, or sentences. However, there is only a switch in the language, not an integration of the word, clause or sentence into the other language.” Gumperz (1982:59) defines it “as the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems”.

Sociolinguists define code-switching as “the use of more than one language in the course of asingle communicative episode” Heller’s (1988:1). Grosjean (1982:147) mentions that “Code-switching is the alternation in the use of two languages (or even more) in the same discourse. The switch can happen within words, clauses, or sentences. However, there is only a switch in the language, not an integration of the word, clause or sentence into the other language.” Also Auer & Myers-Scotton, who largely disagree on how or why code switching occurs, nonetheless sound quite similar in their definitions of the phenomenon. Auer (1984:1) refers to code-switching as “the alternating use of more than one language,” while Myers-Scotton (1993: vii) mentions that it is “the use of two or more languages in the same conversation.” Then Gumperz (1982:59) defines it “as the juxtaposition within the same speech exchange of passages of speech belonging to two different grammatical systems or subsystems”.


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