Language variety in Nigeria

nigeria language

Nigeria is a populous country in Africa with the enormous city Lagos, which is the biggest city, with the largest concentration of people within the whole African continent. The official language of Nigeria is English, often called Nigerian Standard English. This type of English is similiar to English in the UK, however, there is a significant impact from the USA. Nigerian Standard English is used in politics, on the internet and in some television programmes.

Nigeria is very diverse when considering the number of ethnic groups. There are around 250, and each of them have their own national or regional language. This is serious problem for the country, because language relates to culture, which is the cement that unites a society. Therefore, the English language seems to be the natural solution in this case. However, not every Nigerian can speak English, even in its Standard version, but almost all of them speak in Nigeriidgin. What is it?

Nigerian Pidgin is an English based pidgin and creole language, spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. This language is commonly called “Pidgin” or “Brokin”. Nigerian Pidgin is the language of approximately 3 to 5 milon people and is a second language for at least another 75 milion of Nigerian people. Is can be understood by people who speak Kiro (Sierra Leone), or Kamtok (Cameron). There are also some similarities to Spanish and Portuguese, as there are still some leftover words from those languages. Nigerian Pidgin is mostly used in informal conversations, however it has no status as as official language. English serves as the superstrate, whereas the substrates are the local African languages​​, which also include Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.

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