Standardisation of Nigerian Pidgin.

Rivkin Haag


   Dissertationsprojekt Michael Ugwuowo

The rapid spread of Nigerian Pidgin (NP) has continued. The native-speaker population is equally on the increase- some “3 – 5 Million” people speak Pidgin as first language, about “75 Million” people as a second language. NP is also presently used as medium of literary expression and in radio and television broadcast etc. Dictionaries of NP are being compiled and portions of the Bible have been translated into NP. However, NP lacks a written standard that will serve as a norm and which can support “a tradition of literary expression”. Terminologies and standard orthography should be approved and a dictionary should be developed. This would check such inconsistencies noticeable in the works of some Nigerian writers and perhaps pave the way for the use of NP as a medium of education, bearing in mind the UNESCO suggestion on the use of mother tongues at early stages in schools.

The cliché that NP is a corrupt and impoverished form of English used mainly by illiterates and the under class has been proved wrong with the ever increasing role of NP. The Nigerian military, the students on campus, the petty traders on the roadsides and at market places, the preachers and politicians during religious and political activities, Nollywood movie makers, musicians etc. frequently express themselves in NP. But until the policy makers in Nigeria finally accept to recognise NP as a fully-fledged and an important language, the call for its standardisation will remain very unrealistic even in the near future. Wetin we go do?

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