writers think that there is Nigerian English. As Ogu explains, all languages
are subject to variations the moment they leave their natural environs and spread
to other areas, and it is not possible to have a homogenous speech community
variant forms in language use Osuafor, (2002:43). However, the reality of
Nigerian English is seen in the varieties of English spoken by educated
Nigerians. This research work therefore examined the varieties of English Usage
among educated Nigerians, by observing the characteristic feature in the area
data were collected through interview and were analyzed using table and tree
diagram. This is because the diagram represents an important tool for
structural analysis of grammar.
Data analysis reveals that Nigerian English is a – direct transliteration of
the mother tongue into English and this results to several variation in the
usage where local languages can influence language word order.
accounts for the distortions and ambiguities. Instances like in the use of non-preposition, for a preposition form,
an indiscriminate use and omission of the article, etc. As a result of this,
what is showed is a syntactic feature, which still have crystallized, not
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page i
Title Page ii
Table of Contents vii
Background of Study 1
Statement of the Problem 6
The Objective of the Study 8
Research Questions 9
The Scope of the Study and Delimitations 9
Significance of the Study 10
Definition of Terms 1
TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
and Communication 14
Nigerian English Bilinguals 16
The Nigerian English 19
in the Study of Nigerian English 21
THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Several Reasons Account for Framework Adopted in the Above 24
Analysis Using Table/Diagrams 25
FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS
4.1 Instances of Bilingual'
Deviation in Nigerian English 31
Standard English Translation 31
4.1.2 Instances of Preposition and Non-Preposition
and Tense - Examples Indications of Past Tense And/Or Context (Pidgin) 32
Present Perfective 33
Comparison of the Instances 34
Reflections of Syntax of Nigerian
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
is natural that there should be varieties of English, since language is a form
of human social behaviour, activity which involves self-expression with parts
of the human physiology, the speech organs such as the tongue, teeth, vocal
cords, lips etc. displaying difference of behaviour. Language reflects these
research study specifically examines varieties of English in Nigeria bilinguals
as seen in the syntax of Nigerian English. By reflecting on these features, we
realize the true expression of Nigerian English, and its specific syntactic
forms based on the level of usage among educated Nigerians, we will consider
the literacy and development in Nigeria best apprehended in the context of
language planning in a bilingual setting.
English exhibits certain characteristic peculiarity, that distinguishes it from
other existing language forms. The peculiarities include its variant forms as a
non-standard English alongside crafted vernacular forms. It is often argued
that several factors accounts for the unique nature of Nigerian English.
Whatever angle in which it is examined, the Nigerian English exhibits inclusive
qualities and skill even in a bilingual setting.
to Hans Wolf (1982:44), the problem that has often encountered in a flexible
lingual setting (Bilingual,) includes inter lingual communication,
"intelligibility, and problem of transfer of information" The
incidence of bilingualism is a phenomenon, peculiar to the Nigerian nation. The
syntactic structure of Nigerian English presents a distorted and disordered
posture. Several reasons accounts for the syntactic forms of Nigerian English
either in spoken or written forms, and 'they include linguistic interference of
mother tongue, and personal idiolects, etc.
images of distorted syntactic forms of Nigerian English, remains clearly
visible when subjected through critical examinations especially in some
Nigerian novels such as Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah (1986:71)
includes; Pidgin "Tell am make he Sidon; I de nearly ready”
me one refuse to Sidon, she even ask wetting I wan drink, so no be her fault at
explain what" I beg you no make me vex (.18)
Bilingualism is a rare linguistic speech quality in an individual, who possesses
the ability to speak more than one language, with certain degree of efficiency.
