Investigating The Use Of Pidgin English In The Interaction Of The Students Of Tertiary Institution

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

Investigating The Use Of Pidgin English In The Interaction Of The Students Of Tertiary Institution


Abstract


The aim of this study focused on the investigation of the use of pidgin english in the interaction of the students of tertiary institution using Caritas University, Enugu as case study. The study adopted a survey research design and with the aid of convenient sampling techniques, one hundred (100) participants who are Student and Lecturers in Caritas University Enugu State was enrolled for the study. A well structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which all were received and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage as well as frequencies and table. Findings of the study shows that Nigerian Pidgin is gaining strong ground in educational environment instead of standard use of English language and is substantially being used in communication between staff and students on a daily basis. Thus this affects students social interaction, teaching learning process, learning outcome, sentence construction and academic performance. The study therefore recommends that Staff and students in tertiary institution across the federation should engage the use of Standard English language in the communication rather than use of Nigerian Pidgin. Moreso, the use of Nigerian Pidgin by students during communication should be discouraged by implementing laws that can combat wrong use of English in the school environment.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses
  • 4.5 Discussion of Findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

One of the most important differences between man and animal is man’s ability to speak and make others understand him. Language is only possible because within each society, people agree to understand a particular pattern of sound in a particular way. For instance, all English speaking countries understand the meaning of the word ‘water’. According to Akindele and Adegbije, language is:

A human phenomenon that has form which can be described in terms of units of sound (phonemes), word, morphemes, phrases, sentences and paragraphs or discourse (1).

This definition shows that language has often been identified as the most unique attribute of man. It is through language that human beings grasp and understand reality and transmit it from one generation to another. This view is buttressed by Blakar who asserts that “we actually live and behave in a world of language” (4). Victoria Fromkin and Robert Rodman quoted Noam Chomoky as saying that:

When we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the human essence. The distributive qualities of mind that are so far as we know unique to man. (1).

Language, which Oyewo Yinka describe as “the medium or vehicle for conveying ideas, a system of arbitrary vocal symbol based on social cooperation; the totality of meaningful utterance in any given society” (15) is by far the most important means of human communication.

Attitudes towards language or language behavior implicate social meanings relative to social norms in a given speech community. As demonstrated in the literature, language attitude study is not only a way of understanding how language is used, for example, as a symbol of identity or in-group membership, it also helps to illuminate the social importance of a given code or language (see Adegbija, 1994; Ihemere 2006; Salami 1991). Attitudinal studies of language are also important to linguistics because they could help to explain language maintenance and shift, which are apparently influenced by whether the change or maintenance is favored or disfavored by members of the speech community (Mann 1993; 1998).

In Nigeria, Nigerian Pidgin used to be seen generally as the code of the non-literate as well as a bastardization of English and its use was, therefore, considered a mark of the level of one’s proficiency in English. Akande (2008) has noted, the sociolinguistic reality in Nigeria today is such that Nigerian Pidgin is spoken by university graduates, professors, lawyers and journalists. It has also been demonstrated that Nigerian Pidgin is not used only in informal settings but also in offices and other formal settings (Akande 2008). In other words, the claim that Nigerian Pidgin is the code of the non-literate does not seem to have validity as there are a lot of educated speakers in Nigeria who can use both Standard English and Nigerian Pidgin proficiently (Akande 2008).

The effects of Nigerian Pidgin English on students is the focus of this research work. Pidgin has their different histories about language contact and subsequent borrowing and code-mixing. The origin of Nigerian pidgin can be traced to the contact which was established between multilingual coastal communities and Portuguese merchants, who were joined later by the Dutch and the English. Nigerian Pidgin English is in fact becoming very popular in the country, especially in the secondary schools and in the universities; even at public function as well as in the offices. It is a lingua franca for social integration among diverse ethnic groups in the country.

