A LINGUISTIC STUDY OF LOAN WORDS IN NIGERIAN PIDGIN

ABSTRACT

The tittle of this work is A Linguistic Study of Loan Words in Nigerian Pidgin. Researches have shown that Nigerian Pidgin (NP) is a Nigerian language and clearly different from other varieties of West African Pidgins. Pidgins are known to have small vocabularies which continue to expand to fulfill the linguistic needs of their users. Nigerian Pidgin is no exception. This work sets out to identify the sources of the words that came into NP. Data for this research were got from two sources – a book ―Sozaboy (1985), which is a relatively earlier variety of NP, and news scripts from three NP using radio stations (2015): the latter is a relatively current variety. A questionnaire listing words got from our data was administered to NP speaking ABU students, and the respondents were required to provide or confirm the sources and meanings of the words. The responses were analyzed using Serjeanston and Erik Bjokman‘s models. The findings reveal that specific languages have contributed to the vocabulary of NP, and that a difficulty exists in identifying the real provenance of every linguistic item. The findings, while maintaining that English is the initial lexifier language, show that words from other languages have come into NP. This research goes further to prove that NP is like any other natural language in active use, in that it has borrowed and continues to borrow to swell its initially small vocabulary.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECLARATION …………..iii

CERTIFICATION …………….iv

DEDICATION…….v

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS …….vi

ABSTRACT ………….ix

TABLE OF CONTENTS ……….x

CHAPTER ONE ……….1

INTRODUCTION …………….1

1.1 Background to the Study 1

1.2 Statement of Research Problem …………………4

1.3 Research Questions ……………………………………5

1.4 Aim and Objectives ……………………..6

1.5 Significance of the Study …………………..6

1.6 Scope and Delimitation ………………………………………….7

CHAPTER TWO ………….8

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ……………………….8

2.0 Preamble………………8

2.1 DEFINITIONS OF A PIDGIN ……………………….8

2.1.1 A Pidgin as a Contact Language …..8

2.1.2 A Pidgin as a Make-Shift Language …………..9

2.1.3 A Pidgin as a Restricted Language ……………… 10

2.1.4 Definitions Based on Communicative Needs ……..11

2.1.5 Pidgin as a Distinct Language …..12

2.2 THEORIES OF THE ORIGIN OF PIDGINS ……….12

2.2.1 Monogenetic Theory …………….12

2.2.2 Polygenetic Theories ….14

2.2.3 The Baby Talk Theory ………..14

2.2.4 Foreigner Talk Theory ……………….16

2.2.5 The Nautical Jargon Theory ……………….17

2.2.6 Theory of Linguistic Universals ……….18

2.3 SOCIOLINGUISTIC PROFILE OF NP …………….. 19

2.4 CHARACTERISTICS OF PIDGINS ………..21

2.5 LINGUISTIC BORROWING ———-24

2.5.1 Direct Borrowing ………26

2.5.2 Indirect Borrowing ……………… 27

2.6 REASONS FOR LINGUISTIC BORROWING ……………….. 28

2.6.1 Bilingualism …….28

2.6.2 Innovation/Necessity/Need for New Designation ………..29

2.6.3 Need for Differentiation ……………………30

2.6.4 Need for Euphemism…….30

2.6.5 Social Values …………… 31

2.7. LANGUAGE BORROWING PROCESSES ……..31

2.7.1 Loanword ………………31

2.7.2 Loan shift ……………….32

2.7.3 Loan-translation …………….. 32
2.7.4
Loan blend ……………..32

2.8 LANGUAGE CONTACT AND LINGUISTIC CHANGE…………….32

2.9 UNIVERSALITY OF LINGUISTIC/WORD BORROWING……………..34

2.9.1 Words Borrowed by English: ……………………..35

2.9.2 Words borrowed by Nigerian Languages….36

2.10THE VOCABULARY OF NIGERIAN PIDGIN ……..37

2.11 NAME FOR NP ………….38

2.12 LEXICAL ITEMS IN NP ……………. 38

2.13 FUNCTIONS OF A PIDGIN ………….. 40

2.14 USES OF NP ……….. 41

2.15 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ………. 45

CHAPTER THREE……….47

METHODOLOGY……..47

3.0 Preamble……47

3.1 Sources of Data ………….. 47

3.1.1 Primary Source ……….. 47

3.1.2 Secondary Source …………..48

3.2 Method of Data Collection………48

3.2.1 Identification of loan words 48

3.2.2 Questionnaire: 48

3.2.3 Interview 49

3.3 Research Subjects 49

CHAPTER FOUR 50

PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 50

4.1 Preamble 50

4.2 Procedure for Data Analysis 50

4.3 Semantic Shift 50

4.4 Categorisation of NP Loanwords into their Meanings, Origins, Direct and Indirect nature of Borrowing 51

4.5 Analysis of the Data 51

4.6 Interpretative Tables of the NP Loanwords 52

4.7 Coinages in NP 88

4.8 FINDINGS 92

4.9 Clash of Homonyms 96

4.10 Phonological Changes 97

4.11 Morphological Changes 98

CHAPTER FIVE 99

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 99

5.1 Preamble 99

5.2 Summary 99

5.3 Conclusion 100

5.4 Recommendations 101

5.5 Suggestions for Further Studies 102

APPENDIX A 110

QUESTIONNAIRE 110

APPENDIX B 113

APPENDIX C NP

LOAN WORDS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER) AND THEIR SOURCES 116

APPENDIX D 119

HANDWRITTEN SCRIPTS FROM RADIO STATIONS 119

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

With respect to the emergence of loanwords, Platt et al. (1984) observe that linguistic contacts between languages result in the incorporation of some words coming from other tongues. Thus, the process of adopting foreign words is not strange or unusual. It happens in all languages and dialects in varying degrees and ways because speech communities do not function in isolation. The intermingling of people of different cultures and languages brings about borrowing, and through it, languages accommodate foreign elements, words and ideas geared towards expanding their vocabularies. Again, languages come into contact through bilingual speakers. Banjo (1983), Madaki (1983) and Pariola (1983) in Olaoye (1991) posit that when languages come into contact, a variety of phenomena such as bilingualism, borrowing, relexification, code-switching, code-mixing and perhaps language death take place. However, Scotton (1988) opines that the use of a borrowed item in a language is code-switching until enough speakers use it and the item is accepted by native speakers into their dictionary.

Lexical borrowings are by far the most commonly attested language contact phenomenon, and it is therefore not an aberration in the world of languages as languages come in contact at different points. Nigerian Pidgin is a product of such contact and it relies on other languages for survival. Just like human beings, languages (including Nigerian Pidgin) borrow linguistic items and expressions from one another to complement, improve and develop their vocabularies. No wonder Haspelmath and Tadmor (2009:1) state that ―no language in the sample and probably no language in the world is entirely devoid of loanwords.