A Linguistic Study Of The Nigerian-Ness’ Of Nigerian Pidgin In Selected Literary Works

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A Linguistic Study Of The Nigerian-Ness’ Of Nigerian Pidgin In Selected Literary Works


This thesis titled “A Linguistic study of the „Nigerian-ness‟ of Nigerian Pidgin in Selected Literary Works” was embarked upon because of the resistance many Nigerians have to the use of Nigerian Pidgin (NP); they see it as foreign and a corruption of the English Language. Besides, many people, especially non-linguists feel that pidgin Englishes in West Africa are all the same no matter which country the Pidgin exists in. The researcher therefore sets out to investigate the lexical and syntactic features in NP to find out whether they are uniquely Nigerian. Two texts were used for analysis – an earlier text: “Sozaboy” by Ken Saro Wiwa (1985), and a contemporary one:“Abuja na Kpangba an oda Puem-dem” by Eriata Oribhabor (2011).Jowitt„s (1991)―Theory of Interlanguage”(whichinvolves borrowing) and Fishman‟s (1971) theory of the “Great Tradition” (which refers to the presence of a national symbol of identity) were useful in identifying various features of NP which are unique to Nigeria.

The contributions of various Nigerian Languages to the vocabulary of NP were identified and it was noted that cultural influences from the indigenous languages are important constituents of NP. Our findings confirm the works of many researchers that NP is a language with a fixed and describable grammar like any other living language. Our work shows that NP is clearly distinct from the English Language, even though the bulk of its initial vocabulary was derived from the English Language. Our research also reveals that all things considered- vocabulary, syntax and other linguistic features- NP is uniquely Nigerian.

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

Many people have a predictable reaction to pidgin languages. They find them amusing, humorous or babyish. Yet research has shown that pidgins are real languages, not baby-talk; that they are and can be used for serious purposes, and that each stable or extended pidgin has a describable and distinctive linguistic structure. As a result the study of pidgins is not new. Decamp as cited in Hymes (1971) says that since the 1880‟s significant studies have appeared. The multilingual nature of many nations of the world has made pidgin come centre stage in linguistic study. Pidgins are seen as a solution to communication problems in multilingual settings. This is why they are called contact languages. Wherever they exist they are a lingua franca used among those who otherwise would not have been able to communicate with one another. They are nobody‟s language, yet used by all.

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