A society can also be described as bilingual, if they express proven ability;
speaking more than one language e.g Cameroon Is a bilingual country (French and
English) Bilingualism as a linguistic concept and speech capability is often
found in an individual with rare skill to communicate or speak more than one
Nigerian English, is a variety of English language. Standard English has a
Nigerian version because of the various ways different groups of some
illiterate and learner users of English uses the target language. As Wokoma
observed " as a result of these charges, standard English has undergone
wrong use by the said categories of users"
These categories of users include the ordinary users on the streets, in the
market shop, in the vehicle etc.
seeking to identify the variety in English among educated Nigerians, certain
education and linguistic criterion, grades and class people that use English in Nigeria. According
to Brook (1979), many criticisms of linguistic habits arise from a failure to
realize that there are many varieties of English and to recognize the
characteristics of each variety.
this sense, Nigerian English as a variety of the English language have other
sub-varieties like Hausa English, Yoruba English and Igbo English.
it is difficult to arrive at varieties that coincide in terms of the socio
linguistics realities and functional categories of the native speakers of
English language that is socially acceptable and internationally intelligible.
(1958) in Bangboshe has identified four varieties of Nigerian English, based on
various grades and classes of people that use English in Nigeria. These
varieties are spoken by
with only primary education
variety has greater influence and is marked by excessive vocabulary usage.
two categories could be acceptable under educational attainment for identifying
varieties of language.
(1971) has also identified about four varieties of Nigerian English using the
linguistic criterion. He distinguishes linguistic groups in terms of the degree
of deviation which they show from the British standard English.
variety spoken by secondary school leavers to Banjo is the model of educated English
in Nigeria because it is internationally intelligible as there is approximation
of phonological features of standard British English though there are phonetic
and some lexical peculiarities.
group identified by Obiechina (1974) is variety under creative usage, which
characterized by borrowing, transference and interference of mother-tongue linguistic
features into the English language. Creation writers exploited these
grammatical possibilities in order to convey the burden of their Nigerian
English is said to have several forms either in writing, or spoken forms. Cases
of durability and contextual usage, represents features in Nigerian English. It
is obvious that Nigerian English is a sub-standard form and therefore lacks the
essential grammatical ties and formalities usually associated with the standard
the analysis of syntactic features in our data, we will conduct an analytical
study of the structure of a sentence. The sentence is a typical edifice of
meaningful organized sequence of phonemes with each word consisting of a
complete correct sentence and different constituents, forming the bedrock of such
sentences. The recourse to syntactic analysis enables us to not only establish
the grammatical well formedness of the sentence but to as well delineate the
inherent component structure in that sentence.
English, is a description of a peculiar use of English language by Nigerians, which
is clearly distinct from the standard English or the queens English. Nigerian
English is often described as non-standard and a corrupt version of the standard
English. The Nigerian English has several features including Jargon,
contraptions, ellipses and other domesticated versions of the English language.
medium of communication in official and commercial circles in Nigeria is
English language. English is second language in Nigeria, and is used mostly as
code switching strategy with pidgin English communication, and at times with
mother tongues influences.
(1967) is reputed as one of the foremost scholars that believes in the reality
of Nigerian English. He explains that: The varieties of English spoken by
educated Nigerians no matter their first language, have enough features in
common to mark off a general type, which may be called Nigerian English.
OF THE PROBLEM
status of Nigerian English has been a subject of controversy. Freeman and
Jibril eds (1986:160) viewed English in Nigeria as reference to that linguistic
importation into Nigeria first as a contact language and second as an official
research study is therefore designed to critically look into the variation in
sentence formation or construction in Nigerian English bilingual. Based can
certain education and linguistic criterion, grades and class of people that use
English in Nigeria, with specific examples in a view to ascertaining detailed
reasons for this incident and to proffer suggestions on a better patterning and
structure of presenting Nigerian English.
research study shall not only reflect linguistic variation in Nigerian English
from British English, but will also reflect on carefully chosen cases of
versatility or many-sided patterning of Nigerian English. analyze the cases of
hassles to form grammatical units in English in Nigeria.
this dimensions, we can be able to review and present:
Critical focus on the nature of English in Nigeria and highlights its
linguistic status/preposition, aspect and tense etc).
of popular Nigerian English examples/variations and restriction)
a more acceptable speech patterns that ensures well formed-ness.
