As a politically neutral language that is without any ethnic base, it serves as the language of inter-ethnic communication, one that unifies Nigerians of different social status, religious persuasions and cultural orientations. Although it originated as a language used only for commerce between Europeans and Nigerians, Naija has become the emblem of Nigerian public spaces Osuagbwu , and the informal lingua franca of most Nigerians Akinnaso It shares structural similarities with other Pidgins and Creoles spoken in African Diaspora communities throughout the Atlantic Basin like Jamaican Patwa Faraclas But Naija stands out in terms of the sheer number of speakers: it is conservatively as having about one million speakers who use it as a first language, and forty million who use it as second language Faraclas This means Naija has wider usage in Nigeria than any of the indigenous languages, and it is the only language spoken by all regional, religious and ethnolinguistic groups in the country.
Naija is therefore a formidable national language for Nigeria. Research on Creole languages indicates that there is variability in how Creoles and Pidgins indicate plurality. The contributions of Janson , Rickford , Mufwene , Jones , Singler and Muhlhausler are important studies done on plural marking and number delimitation in some English lexified Creoles. The summation of these articles is that there is no fixed way of delimiting nominal in English based Creoles, rather, what is obtainable is a system of plural marking patterns from which each Creole makes a selection from the available variabilities Jason In what follows, I attempt a survey of the plural marking patterns that has been identified in the literature of Atlantic Pidgin and Creoles.
The research burden of Singler , is the delimitation of nominal referents in Vernacular Liberian English VLE with reference to the plural marking pattern of Atlantic Creoles postulated by Mufwene He submits that plural nouns can be marked or unmarked. Drawing on data from Jamaican Patwa and Tok Pisin, Bobyleva generalizes that plurality is indicated on nouns in Creole languages through plural words, inflections, double marking and by semantic markings as in bare nouns.
Though Patrick and Bobyleva are in agreement regarding the way plurals are marked in JP and TP, they however have their points of differences.
He makes this same claim for Gullah, i. Plurals can be contextually marked where no free morpheme denotes plurality. The second strategy for plural marking in GhaPE according to Huber is through reduplication of the noun as seen in sentence 2 below. He argues that from the facts of his corpus that dem should not be analyzed as a pluralizer because it functions more as an anaphoric pronoun than a pluralizer Huber In Naija, dem is used both as a plural marker and as an anaphoric pronoun depending on the syntactic environment where it appears.
It behaves as a plural marker when it appears after a noun phrase and as a pronoun when it appears elsewhere. See the examples below. This position of Elugbe and Omamor is consistent with the observation of Mafeni and Agheyisi that Nigerian Pidgin English marks only plurality by the postnominal dem. Deuber attests to the use of dem by Naija speakers in her data but she demonstrates that the use of dem for plural marking is becoming restricted to formal radio broadcasts.
She differs from the earlier studies on two points. Secondly, her findings in Lagos reveal that Naija speakers in Lagos may not mark plurals in the NP, this is particularly true with uneducated or less educated Naija speakers. While I agree with Deuber that the use of dem as a plural marker in Naija is becoming less common in Lagos South West Nigeria , dem is still commonly used as a plural marker in the Naija variety spoken in the Niger Delta and the South Eastern part of the country as confirmed by data collected on my field work. That being so, a study of plural marking in the speech of Naija speakers from different geopolitical zones of the country becomes important to demonstrate variations engendered social factors such as education, ethnicity, gender and urbanity, hence, the purpose for this study.
This pattern of occurrence is worth mentioning considering the debates on creole-genesis and the theory of decreolization. In a more recent analysis, Muhlhausler et. This position hinges on the fact that there must be certain predictable pattern of occurrence before a feature can be said to be part of the grammar.
Citing G. He proposed a pattern of plural marking in creoles in which individuated nouns with plural reference are delimited with the post nominal pluralizer. Under this template, Creoles plural marking patterns will differ from English in the category of generic referencing Tagliamonte, Poplack and Eze With respect to Creoles, it would appear that virtually any noun could alternate freely between individuated and non-individuated use. Individuated nouns are marked as in English , whereas non-individuated nouns remain bare.
