The Use Of Nigerian Pidgin English In Ipodo And Alade Markets

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

The Use Of Nigerian Pidgin English In Ipodo And Alade Markets


This essay is going to examine the use or Nigerian Pidgin in Ipodo and Alade markets. Chapter one treats the background study, hypotheses, aim of the study, objectives scope of study, and limitations of study, while the second chapter will treat in detail the review of related literature in Nigerian pidgin English the role of pidgin English in Nigeria, the growth of Nigerian pidgin, the role or the government attributed status, attitudes towards Nigerian pidgin English – society, tense and aspect or Nigerian pidgin.

Chapter three looks into the presentation of data while chapter four treats the data analysis.

The fifth chapter concludes this essay by re-emphaising the importance and use of pidgin English in trade in Nigeria.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

A pidgin is a reduced language that results from extended contact between groups of people with no language in common. It evolves when they need some verbal communication, perhaps for trade but no group learns the native language of any other group for social reasons that may include lack of trust or of close contact.

A typical definition of any pidgin is invariably in two parts: a reference to its nature/function and a reference to the situations that give rise to it. Thus, Reinecke [1964:534] tells us that “a minimum or makeshift language [arises] when men of different speech are thrown into contact and must reach an understanding … ” and Todd [1974:1] defines a pidgin as “a marginal language which arises to fulfill certain restricted communication needs among people who have no common language.”

In these two definitions, a pidgin is described as minimal, makeshift or marginal, which suggests that it is not a full language, does not have a long history and is not central to the communicative codes available to its users. It is also claimed in each definition that the kind of situation that gives rise to a pidgin is one in which the people in contact have no language in common.

These rather archaic definitions are supported both by common sense and by practical observation. If people have a language in common, there is no need for them to resort to a makeshift form of communication. On the other hand, it is accepted that a pidgin -like stage probably exists as a universal in the learning or acquisition of a second language, and some scholars now talk of a ‘pidginization theory’ of second language acquisition. The theory of decreolization, the observation that a pidgin becomes more and more like the language on which it is based (if they exist side by side), also supports the possibility that a pidgin stage is a universal of second language learning.

Inits initial stages, a pidgin is simple in having loose syntactic rules, a narrow and flexible bounded or differentiated vocabulary and phonological component not properly defined, thus its semantic base account for much of its speaker’s mutual compatibility.

A language in the making, it necessarily expands from this simple level to a more complex one. There is also the possibility that it would become a different language or another dialect of the’ same one from which it is contrived, depending on the similarities in the linguistic backgrounds of pressure brought to bear against its survival by the full developed language.

At some point of its development, such a communication system becomes a pidgin and at a further stage it becomes a Creole. But such maturation is probably merely a function of its speaker’s inmate linguistic potentials and subject to a combination of both variable and content factors. Pidgin close impulsively from people’s desire to communicate and may as a result, be more or less co-terminus with human history.

Pidgin is said to have been creolized in Sierra Leone and Paupa now Guinea, but in Nigeria there arc varieties of Pidgin English according to different linguistic groups, yet they possess at some points some common features which makes those varieties mutually intelligible. Nigerian Pidgin English consists of vocabulary items from each language used to enhance mutual understanding in communication.

1.2 Hypotheses

The hypotheses for this study are as follows:

  1. Pidgin has assumed a significant role in communication in Nigeria, especially between and among ethnic groups that do not share a common language.
  2. Nigerian pidgin can promote national unity, because it has the power of bringing peoples of different languages, groups, social class and religion together.
  3. Pidgin is fast assuming the role of a major language in Nigeria.

1.3 Aim of the Study

The aim of the study is to examine the use of Nigerian Pidgin English in Ipodo and Alade Market of Ikeja, Lagos State.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are as follows;

  1. To attempt to examine the nature and use of pidgin in domestic trade in Nigeria using Alade and Ipodo markets as case study.
  2. To investigate the level of the usage of pidgin in both market.
  3. To find out the perceptions the traders have of pidgin and their attitudes towards pidgin.

1.5 Significance of the Study

In a quest to show the significance or importance of Pidgin in Nigeria, it was observed that Pidgin in Nigeria is highly underestimated. Considering the very high number of Pidgin Speakers in the country and its ever growing importance in trade in Nigeria, this work may have brought into “lime light” this importance.

The reason for the significance of this study is educational. By this, it is believed that people will be able to learn how to appreciate the important role pidgin plays, not only in trade but in almost all the facets of the Nigerian setting. This significance of study contains all the information earlier presented in the statement of the problem, research objectives and information deduced from review of relevant literature.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study was limited to the Pidgin English speakers in Alade and Jpodo markets respectively market. The source of data for this study was the use of questionnaires. Both sellers and buyers served as respondents. Also, assistance was given to respondents who could neither read nor write. The questionnaires were filled for them in the form of an interview.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

During the cause of the fieldwork, several problems were encountered they are as follows:

  1. Due to the noisy nature of the market the recording was distorted.
  2. The high level of illiteracy in the market did not help matters. At a point, help had to he gotten from an interpreter to help decode the Yoruba language
  3. The sincerity or the respondents on whom the questionnaires are administered arc doubtful because their answers may not be true.

1.8 Definition of Terms

A pidgin is a reduced language that results from extended contact between groups of people with no language in common. Examples are:

  • Yamutu: Slaughtered/dead
  • Oyinbo: Whiteman
  • Wayo: Tricks
  • Boku: Plenty
  • Pikin: Child
  • Sisi: Lady

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

This work centered on the role of Nigerian Pidgin English and how it plays a role in the language use among traders in Ipodo and Alade markets where the research was conducted.

The chapter one of the research is the introductory part that contains the statement of the research problem, significance of the study, aim and objectives and justification. Chapter two is the review of related literature to the topic of this research. It contained the definitions, use, growth, benefits and the roles of Nigerian pidgin.
Chapter three showed the methodology adopted for the research. It contained the population of the study, sampling techniques, tools of data collection, method of data presentation/analysis and justification for choosing the method.

The results of data obtained from the questionnaires administered to the traders in Ipodo and Alade markets were analysed in Chapter Four of this project. The chapter composed of two sections – Section A and Section B, while Section A showed the demographic characteristics of the respondents and Section B contains the major questions of the research directed at achieving the aims and objectives of the whole project.

5.2 Conclusion

Pidgin English is a language which is spoken by majority of the traders in Ipodo and Alade markets. The traders in Ipodo and Alade markets believe that Pidgin English has positive effects in their buying and selling activities and it is the language that they use mostly when communicating with their fellow traders. Thus, they prefer the language more than Standard English. However, they are of the opinion that Nigerian Pidgin English should not be adopted as the Nigeria National Language.

5.3 Recommendations

  1. The curriculum planners and stakeholders of education should try to come up with a curriculum that will incorporate teaching of Nigerian Pidgin English in Schools since the language is being understood more than English.
  2. Since the traders use the Nigerian Pidgin English, therefore it is advised that the use of the language should to some extent be allowed in the school.

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