This research was propelled by the intention to investigate the
creative ability of Nigerian Pidgin as an effective communication in a
multi-ethnic society such as Ipodo Community Market in Ikeja. It
explored the functions of language and that of Pidgin which is the
language in discourse. The study was restricted to the type of Pidgin
spoken among traders in Ipodo Market. It identified the morphology,
syntactual process of this language and how useful it has been in terms
Pidgin to some scholars is a language that has no function. To
others, Pidgin is jargon, corrupt and a language that is not systematic.
According to Fromkin and Rodma (1974). Pidgin is an
unruly bastard jargon, filled with nursery embellishment, vulgarism and
corruption. But many Nigerians who speak Pidgin sometimes feel ashamed
to associate with the language in public. This is because Pidgin is
considered to be a form of English and not a language in its own right.
The main focus of this work is restricted to the variety of English
spoken in the vicinity of Ipodo Market in Lagos, known as Pidgin. Ipodo
Market is situated in Ikeja area of Lagos which is known to be a densely
populated area with people of different ethnic groups and Pidgin serves
as a convenient means of communication. Nowadays, Pidgin enjoys a
rather ambivalent status in community market among traders who are from
various indigenous groups. This variety of English is recognized as a
meaningful language of inter-tribal communications and as such makes
people to realize its communication role.
In West Africa, Nigeria is distinguished in profuseness as far as
Pidgin is concerned. Nigerians have continued to add flavor to the
language which could be seen in the development of Nigeria Music and
Film Industry, which the government is promoting through the
presentation of programmes on radio and television stations, which are
now broadcast in Pidgin.
Munzdi (1995) observes that Nigerian Pidgin which
until recently has been restricted to oral communication and to the
humour columns of some newspapers, is now being used for news broadcast
in government owned radio/television stations and for serious poetry and
drama by several well-educated poets and playwrights. Pidgin spoken in
Nigeria features a unique pronunciation which in Standard English could
turn out to mean something else in Pidgin. For example:
"Don delete" could mean death
Most people from the Delta State of Nigeria have the ability to
communicate fluently in Pidgin. Many educated and non-educated people,
political leaders, clergy men and women understand and communicate in
Pidgin. Pidgin variety of Nigerian English is however, not acceptable in
formal activities such as learning and teaching, seminars, conferences
and examinations. The use of Pidgin is restricted to informal settings
which include; market place, radio and television programmes, as noted
by Ayoola (2006).
Programmes Television / Radio Nature of Programmes
Face 2 Face STV DRAMA
News in Pidgin Radio Nigeria, LTV NEWS, NEWS
I dey trowey salute Wazobia FM Public enlighten.
Pidgin is also used by government officials for the purpose of
mobilizing ordinary people during the electioneering campaigns. For
example, Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo switched to
Pidgin occasionally during his monthly radio and television Nigerian
broadcasts. This was meant to enable him reach a greater number of the
The Nigerian dominant languages (Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba) constitute
the substrate of Pidgin used in community market. They are important
sources of lexical borrowing. It is believed that some of the words like
'pikin' (a child), 'dash' (gift), in Nigerian Pidgin have been borrowed
from other European languages, mainly Portuguese.
Pidgin is often spoken in market places, filling stations, homes,
parties, motor parks etc. The common speakers of this language are
drivers, bus conductors, traders with little or no formal educational
background. The difficulty in the writing of Pidgin is a result of lack
of a uniform orthography and standardization resulting from the
varieties of Pidgin to be employed by many speakers. That is, an
individual's background influences his or her pronunciation and grammar,
but the educated ones speak Pidgin for wider communication. Pidgin is
however, not encouraged in schools in the country because of its harmful
effect on the learning of the Standard English which serves as the
official language in Nigeria.
It could also be said that Pidgin has become a Mother Tongue for a
number of families in certain areas and communities and as such could be
seen as Creole.
The definition of Pidgin as a jargon and corrupt language is no
longer as it was, since in recent times, there is greater recognition of
the fact that Pidgin reflects human creative ability.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
English language came as a result of colonization which has imposed
English language on Nigerians. The language later got adopted as
official language, though not everybody in the country can speak or
write English. Lagos state is highly metropolitan, almost all the
ethnic groups in Nigeria have representation in Lagos and as a result,
most people do not understand the native language of one another.
It has been observed that a large number of people are
semi-illiterate, hence, the need to develop a language that will
encourage easy communication with one another. Pidgin has not been
accorded a high status in Nigeria. People are not encouraged to speak
it, and children are punished in school for speaking it. Bamgbose et al (1995) observe
that the attitude of Nigerians to Pidgin range from adoration to
disdain, some people are so contemptuous of Pidgin that they feel it
should not be used in public. Although has been described as corrupt
and a language that has no function, the importance of Pidgin in our
society is quite clear because of its social values.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the Nigerian society, Pidgin is seen as a language that has many
varieties which affect he student’s competence and performance in terms
of communication and performance at examinations. Also pidgin is made
up of varieties of substances from the vernaculars of different native
languages in Nigerian ethnic groups. For this reason, Pidgin spoken in
one area differs from that spoken in another area and this has
contributed to the difference in phonological, lexical and syntactical
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The study was conducted with the aim of:
Finding out the prospect of Pidgin as a language of communication.
Showing people's attitude towards Pidgin used in Ipodo community market in Lagos.
Analyzing how Mother Tongue interferes with Nigerian Pidgin.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will go a long way in exposing the use of language outside
its formal context. It will also serve as an eye-opener to many people
who regard Pidgin as a corrupt form of language which makes some of its
user feel ashamed and discouraged to use it in public.
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
This research was not designed to determine the role of Pidgin and
the level of people speaking it, but to analyze the stylistic ability of
the type of Pidgin spoken in community market, and to show that, like
other languages, Pidgin is a language on its own.
1.6 METHOD OF RESEARCH
Ipodo community market inIkeja was visited and traders were
interacted with intheir day to day transactions, which were
analyzed inthe project.