Not marked for number elsewhere in the NP a. Possessive NP's b. Definitizer NP's ii. Marked for number elsewhere in the NP a. Demonstrative NP's b. Numeral NP's ii. Non numeral individuating quantifier NP's, e.
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Generics and other unmarked NP's ii. Marked for number elsewhere in the NP 1. Singler also mentioned that the interplay of phonological interactions of sound segments is a second factor determining plural marking in LSE. Perhaps, one of the most robust variability studies on plural marking in Naija is the one done by Tagliamonte et. Among other things, the authors submit that plural marking in Naija is conditioned by two factors, the first being the animacy of the noun and the other being the syntactic structure of the noun phrase and the referential head Tagliamonte, et.
One major draw back of the data is the source. The data is so limited in scope that it may not be a good sample of any Naija speaking community, given that all the interviewees were educated middle class Nigerians living in Canada. There is also every reason to think that their pidgin could have been affected by social factors such as education and contact with Canadian English.
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In the summer of , spoken language samples were collected from respon-dents in seven Nigerian states. During the second trip, December - January , mobility was hampered due to widespread civil unrest.
problems - Tok Pisin English Dictionary
In total, I had over sixteen hours of recorded speech from twenty-six respondents drawn from five geo-political zones of the nation, which are the Southwest, South, Southeast, North and North Central. The respondents represent the spectrum of Nigerian ethnic and social demographics. For each speaker, social factors such as age, educational level, ethnicity and sex were noted. The data for the South West were collected from the cities of Lagos, Akure, Ilesha and Ibadan, from eight respondents whose first language is Yoruba.
These speakers ranged in age from 28 to 62 years; two of them were illiterate, while the others ranged in educational level from high school to post-graduate university. The Southeastern group consisted of six Igbo respondents from Awka, Enugu, Onitsha and Asaba, ranging in age from 22 to In the Northern regions, the six respondents were native speakers of Hausa, mainly from Abuja, Kaduna, Markudi and Adamawa. This sample had a different demographic make-up. In this mainly Muslim region, women rarely participate in public social spaces, so only one female respondent was contacted.
Older men were also reluctant to converse in Nigerian Pidgin; the age range of these respondents was 22 to 45 years. One respondent had lived in the Southwest Lagos and spoke Yoruba with conversational fluency.
In the Southsouth region, six respondents were contacted in Benin, Warri and Sapele; all the respondents interviewed were native speakers of Edo and Urhobo and ranged in age from 28 to 59 years. The recordings were done in informal settings, and the interactions took the form of brief sociolinguistic interviews, without any formal tasks.
The purpose of the study was presented to subjects in very general terms. This problem arose in the present study. As respondents became aware that the researcher was a language scholar, they tended to use a heavily Anglicized type of pidgin. To navigate this challenge, I spoke only Naija, which gave subjects freedom give respond in similar fashion.
Structure dataset 22: Tok Pisin
I also pleaded with the respondents to speak the natural way they would speak with other Pidgin speakers on the street or elsewhere. Includes controversies about whether AAVE should be "wiped out" or used as a basis for the teaching of initial literacy skills and Standard English mastery in the classroom, e. Our primary focus will be on the dramatic transformations which took place in the English language as it was transplanted from Britain to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific i. But other languages e. Linguistics Sociolinguistic Theory and Analysis last taught Fall This is a seminar style course for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in Linguistics and related fields e.
Prior background in Linguistics is assumed. Primary emphasis is on work within the area of "socially realistic" linguistics Hymes , which brings social considerations to bear on problems of description and analysis common to phonology, syntax, historical linguistics and other "core" areas of linguistics. It involves a judicious combination of reading, discussion, and fieldwork.
There is a field assignment--and a write-up of that assignment--every week. Well, in a sense. But it is also still a major non-native language for many, probably for more. As with languages and dialects , the difference between pidgin and creole is not exactly airtight. Try the demo!
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