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Product Category: Projects

Product Code: 00002560

No of Pages: 52

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Some 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 of syntax.

Thus, 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.

However, 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.

This 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 settled patterns.








Cover Page                                                                               i

Title Page                                                                                 ii

Certification                                                                             iii

Dedication                                                                               iv

Acknowledgment                                                                     v

Abstract                                                                                   vi

Table of Contents                                                                     vii



1.1   Background of Study                                                       1

1.2   Statement of the Problem                                                6

1.3   The Objective of the Study                                              8

1.4   Research Questions                                                         9

1.5   The Scope of the Study and Delimitations                               9

1.6   Significance of the Study                                                 10

1.7   Definition of Terms                                                          1



2.1  Language and Communication                                        14

2.2   Nigerian English Bilinguals                                     16

2.3   The Nigerian English                                                       19

2.4  Issues in the Study of Nigerian English                   21




3.1   Several Reasons Account for Framework         Adopted in the Above                                                                        24

3.2   Analysis Using Table/Diagrams                               25



4.1 Instances of Bilingual' Deviation in Nigerian English        31

4.1.1 Standard English Translation                                 31

4.1.2 Instances of Preposition and Non-Preposition                32

4.2   Aspect and Tense - Examples Indications of Past Tense And/Or Context (Pidgin)                                                                          32

4.3   Present Perfective                                                     33

4.4   Future                                                                      33

4.5 Comparison of the Instances                                     34

4.6   Reflections of Syntax of Nigerian English                 34



5.1   Conclusion                                                              41

Bibliography                                                            43


















It 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 differences.

This 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.

Nigerian 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.

According 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.

Several 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)

Example includes; Pidgin "Tell am make he Sidon; I de nearly ready”

Na me one refuse to Sidon, she even ask wetting I wan drink, so no be her fault at all madam

"You explain what" I beg you no make me vex (.18)

Meanwhile, 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 language.

The 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"

(60). These categories of users include the ordinary users on the streets, in the market shop, in the vehicle etc.

However, 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.

In this sense, Nigerian English as a variety of the English language have other sub-varieties like Hausa English, Yoruba English and Igbo English.

Since 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.

Brosnahn (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

ü People with only primary education

ü Secondary School Leavers      

This variety has greater influence and is marked by excessive vocabulary usage.

These two categories could be acceptable under educational attainment for identifying varieties of language.     

Banjo (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.

The 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.

Another 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 experience.

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 form.

In 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.

Nigerian 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.

The 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.

Walsh (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.



The 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 language.

This 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.

The 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.

From this dimensions, we can be able to review and present:

(a)    Present Critical focus on the nature of English in Nigeria and highlights its linguistic status/preposition, aspect and tense etc).

(b)    Forms of popular Nigerian English examples/variations and restriction)

(c)    Suggesting a more acceptable speech patterns that ensures well formed-ness.



A 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:

i.        To identify the clear cases of the Bilingualism in Nigerian English, and its syntactic forms.

ii.      To examine the linguistic status in the areas of propositions, aspects and tense etc.

iii.    To identify forms of popular Nigerian English (Variants and Restrictions)

iv.     To Evaluate common Syntactic trends that underlines Nigerian English.


The following research questions are formulated to guide the date gathering of this research

i.        Are there cases of Bilingualism present in the Nigerian English syntax

ii.      What are the linguistic features of Nigerian English in the areas of prepositional aspects and tense.

iii.    What are the forms of popular Nigerian English variations and restrictions.

iv.     What are the common syntactic features inherent in the Nigerian English



This 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.

The delimitation of study in the general short-comings in the design and execution of the findings. This encompasses the following:

i.    Insufficiency of funds

ii.  A short period of time allocated for the completion of the study

iii.Lackadaisical 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



This study is important;

(i)     In contributing to scholarship in relation to the varieties of English in Nigeria based on the formation of words or sentence.

(ii)    It 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 language.

(iii)   From 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.

(iv)   A 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 language.



English 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.

The critical linguistic term that is the cause of this research study, includes, i. variations, ii. syntax and iii. bilingualism.


According 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"


English 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.

The 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.

Thus the business of education, technology, administration, judiciary and mass media, proceed in the English language (The English Language in Nigeria Bamgboshe (1971:15)


However, 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.

(Concepts 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)

In Nigeria, English must be learned away from its monolingual base and used as the nation’s second language.

Although 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.


The 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 speaker.

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