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Codification of Nigerian English

In: English and Literature

Submitted By alexandraesimaje
Words 6571
Pages 27
CODIFICATION OF NIGERIAN ENGLISH: ISSUES IN EMPIRICAL LINGUISTICS

Alexandra Uzoaku Esimaje
Department of English Studies, Benson Idahosa University, Benin city
Email: alexandra.esimaje@live.com

ABSTRACT
In the English speaking world where English is either a second or foreign language, the emergence of new forms of the language is a proven socio-linguistic reality of language contact. This results from the needs of the host environment both to communicate to the foreigners and to one another now in the new tongue. Hence, in all cases the merging of two languages, cultures and traditions leads to varieties of the language as was the case with English and the many indigenous languages in Nigeria. So it is not in doubt that forms of English which are dissimilar in differing respects from British English exist in Nigeria. What is in doubt is whether each form qualifies as a variety and if any one of them can as yet emerge as the standard variety. This paper argues that English use in Nigeria needs to undergo some stages of development and description before a confident statement can be made as to whether a Nigerian English variety comparable to the British or American Standard English exists. Codification is one such step but prior to it must come a compilation of an extensive database of English language use in Nigeria and the application of empirical methods in examining and determining the character of English in the Nigerian context so that the continuum of forms of the language can be properly ascertained, classified and documented. With such reliable evidence based on valid findings arising from empirical investigations, we can then hope for realistic descriptions of English in Nigeria which qualifies for codification for general use as a representational variety of English in Nigeria.

Key words: Codification, Nigerian English, Corpus and...

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