Is Pidgin English spoiling your English?Nigerian Newspapers Blog
Blog | ( 5 ) | Subscribe | Post a comment Posted by Felix Okoli on September 27, 2011 at 01:58:44:
As a Nigerian, one of the things we have to eventually deal with is pidgin English. It is probably, unofficially, the most spoken language in Nigeria even though English is the official language in the public sector. Pidgin English is growing and have cut across different corners and tribes in Nigeria. Although local languages like Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa are still spoken by millions of people in Nigeria, pidgin English is the one that is spoken at public places when relating with people from different tribes or of a not clearly defined language status.
In elite schools, top notch universities and professional sector, good English is more spoken but among traders, transporters and small businesses, pidgin is mostly spoken. Among the fewer elite and educated Nigerians, English is the main tool for conversation but among a greater population of lesser educated Nigerians, pidgin English is more spoken than English. Now, there are a lot of Nigerians who speak good English or who can at least construct a good sentence in English but most of them also make do with pidgin English to relate with people who prefer to use the language.
Now, if you are educated enough to speak good English and still making use of pidgin English, Is it possible that pidgin English could be spoiling your English? Is it possible that speaking pidgin may be eroding the good English you learnt at school? When you listen to radio stations like Wazobia, the lingua franca is pidgin English but when you listen to others like Cool fm or Raypower, the language mostly used is Nigerian English. Do you think listening to radio stations or programs that make use of pidgin be bad for your English? Well it probably is! History has shown that the more you speak a language, the more likely you are going to get used speaking it and the less likely you are going to get used to speaking the second language. So I think it depends on which one you speak more. The truth is that the more you get used to speaking pidgin English, the less likely you are going to get used to speaking proper English. Think of Nigerian children who are instructed by their parents at home in English and they grow up not learning much on how to speak the mother tongue like Yoruba or Igbo, those children easily forget how to speak their parent's language and get used to speaking English. The child may hear Yoruba or Igbo but not be able to speak it or not be able to construct good sentences with it. So there are several things that can influence how we speak and how we don't. The more you speak or listen to pidgin, the less likely you will be able to speak good English and the more you speak or listen to English, the less likely you are going to speak pidgin. Things like television program, radio programs, literary, people you interact with, places you go, where you live can all influence the way you speak.So is pidgin English bad for you?
I don't think it is as long as you are a Nigerian but it may be killing your English and may limit your ability to reach to the top especially in a country where people are getting more educated and English is still the official language. Perhaps, until we also make pidgin English an official language, then it may improve your prospects to succeeding in Nigeria. However, on the global scene, pidgin English may not do much for you since the world is already going English.
- Re: Is Pidgin English spoiling your English?
Posted by emmanuel ene
on October 26, 2011 at 07:46:34:
Yes it is...and i feel that musicians are helping to make it worse. We won't understand the extent of damage done till about 10yrs in future. I sugest the ban on pidgin on all public tv and radio programmes to stem the bad influence.
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