The Role Of Pidgin As A Means Of Communication In Unifying Students

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The Role Of Pidgin As A Means Of Communication In Unifying Students


Abstract


The study exposes the difficulties experienced by students at the Junior Secondary School Certificate Level with respect to Pidgin English usage in some selected secondary schools in IkpobaOkha Local Government Area. some research questions were formulated to guide the direction of the study against the background of variable factors in the learning situation. Related literature review was undertaken so as to be abreast a earlier writers view on the subject matter studied. An instrument was designed to obtain information from respondents. The instrument in the form of questionnaire was administered and subsequently retrieved, tabulated side by side the formulated research questions with answers provided to them the results obtained were discussed with findings conclusion and recommendation were presented in the final chapter.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the study

The Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. The origin of pidgin could be traced to 1850, when it first appeared in print. Shaibu (2013) describes Nigerian Pidgin English as a combination of indigenous languages and English. It basically uses English words mixed into Yoruba, Benin or Igbo grammar. Nigerian Pidgin English used to be seen mainly as the code of the non-literate as well as a bastardization of English, therefore, was considered as indicative of academic proficiency in English. In the case of Nigeria however, Akande (2008:37) notes that, the social linguistic reality in Nigeria today is such that Nigerian Pidgin English is spoken by university graduates, professors, lawyers and journalists.

Holm (1988) considers language contact to be nearly as old as language itself. To support this idea he points out that in the ancient Egypt there was a trade language developed among several Hamito-Semitic languages in contact in the Nile Valley, which can be considered a pidgin. A pidgin, or pidgin language is a simplified version of a language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside. Major language changes usually occur over centuries, but the language contact that forms pidgins results in ‘rapid language change and evolution’ (Patrick. 2006). A pidgin language is a variety created by combining two or more existing languages through the process of ‘pidginization’. When people need to communicate but speak different native languages, they may combine their own languages to create a new ‘pidgin language’. This language is then transferred by word of mouth to others and becomes the acknowledged way for the different speaking communities to communicate.Pidgin is a wide term covering a range of regional hybrids, which evolved through historical events such as the spread of Empires, settlement, migration and international trade. Found in Africa (West African Pidgins include Nigerian Pidgin, Cameroonian Pidgin, Sierra Leone Krio), Indonesia (TokPisin, spoken in Papua New Guinea), parts of Asia and the Caribbean, English derived Pidgins are inventive, innovative, and often quite literal. For example in TokPisin, ‘grasbilong het’ (or grass belong head) simply means ‘hair’. Because of their spontaneous adaptability, Pidgins are unlike other languages in that they can be as structured or as unstructured as needed – there are no strict rules as such. Pidgins are also not used as mother tongues, though over time and generations, the language evolves, is adopted and changes to gradually become a first language for new generations. Historically, Pidgin occurs in situations where native language is seen as subordinate, or banned in the case of slavery, and is the point where Pidgin arguably moves to become a Creole, or a stable, ‘nativised’ language. Scholarly debate remains however, as to what point a Pidgin language can evolve to become a Creole and replace a native language over the generations.

As an idea of how language evolves, from ‘no common language’ between English and native groups, to ‘Pidgin’ languages to ‘Creole’, the tongue follows four main stages of development –

  • Restricted – The beginnings of Pidgin, used as a fundamental necessity when contact between language groups (English and native) is limited.
  • Extended – If contact is more prolonged, Pidgin develops, and may be situationally encouraged to be used between natives themselves (i.e. natives of differing native tongues), as well as between other language groups.
  • Creole – If Pidgin survives, and if inter-native use evolves enough, it can develop into a Creole language to become a next generation mother tongue in place of the native language.
  • Standardization/decreolization – Increasingly standardized and structured, over time, the Creole becomes more rigid, developing into a standard, stabilized language (And very different from the original loose Pidgin structures)

