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Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Seun(m): 3:20pm On Sep 05, 2005
Hello,

Many of us have enthusiastically endorsed the Pidgin English we speak in Nigeria:

IAH: "Pidgin English isn't hard to read at all. Infact, it makes whatever you are reading more interesting."
obong: "IAH, you're right. pidgin is very sweet, reading and speaking."
Scorpio: "[Google in Yoruba is ] really cool though, but I would've
preferred it if it was in pidgin - everyone would be able to relate too"
obong: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights ... Nigerian Pidgin English Version" (link)"

Others are more skeptical:
trae_z: "Pidgin English is a pain in the ass when reading, especially voluminous reading, but its cool all the same to speak and to write in"

Imnakoya believes that Nigerian pidgin might be suitable s Nigeria's common/official language. He asked,
"What are the short comings of pidgin English as a common language in Nigeria? Already, it is the unofficial lingo...why are we deceiving ourselves with this queens english that is only well spoken by few?"

Should we restructure our educational system around pidgin English, a language spoken and understood by the majority, in place of Queen's English? Or should we just improve the quality of English Language education? Will it be a step in the right direction, or a terribly misguided step?

Looking forward to your opinions.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 3:44pm On Sep 05, 2005
The language is a way of our life. It is an integra part of our culture and heritage thus removing it will amount to deeting some part of history. Wetin we go come tell our children say happen to the language that we once used to express ourselves, chase our women and generally mess around with. The choice medium of expression 4 most of our up and coming musical star and even our dear and beloved president "Uncle sege" Wetin una dey yarn sef? Age make una nor try am ooo. I still dey hail.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Greatpeter(m): 4:08pm On Sep 05, 2005
Pidgin is a carricature of the original english language so i don't see it as our own invention or making.
It's neither our original tongue.

Before we were colonised we had our own language and dialect and it wasn't this pidgin.
If we had been colonised by France we would have been speaking french.

So because Britain colonised us that was why we are speaking english.

If we believe we don't want to copy anymore let's drop all we copied including democracy, how do you see that?

pidgin to me is degrading and abuse of english.
It's not our original tongue. We only bastardise the one we copy.
just like the Nigerian movie industry copy the americans and changed "hollywood to nollywood"

Please, I look at it in another angle and perspective.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 4:17pm On Sep 05, 2005
Not true friend, Pidgin english is pure (queen's) english broken down. Even french has it's own form in broken down version so please do not look at it that way. It is something that has come to stay and there is absolutely nothing anyone least of all you can do about it. What we could do though is to curb the use of it in our schools and public offices and places. With that, we can trully sideline it to the natural place that it belongs and thats playing second fiddle but to eradicate it, no yawa my guy, e nor fit happen now of in anoda 100 years to come. cool
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Bibi(m): 4:20pm On Sep 05, 2005
Simply, pidgin means adultration of the original. We have pidgin in every form of Language - French, Yoruba (modern day yoruba with so many english words) etc. Every society have an unofficial lingo. The widespread of it does not replace the original. Otherwise, maybe we replace classical Yoruba and other Nigerian languages with the modern yoruba which is a mixture of yoruba, english, and whatever you can imagine.

Pidgin lacks form and character associated with real languages. It surely is a free form of expression. Pidging, though with wide acceptance also has differences from one region to another, i.e. Its more prevalent with easterners and not westerners or northerners. I think its an illusion to think that there are more pidging speakers than english, the truth is that there are many bad english speakers, we tend to classify them as speaking pidgin rather than unpolished, bad english. Its like accepting the modern day yoruba which is heavily diluted and mixed with English etc instead of the real Language itself.

If we have to have a national Language, lets speak something the world understands, or at worst, nothing prevents us from having 3 National languages - Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba.These are authentic languages. This is the case in South Africa, India, Belgium etc which have 2 or 3 national languages.

