Monday, March 10, 2008

Vulcanising miscreants

Felicitous article on Nigerian English here.


Sandrine 4:33 pm  

Hi Jeremy,
I love that language is like a living thing.It evolves differently depending on where it is.If you put the same language in two different places,it will evolve differently and after a while the two will have only very little in common, like Darwin's finches.People speaking Creole, Cajun or Acadian understand me but may not understand each other.I find it fascinating and I love the creativity and the diversity.It makes everything so much more interesting.
However in the case of Nigeria it may be a disadvantage if younger generations (like the article mentions) are unable to speak their parents language and in the same time are unable to speak proper English.Is it an accurate picture though?So I guess people on this blog must be older! ;-)
Take care.

aronke,  8:20 pm  

Yes o! Don't you just love naija? How about:
'That girl is always on dungarees'
'She likes to wear a lot of jeans'
'They did all their possible best'
'I did it sometimes last year'
'The traffic is bad but not all that'
'I went to the market hence i was late'
'So and so stormed the office' (a la citi people. I always wonder why anyone who visits their office is said to 'storm' it!!)
'The girl is fine sha, but not fine fine' (What the heck does that mean???)
'The situation bothers on madness' (I've written countless letters to newspapers begging them to buy the Collins dictionary & thesaurus for their writers, this particularly grieves my spirit!)

Anonymous,  8:49 pm  

you are a funny womanbeing.
Did you see the two twins, at 2 am in the morning ?
She's a winch!
They were romancing each other..
it doesnt consign me
i better dont try to carry on in this vein...

Sandrine 8:55 pm  

Hi Jeremy,
Do you know that site?

Anonymous,  9:50 pm  

An interesing exchange between my son(age 7 , born in England) and his Granpa(visiting from Nigeria)

gp: You've had your lunch?
Son: yes grandpa
gp: so why are you having pasta AGAIN (i.e "o tun je pasta" directly translated)
Son: again? but grandpa, I haven't had pasta.
gp: yes but you ate your lunch and now you are having pasta AGAIN
Son: I had a sandwich for lunch not pasta, so I'm not having pasta AGAIN.
This went on and on and I couldn't help thinking they both make sense but in different ways.

A few days later:
Me(raised in Nigeria): Is this the toy you got from that party.
Son: No
me: Oh so this is ANOTHER one
Son(probably getting the gist now):
No mummy, a DIFFERENT one
me:(point taken) OOOOkaaaay
I think he might be right but then, so am I!

Waffarian 10:26 pm  

This issue "has been flogged" on various blogs before now. I am not "given to" commenting on such issues since I would be most likely to "be taken aback" by how simply others constuct their sentences. I am "wont to" constructing long and complex sentences with words that "task" others to use their dictionaries. However do not take my word for it, read "in detail" this paragraph and "endevour" to reply, "asap".

aronke,  11:19 pm  

Yelz, yelz. I saw the two twins through my bedroom window (which i opened to let the atmosphere jump in) while i sat drinking my cold ice water and told the hignorant himps playing houtside the window to heither shut their traps or come and be going!

Anonymous,  2:56 pm  

...and some of my course mates were rusticated.

omidanbellafricaine 3:12 pm  

LOL How about He was toasting m could never figure out what toaster meant. However like the writer said many of this expressions have their roots in nigerian languages like "come and be going" is a direct translation of "ewa ma a lo". Another interesting thing is the use of the word "now"
Come now (here now is used as a plea not a command and has nothing to do with immediacy)

Anonymous,  2:08 am  

you should have seen how they pourshoed the man. the woman's colour riot was too much. sha sha i wasnt there. the go-slow was very bad. the girl is always sparking unnecessarily.
anyway eyin peeps, i have to be going, someone is flashing me.

Anonymous,  2:09 am  

i will see you next tomorrow.

Anonymous,  2:37 am  

you better zero your mind if that was wot u were expecting.

Naapali 7:47 pm  

Language is organic and Nigerian English and its colloquialisms is no more different than Canadian, American, Kiwi, or Indian English and how they differ from English English.

It took me a while to get used to the American "different than" as opposed to English "different from". My blood pressure reaches new peaks every time I hear American broadcasters talk about how a house was "burglarized". I find Nigerians abroad quickly adapt to the local lingo if not to the mannerisms that underpin the lingo.

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