Nowadays, Pidgin English is in extensive use and is well-recognised around the globe, especially in parts of West Africa and Oceania. In 2012 for example, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Prince Charles visited Papua New Guinea, introducing himself as the “Numbawanpi kininibilong MisisKwin”, (or ‘number one child belonging to Mrs Queen’) proving the resilience and longevity which Pidgin (despite its modest roots) can have – if royalty can speak it, Pidgin has really gone a long way. However, to be considered pidgin it must be stable and have norms of meaning, grammar and pronunciation. Some of its characteristics are: limited vocabulary; elimination of many grammatical devices – such as number and gender; lack of inflectional and derivational morphemes; lack of verbal inflection; loss of prepositions and indicators of time, aspect and mood; lack of locative prepositions and plural indicator; movement rules among others.

Pidgin in the 21st Century

It has been discovered lately, that most people especially students in various Nigerian tertiary institutions, find it easier to communicate with pidgin whenever they are in an informal setting. It is also important to mention that Pidgin has been able to secure a place in the corporate world. People switch to Pidgin in the middle of a formal conversation either to explain themselves better or to cite an instance to juxtapose the message they are trying to pass across.

Obafemi Awolowo University, a typical example of a multilingual setting; people from different cultural backgrounds live together in a room, and communication has to take place. This set of people prefer to use pidgin as a means of communication whenever they engage in conversations in any informal environment because there are no standard rules guiding its usage unlike the Standard English where you have to abide by the rules of concord, syntax, phonology, and semantics among others. In other words, they feel more convenient when they express themselves in pidgin because they is always the tendency of being careful not to break the rules of concord, syntax, grammar, among others.Akande and Salami (2010) assume that the urban characters of the university environments are strong factors influencing the students’ use and attitudes to Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE). They hold that apart from their education, living within the university communities, the students are likely to enact more urban networks that are usually made up of multilingual and multicultural contents. It is noteworthy to emphasize that the university communities have a large number of users of the Nigerian Pidgin English. Basically, it could be argued that Nigerian Pidgin English plays a unifying role among its users, as it is the language of the educated and the uneducated irrespective of their linguistic backgrounds. Akande (2008:38) argues “it could be regarded as amarker of identity and solidarity. It is an inter-ethnic code available to Nigerians, who have no other common language.


1.2 Statement Of Problem

After various research procedures, it is evident that students of Obafemi Awolowo University feel more comfortable whenever they are expressing themselves in Pidgin, this study examines the degree Pidgin is used, the various types, the gender involved, and the cultural undertone. Previous studies on pidgin have focused on the origin and characteristics of Pidgin. Studies on how it performs its unifying role among its users in a multilingual setting such as Obafemi Awolowo University halls of residence has not received adequate scholarly attention. This type of study would also highlight the positive roles of pidgin in Nigeria.


1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to describe how pidgin unifies the residents of the selected halls of residence in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who are from diverse linguistic backgrounds. The objectives of this study are to:

  1. Analyse the forms of conversations peculiar among the residents of Moremi and Fajuyi halls of residence.
  2. Highlight how pidgin fosters, unifies and brings about the ease of communication among selected respondents, and
  3. Analyse the recorded conversations in the context of time, mood and situation accompanying them, in order to show how pidgin unifies them.

1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does pidgin English enhanced effective communication among secondary school students?
  2. Does Pidgin English have any influence in unifying students?
  3. Is there any relationship between Pidgin English and students unity?

1.4 Significance Of The Study

Pidgin is an important code for communication in a multilingual society, where many cultural differences are in existence and have in one way or the other dominated the day-to-day conversations of the students of Obafemi Awolowo University, this study would examine the frequency at which pidgin is used, the syntactic groups, and the cultural undertone reflected in the kind of pidgin used among the students, and the purposes for which pidgin is used. The importance of this study is not just to describe how pidgin is used, but to provide a deep insight of how pidgin serves the unifying role among the students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.