Nigerian Pidgin English has developed to the extent that it is utilized for literary communication. Some of the works which Nigerian pidgin is employed as a medium of expression are “Dis Nigeria Sef” a poem written by Ken Saro-Wiwa, No Food No Country a play by Tunde Fatunde, and Grip Am a play by Ola Rotimi; though some people consider it to be a low social status. Nigerian Pidgin has come to stay as the major lingua franca adopted for communication among the many different speakers in Nigeria. According to Jowitt:

The situation today is that pidgin flourishes as a medium of inter-ethnic communication, especially in the south, and especially in the large cities with many non-indigenous residents (Bendel, Benin, Port Harcourt, etc) or throughout States with small many ethnic groups…(13)

Nigerian Pidgin in this case is a situation where normal language pattern is altered, but generally accepted to convey meaning. The language does not only evolve but also has its origin from a mixture of other languages. Experiences have shown that among the students for which this work was conceived, Nigerian Pidgin English has gained a wider audience in all sectors of the economy, especially the educational sector.

The term pidgin is used to refer to a language which develops in a situation where speakers of different languages have a need to communicate but do not share a common language. Once a pidgin has emerged, it is generally learned as a second language and used for communication among people who speak differently.

Language is the most creative and unlimited instrument for social communication and it helps us to understand the deep seated social relevance, culture involvement and the human relatedness of language. Having said this, we can therefore agree that pidgin is a language of its own and not just a supplementary tongue as some people see it, since it serves as an unlimited instrument of social communication especially in a multilingual community as Caritas University.

According to R. Linton he states that “the culture of a society is the way of life of its members, the collection of ideas and habits which they learn, share and transmit from generation to generation” (12). These cultures, ideas and habits can only be transmitted from generation to generation through language. In linguistic, every language is considered adequate to represent the communicative needs of its people and as such should not be made to suffer any biases.

This cannot be said of Nigerian Pidgin – even though it is a language – because various attempts have been made by different faction to eradicate the use of Nigerian Pidgin English. These attempts have however been unsuccessful because of the significant value the language has to its users. It is a language that has brought people together in spite of their differences in ancestral culture and language by creating a local culture for itself which blends ideas from different cultures.


1.2 Statement of Research Problem

Nigerian Pidgin is a language just as English and there is enough room for both language to co-exist and be mutually enriching. Despite this – and the fact that Nigerian Pidgin English appears to be the most popular means of communication among diverse groups and is easier to learn than any other language in the country today – it is generally asserted that it is not the suitable language for use in formal setting and its use in such setting is usually frowned at.

This research work will explore the potentials of Nigerian Pidgin English as a language. If Nigerian Pidgin English does have this potential, why is its usage and status denigrated? Also, does the speaking of Nigerian Pidgin affect the student’s academic performance? Answers to these questions will enable us make useful recommendations for future studies.


1.3 Objective of the Study

This work intends to look into the effectiveness and status of Nigerian Pidgin English. It is inherent that for a long period of time that Nigerian Pidgin English has been the means of communication among students in the higher institutions. This research will bring into light if the use of Nigeria Pidgin English has any effect on the students and their academic performance in Caritas University. The finding will be regarded to be generic, affecting also students in other institutions who equally exalt Nigerian Pidgin English above standard English.


1.4 Research Question

The following questions were posed to guide the study:

  1. To what extent does tertiary student use Nigeria pidgin English during communication?
  2. Does the use of Nigeria pidgin English have any effect on Student social interaction?
  3. Does the use of Pidgin English English hinder effective lecturer-student communication during teaching learning process?
  4. Does the use of pidgin English have any significant effect on Tertiary student academic performance?

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

The study formulated and tested the following hypothesis

  • Ho: The use of pidgin English has no significant impact in the interaction of the students of tertiary institution
  • Hi: The use of pidgin English has a significant impact in the interaction of the students of tertiary institution

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study is important because its results can go a long way to finding out the causes of students’ negative or positive academic performance. If Nigerian Pidgin English has contributed negatively or positively to the students.

This work will in no doubt contribute to one’s knowledge especially in the department of English, Caritas University, Enugu as it will highlight some issues in educational planning. It will be a guide for the federal government in planning for effective educational system.