1.3 THE OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
research is a systematic technique applied to discover facts and offer
solutions to perceived problems. Therefore, the following are the objectives
this research is set to achieve:
To identify the clear cases of the
Bilingualism in Nigerian English, and its syntactic forms.
To examine the linguistic status in the
areas of propositions, aspects and tense etc.
To identify forms of popular Nigerian
English (Variants and Restrictions)
To Evaluate common Syntactic trends that
underlines Nigerian English.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
following research questions are formulated to guide the date gathering of this
Are there cases of Bilingualism present
in the Nigerian English syntax
What are the linguistic features of
Nigerian English in the areas of prepositional aspects and tense.
What are the forms of popular Nigerian
English variations and restrictions.
What are the common syntactic features
inherent in the Nigerian English
1.5 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY AND DELIMITATIONS
study is limited to the study of Characteristic features in the area of
syntactic (Nigerian English), it is also limited to few data collected as
interview from some Nigerian English users. The Analysis of this study is based
on the use of table and tree diagram.
delimitation of study in the general short-comings in the design and execution
of the findings. This encompasses the following:
Insufficiency of funds
short period of time allocated for the completion of the study
attitudes of the respondents towards accepting proposals for questioning, this
therefore has limited the researchers the ability to conduct a proper
interview. But with the few data we got was able to give us the intended result
of good analysis
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
study is important;
contributing to scholarship in relation to the varieties of English in Nigeria
based on the formation of words or sentence.
is quite obvious that Nigerian English is a variety of English language.
Standard English has a Nigerian version because of the various ways , different
groups of some illiterate and learned users of English, uses the target
this study, we will be able to understand what to consider as standard,
sub-standard for non-standard in the syntax of English in Nigeria.
good study of this work is important because it will perform unifying rules and
its allied issues are discussed with a view to showing that the imposition or
adoption of any language apart from English Language is the most widely spoken
language in the world, and has more second language speakers than any other
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
is a non-ethnic language in Nigeria and as a result of its neutrality, it does
not encounter an ethnic hostility, ensuring peaceful co-existence of the people
within Nigerian linguistic diversity. It is inevitable, that in a clear
multi-lingual setting; the permanent adoption of the English language is imperative
for national and international communications.
critical linguistic term that is the cause of this research study, includes, i.
variations, ii. syntax and iii. bilingualism.
to Bough and Cable (1981:13)"there is practical fact that a language may
be important as a lingua Franca in a country or region, whose diverse
population would otherwise be unable to communicate"
language could be regarded as a colonial left over in Nigeria, that cannot be
dispensed with, because of its role, function in the area of communication.
retention of the English language in Nigeria today is seen as a means of
establishing a comfortable means of communication among the various contending
linguistic entities that it is make up of. It is obvious that the English
language retained in Nigeria today because it is the language for expressing
the institutions the colonizers left behind.
the business of education, technology, administration, judiciary and mass
media, proceed in the English language (The English Language in Nigeria Bamgboshe
bilingual features indicate competence in dual language settings, especially in
spoken Nigerian English. In a bilingual setting, two language co-exist within
the same community or individual. Many factors may be responsible for this, for
instance a monolingual community may suffer from the colonization drives of
imperialist who then impose their language on the conquered nation causing an
otherwise (erstwhile) monolingual communities to go bilingual.
and issues in language studies...,155). Many modern communities in Africa
including Nigeria have this type of bilingual situation. British colonial drive
has been the factor that made monolingual communities now amalgamated into the
Nigeria nation to go bilingual by adding English to the native language of
those communities (such as Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Efik etc)
Nigeria, English must be learned away from its monolingual base and used as the
nation’s second language.
many Nigerian speak English the truth is that they are not using it as a first
language or as a language learnt by interaction with native speakers. Rather, Nigerians
learn English mostly from school and this depends on their level of education.
issue of syntactic structure examines the question of well formedness and the
organizational arrangement of sentences to ensure compliance with set of
grammatical rules. Nigerian English as observed earlier exhibits distorted patterns, which may be as a result of such
identifiable causes like the environment, the speaker, and the style of the
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