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

Abstract

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 Englishness 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 Puemdem” by Eriata Oribhabor (2011). Jowitt’s (1991) ―Theory of Interlanguage” (which involves 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.

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