Characteristics of Nigerian English

1941 Words Aug 2nd, 2013 8 Pages
Historia de la Lengua Inglesa – Año: 2011
Segundo parcial: domiciliario


Berardi, Lucía


As Jennifer Jenkins states in her resource book World Englishes “... there are approximately seventy-five territories where English is spoken either as a first language (L1), or as an official (i.e institutionalised) second language (L2) in fields such as government, law and education.”[1] There were two dispersals or diasporas of English that contributed to this.
The first diaspora took place during the 17th century. It involved the migration of English people mainly to America and Australia, and resulted in new mother-tongue varieties if English.
The second dispersal took place during the
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Therefore, SE is the direct predecessor of today’s Nigerian English.

Features of Nigerian English

Despite these varieties, Nigerian English has developed distinct phonetic, phonological, lexical and syntactic characteristics. These are quite stable and therefore, they are not considered to be ‘deviations’ from the native norm.
This is the reason why Nigerian language experts see an urgent need to codify NE.
Below, I included some of the features:

• Phonological features: - Since most Nigerian languages do not have dental fricative sounds, Nigerian English speakers tend to substitute English [t] for [Ө] and [d] for [ð]. For ex.: BE (British English) NE THIN [θɪn] [tɪn] THIS [ðɪz] [dɪz] - Consonant clusters are not sounded and either one consonant is dropped or a vowel is inserted in between. For ex.: LIST = /lɪs/ ARRANGEMENT = /əreɪngɪmən/ - The difference between [i:] and [I], [u:] and [υ], [כ:] and [ɒ] is hardly observed by NE speakers since there is no meaning distinction with vowel length.

• Lexical features: - At this level, it is noticeable that there are transfers from the local languages (especially from the major ones: Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa) and mostly in these areas: music, clothing, indigenous foods, traditional religious beliefs, local institutions,
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