To accept what is inherently considered a twisted language as a national language is nothing but madness. We can as well adopt modern (pidgin) yoruba instead of the original one with its rich classics.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Pappy: 7:03pm On Sep 05, 2005
It's funny when people say pidgin is an abuse of english, that's like saying french, english, and most of the major world languages are abuses to latin because that's where most of them originated from. Why can't Africans make thier own language without it being an abuse to a white man's language. Nigerian pidgin is a good form of communication even other Africans like the way we speak and I don't see any reason why Nigeria shouldn't consider putting our pidgin as a lingua franca of our country. If a lot of people communicate like that there's no such thing as bad english its just thier version of it. Nigerian pidgin is now more of like a creole than anything.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by hotangel2(f): 8:01pm On Sep 05, 2005
I love pidgin english. But how would we communicate if we Leave Nigeria? I think pidgin english should be the primary spoken english in NIgeria and Queens/Kings english should be the secondary and main english. Besides... i would hate to see kids saying "wetin we go chop dis afternoon naw".
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Pappy: 10:44pm On Sep 05, 2005
hot-angel, why would u hate to hear your kids speak pidgin provided they know how to speak standard english? Is it because it sounds bad or "bush" or what? It doesn't make any sense. I bet if some european country formulated pidgin people will see it differently. I don't get why African's can't make up thier own language out of something and be happy and proud of it.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Greatpeter(m): 11:08pm On Sep 05, 2005
whiteshark:

Not true friend, Pidgin english is pure (queen's) english broken down. Even french has it's own form in broken down version so please do not look at it that way. It is something that has come to stay and there is absolutely nothing anyone least of all you can do about it. What we could do though is to curb the use of it in our schools and public offices and places. With that, we can trully sideline it to the natural place that it belongs and thats playing second fiddle but to eradicate it, no yawa my guy, e nor fit happen now of in anoda 100 years to come. cool

I equally disagree with you whitesharks.
How can you make pidgin a national language and still prevent it being spoken in our schools.
Why doing that when you know it's not acceptable somewhere and will not get international recognition as English or french?
How then do you promote it?
How do our children speak and write it when they are not allowed to be taught?
Knowing fully well they can't use it to write exams and pass or not even be allowed to be taught in school reduced it to dusbin.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Latoya(f): 4:03am On Sep 06, 2005
Pidgin English sounds pretty cool; I won't advice anyone to raise their kids with such English because it's tongue-tying. That is, if you're used to it, it very difficult to speak standard English.

We shouldn't even think of reconstructing our educational system in pidgin English. Come to think of it, apart from we Nigerians, who else speaks pidgin? That means the younger generation will learn to communicate confidently with Nigerians alone.

Standard or so called Queen's english is the first language to most countries around the globe. I know how a lot of Asians that don't speak English suffer in other countries. Pidgin is fun but not mandatory!
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by kazey(m): 5:08am On Sep 06, 2005
just curious. have you heared a typical british farmer or villager, speak the cockny or whatever they call it? forgotten the exact spelling. It is english but more or less I would say pidgin. Anywayz i guess you would appreciate it , if you hear it.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Latoya(f): 6:41am On Sep 06, 2005
Of course I hear it every now and then, but it's not educative at all.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Seun(m): 6:57am On Sep 06, 2005
I had to title this thread Nigerian Pidgin after reading the definition of pidgin from the wikipedia:

A Pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of a mixture of other languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues. Pidgins have rudimentary grammars and restricted vocabulary, serving as auxiliary contact languages. They are improvised rather than learned natively.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin

So we have "pidgins" in various countries. Once your "pidgin" becomes standardized as people are suggesting, it is no longer referred to as a pidgin. It becomes a creole language:
"A Creole is a language descended from a pidgin that has become the native language of a group of people. The majority of creole languages are based on English, Portuguese, French, Spanish and other languages (their superstrate language), with local or immigrant languages as substrate languages."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creole_language

So the issue at hand is whether we should develop a creole out of our pidgin by standardizing it, and adopting this creole as our national language.

This seems to be a giant step in the wrong direction, considering the effort involved in standardizing a spoken language (we will have to rewrite our childrens' textbooks in pidgin) and how, at the end of the day, we will only have succeeded in making life difficult for Nigerins who have to interact with the rest of the world, as Latoya as pointed out.