1.5 Assumptions Underlying The Study

  1. Students adopt various forms of expressions ranging from the use of their local dialects, British English, and the use of Pidgin.
  2. Students have diverse ways of using Pidgin.
  3. Pidgin makes communication easier in a multilingual speech community.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

There are various forms of languages in the world, and it is impossible for an individual to be proficient in all these languages. In Moremi and Awolowo halls of residence in ObafemiAwolowo University, which are typical examples of multilingual societies. Pidgin is commonly used during conversations among students because most of the conversations done in the academic environment are usually formal thereby creating some restrictions for the students as they tend to carefully select words in order not to bypass the rigorous processes of the Standard British English

Scope And Limitation Of The Study

The scope of the study covers the role of pidgin English as a means of communication in unifying students

Availability of research material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient thereby limiting the study.

Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


1.7 Definition Of Terms

English:

Is the language, originally of England now spoken of international communication throughout the world.

English Language:

Is as well a subject of study.

Pidgin:

A simple form of language especially English, Portuguese or Dutch, with a limited number of words used with words from a local language.

Pidgin English:

A way of speaking a language that uses simple words and forms, when a person cannot speak the language well.

Dialect:

The form of a language that is spoken in an area with its grammar, words and pronunciation that may be different from other forms of the same language as elsewhere used.

Ethnic Group:

Connected with or belonging to a small indigenous group in a nation, race or people that share the same cultural tradition.

Standard English:

Generally accepted spellings, pronunciations, grammar believed to be correct and used by most learned people.

Lingua Franca:

A shared language of communication used between people whose main languages are different.

L1: First Language:

The language that one learns to speak first as a child and usually one speaks the language best among other languages.

L2-Second Language:

A language that somebody learns to speak well and use at workplace or at school where it is learnt but that is not the language such user learns first.


1.8 Organization of the study

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

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.

Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.

Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.

Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.

Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to evaluate the role of pidgin as a means of communication in unifying student.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the role of pidgin English as a means of communication in unifying students.


5.2 Summary

The researcher hopes that this study will contribute to to assessing the role of pidg, which is vital to both their success and progress in as a means on communication in unifying student. The school curriculum would have to be adjusted to accommodate Nigerian pidgin. Students need to be aware, right from upper primary school through to the end of junior secondary school, that Nigerian pidgin is different from English language. The differences should be taught alongside their negative effects when Nigerian pidgin interferes with English. This campaign should be sustained for the period suggested above so as to afford the students’ sufficient time to learn how to handle the languages independent of each other. Teachers in primary schools as well as English language teachers in secondary schools need to acquire the requisite knowledge of Nigerian pidgin and its negative effect whenever it interferes with English language. The teachers will then be able to teach students as suggested above. Policy makers in Nigeria need no longer disdain or ignore Nigerian pidgin.


5.3 Conclusion

The researcher tend to demonstrate, in this study, the role of pidgin English as a means communication in unifying students, the attitude of the government is also critical to this end. A language that is spoken by millions of people within a country would be expected to be standardized. However, that NPE is neither completely codified nor standardised is an act of marginalisation which it has been subjected to. From the foregoing, it can be concluded that NPE is not only socially marginalized but has received little or no political support from any government in Nigeria.


5.4 Recommendations

The researcher recommends that school curriculum need to be adjusted to accommodate Nigerian pidgin. Students need to be aware, right from upper primary school through to the end of junior secondary school, that Nigerian pidgin is different from English language.

The differences should be taught alongside their negative effects when Nigerian pidgin interferes with English. This campaign should be sustained for the period suggested above so as to afford the students sufficient time to learn how to handle the languages independent of each other.

Teachers in primary school as well as English language teachers in secondary school need to acquire the requisite knowledge of Nigerian pidgin and its negative effect whenever it interferes with English language. The teachers will then be able to teach students as suggested above.

Policy makers in Nigeria need no longer disdain or ignore Nigerian pidgin. Doing the contrary is a disservice to the educational progress of the teeming population of the future leaders of the country.


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