1.7 Scope of the study

The scope of this project is on the use of pidgin english in the interaction of the students of tertiary institution. An assessment of its use in various forms will be carried out. This research is limited to Caritas University, Enugu even though the findings might be generic.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Nigeria Pidgin:

Is an English-based pidgin and creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as “Pidgin” or “Brokin”.

Student:

Is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution; children, teenagers, or adults who attend a school, but it may also be other people who attend a school.


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The aim of this study focused on the use of pidgin English in the interaction of the students of tertiary institution using Caritas University, Enugu as case study. The study examined what extent does tertiary student use Nigeria pidgin English during communication. It ascertained if the use of Nigeria pidgin English have any effect on Student social interaction. It revealed if the use of Pidgin English English hinder effective lecturer-student communication during teaching learning process. It further investigated if the use of pidgin English have any significant effect on Tertiary student academic performance.

The study adopted a survey research design and with the aid of convenient sampling techniques, one hundred (100) participants who are Student and Lecturers in Caritas University Enugu State was enrolled for the study. A well structured questionnaire was issued to the respondent of which all were received and validated for the study. Data was analyzed using simple percentage as well as frequencies and table.


5.2 Conclusion

Nigerian Pidgin bridges communication gap in certain sociolinguistic situations where there are no other mutually acceptable language of communication. Nigerian Pidgin is spoken more widely than the Standard English, though the Standard English is the official language and language of education in Nigeria. It belongs strictly to the elites. It is inaccessible to illiterate member of the society but an appreciate number of uneducated Nigeria can speak or at least understand Nigerian Pidgin.It is used as the first language, second language and lingua franca. It is virtually used in all spheres of life. It is used in schools, media, business circles, church programmes, advertisement etc. it is used by literate, semi-literate and illiterate member of the society. The language expands on daily basis. In-spite of this wide converge, Nigerian Pidgin is mostly used in informal settings and non-governmental transaction. It is not recognized in any of the language policies made in Nigeria. Hence, official documents are not recorded in the language.

Findings from the study revealed that Student of various higher institutions in Nigeria hold the highest percentage of Nigerian Pidgin usage using Caritas University as example. It is now fashionable for students to communicate with their course mates or peers in Nigerian Pidgin. They equally use it in social network; this of course is mixed with a lot of jargons which are popular among the youths. Most of them speak Standard English in their formal academic pursuit. An appreciate number of the students prefer Nigeria pidgin to English in informal discourse. They claimed that Nigeria pidgin is easier to speak than English language.

Thus from the result of the study, findings showed that Nigerian Pidgin is gaining strong ground in educational environment instead of standard use of English language. Though people have conflicting attitude toward Nigerian Pidgin but the attitude is more positive than negative. The study also revealed that Nigerian Pidgin is substantially being used in communication between staff and students on a daily basis. This in essence has an effect on the flow of fluent English language communication in learning environment in and out of lecture rooms. Also the study unveiled that students frequently use Nigeria pidgin more than Standard English. The lack of effective usage of English has prompted students to use Pidgin in their communication which has negative effect on students’ academic performance.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following were recommended to enhance proper use of language which can promote positive communication within learning institution;

  1. The Nigerian government should improve on his language policy and accommodate Nigerian Pidgin as Nigeria’s lingua franca and a second official language of the country.
  2. Nigerian Pidgin has no stable orthography. There are different variants of the language. Linguists should endeavor to collate these variants and developed a standard form of the language.
  3. Staff and students in tertiary institution across the federation should engage the use of Standard English language in the communication rather than use of Nigerian Pidgin.
  4. The use of Nigerian Pidgin by students during communication should be discouraged by implementing laws that can combat wrong use of English in the school environment.
  5. Students should positively engage in the use of standard English more often than the use of Nigerian Pidgin in order to improve the right usage of language in communication
  6. The National Orientation Agency, the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education will also play significant roles in propagating, mobilizing and re-orientating the populace on the imports and rationale of using Nigerian Pidgin.

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