So let's just stick with the same standard English that people everywhere are learning! The same English that is the language on the Internet. As someone noted, we are fortunate to have chosen English as our National language.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by nferyn(m): 9:27am On Sep 06, 2005
You cannot really 'create' a creole out of a pidgin by standardizing it. Basically a creole is a pidgin, but with a 'proper' grammatical structure that comes from children applying their 'language instinct' to a crude communication vehicle and transforming it into a real language.

It appears that only children are capable of 'creolisation' as adults have their grammatical rules already hard wired in their brains. That's also why it is dead easy for young children to learn new, foreign languages, while adults struggle to even Lear the basics of a new language and hardly ever become fluent users of the new language.

An excellent resource on this subject is the book 'The Language Instinct' by Steven Pinker (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140175296/qid=1125993705/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-1739926-3627808

Concerning the actual subject of this thread, I do not think it is even feasible to promote pidgin to the status of national language, as it cannot even be considered a language and does not offer the breadth and scope a real language has. It's good enough in day to day conversations, when you are facing the person you are talking with and can extract meaning from the context and non-verbal clues as well, but for formal, let alone legal communications .... I have my doubts

On top of that you are blessed with a multitude of native languages. Why not try to formalise these and use standard English as the cross Nigerian language. Do not forget that language is a big part of your identity. A lot of what some people describe as national character is expressed in the language (e.g. the French tend to be quite verbose and that is very visible in their language ;-)). You would lose a lot of your cultural identity by letting your native languages disappear.

And, as already mentioned by Bibi, Belgium has 3 official languages for only a population of 10 milion people, you really should not limit yourself to 3 languages for Nigeria. You may try to officially promote, codify and standardize all languages that are spoken by more than e.g. 3 milion people
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by obong(m): 5:57pm On Sep 06, 2005
Pidgin is our language, like yoruba and kanuri. Frankly i think all our languages should be made official. We should strive to be bi-literate. For those that think it will make it hard for us to communicate with the world, how do the japanese, koreans, chinese, israelies, lithuanians and the rest communicate with the world?
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Bibi(m): 6:06pm On Sep 06, 2005
Please do not compare Yoruba, Kanuri, Hausa, Ibo etc to Pidgin. That is an insult to our authentic languages. Please see the definition of Pidgin as posted by Seun.

Seun:

A Pidgin, or contact language, is the name given to any language created, usually spontaneously, out of a mixture of other languages as a means of communication between speakers of different tongues. Pidgins have rudimentary grammars and restricted vocabulary, serving as auxiliary contact languages. They are improvised rather than learned natively.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pidgin

Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by obong(m): 6:22pm On Sep 06, 2005
that definition means little, its hardly a bible. Out pidgin is the same as the one in sierra leone yet they call it creole, or krio. its just a name change and doesnt make it anymore elevated. The fact is its as much a language as afrikaans is to the whites in south africa. afrikaans is just pidgin dutch
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Imnakoya(m): 10:56pm On Sep 06, 2005
"Naija man too dey do gra-gra". This is all about communications; a nation that can't communicate effectively is in trouble!

Even the United Nations recognized Pigin english...abi Obong? , See: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/pcm.htm

What does this tell us as a nation?
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 6:08am On Sep 07, 2005
It tells us to hold and respect our own and stop behaving like the God darm white man that we are not. !!!! I say pidgin english has come to stay, y'all should live with that fact. End of story. I still dey hail.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Bibi(m): 10:08am On Sep 07, 2005
Whiteshark, nobody is saying pidgin is not here to stay. The topic is Can we adopt it as National language? The answer is emphatically NO. It remains a form of communication but lacks the merit of a real language to be adopted a national language.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Imnakoya(m): 1:40pm On Sep 07, 2005
Bibi:

Whiteshark, nobody is saying pidgin is not here to stay. The topic is Can we adopt it as National language? The answer is emphatically NO. It remains a form of communication but lacks the merit of a real language to be adopted a national language.

On what grounds have you based your statement?

Have they started using indigenous languages in the NTA news?

The presidents and others give their speeches in heavily accented English, that it sounds like something else...

Who cares about the people that don't understand English? How about givivng them a sense of belonging that goes beyond using interpreters...

Can you imagine how powerful it is to speak and have people from Sokoto to Bonny , and from Epe to Markudi understand you right off without needing to interpret.

By the way, starting the first pigid english Newspaper seem a good idea to me...
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Pappy: 12:18am On Sep 08, 2005
Imnakoya, I couldn't have said it any better. Nigerians need to start realizing that our Pidgin is a good thing because it's one of the few things that unites us all despite our ethnic differences. English, French, Italian and all the other languages came from latin now look how far it has developed. Nigerian Pidgin will develop after many generations.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 2:03pm On Sep 08, 2005
whats your concept of a national language @ Bibi?
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by Bibi(m): 4:51pm On Sep 08, 2005
Whiteshark, I think if you read the previous threads you will catch it.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by bioye(m): 8:36pm On Sep 18, 2005
i do not think pidgin should become our lingua franca. it is not developed enough for formal and extensive communication and it is an informal form of english.

also, i dont see any need for a new language that is totally nigerian to be used as our national language.

in as much as i would love nigeria to have its own language, english as a a lingua franca presents numerous advantages that we can take advantage of.

there are other ways to uplift our cultures and traditions and identity and nigerians.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by panthress(f): 4:56am On Jan 02, 2006
u kno what dont diss the pidgin language other wise know as patua which is spoken in ghana patua too spoken in jamaica and other form of it creole spoken in sierra leone, what to u known as pigdin language is an african language im in london and i understand sierra leones. even french has pidgin like creole spoken in mauritius and about every french speakin african country pidgin/kreole/patua is a universial african language believe it or not. i wldnt mind if they made it our lingua franca. atleast all em english ppl wont undertsand us. and its unique, even tho its derived from english. us nigerians r creative w've takin a language and moulded it and made it that even a dunce can understand it, which kinda makes it easy to understand english . so big up pidgin english. na wa for una pidgin na di ting. so no spoil am. i no go mind if it be our lingua franca.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by nferyn(m): 11:36am On Jan 02, 2006
It's not that it can't evolve into a language. If enough children have it as their mother tongue, it is definitely going to evolve into a language (as happened with Krio in Sierra Leone). You do need codification and a link with the creative arts to make it really useful for all functions in society. What would be sad though is if the original languages would be lost because of that process
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by wendytilda(f): 4:22pm On Jan 02, 2006
I think pidgin English is better the way it is in use now,even if it is made official today our original languages cannot be forgotten just like that,it will take time and it will affect us in future.All the same i still would rather is stays the way it is(for communication within).
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 10:58pm On Jan 02, 2006
With a country like ours that has over 250 indigenous languages, we ought to have a language that we can adopt as originally our's outside English which all of u will agree was borrowed from our white slave masters. I would have suggested that we adopt "Bini" language as the national lingo but I know alot of folks in here who will cry blue murder so I will not. If u notice, on the tread, in different posts, u will realize that the lingo is fast gaining ground and thats an indication that it is somehow accpeted by more people in here and if we amplify this using the country as a case study, ur guess is as good as mine. The lingo has come to stay thus why dont we stamp it as official ehn?
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by nferyn(m): 11:07pm On Jan 02, 2006
If you mean Edo, I think my wife would love that wink
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by nicetohave(m): 12:15am On Jan 03, 2006
Pappy:

Imnakoya, I couldn't have said it any better. Nigerians need to start realizing that our Pidgin is a good thing because it's one of the few things that unites us all despite our ethnic differences. English, French, Italian and all the other languages came from latin now look how far it has developed. Nigerian Pidgin will develop after many generations.

you may have a point but it still doesnt have a set form, spoken and written pidgin english still differs from place to place in Niegria, to be a lingua franca, it must be easily recogized, must have a common spoken and written order, that cant be said for it yet in Nigeria, i think our mother or ethnic tongue should stay.
Re: Nigerian Pidgin English as Our National Language? by whiteshark(m): 12:27am On Jan 03, 2006
nferyn:

If you mean Edo, I think my wife would love that wink

Yeah I mean Edo so thats one vote 4 the cause right bro?

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