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The influence of Nigerian English on British Standard English is one of the controversial issues in our country (Nigeria) today. The Nigerian scholars dispute among themselves over its existence or otherwise. While some scholars among many proclaim the existence of Nigerian English and strongly advocated for its development. Attempts to the definition of Nigerian English and its varieties. Also, it takes a brief survey of phonological and semantic component of Nigerian English. This research paper attempt to establish the existence of Nigerian English and it’s varieties. Also, it takes a brief survey of phonological and semantic component of Nigerian English as well as providing possible solution for further research work.
1.1 BAGROUND OF THE STUDY
English is a Germanic language, belonging to a branch of the Indo-European family of language, from which have descended among other, Latin and its Roman derivatives, Greek and Sanskrit, Other Indo-European Languages are: - Celtic, Italic and Hellenic. Germanic comprises of English, Danish, Swedish and German (Barber, 1992:58-67).
English is unique among the languages of the world, not only in our time but also throughout history of the 4,000 to 5,000 spoken languages in the world today; English is by far the most widely used or spoken as mother tongue. It ranks second only to mandarin (Chinese language) who have six naturally intelligible dialects and little is used outside China. On the other hand, the 300 million native speakers of English are found in every continent of the world. English language is the first language in twenty-three countries of the world. It is an official language or a joint official language in about fifty other countries where it is used in addition to the ingenious first language for variety of public and personal functions. It is also used as second language, through without official status in counties such as Bangladesh and Malaysia. About 2.5 billion people which is estimated to be 49% of the world population use English as L1 or L2 or FL. (Jacob O. Alobo, 2005)
In Nigeria for instance English language is used as second language such as a widely spoken language like English is bound to have deviation at all levels of analysis (Semantic, Phonology and Syntax) from the original form (Standard Version)
Today, new varieties of English have developed in various parts of the world where English functions as a second language. This is as results of some local factors emerging from each geographical region of usage. In a country where English is widely used outside the native speaker environment, local varieties of English have developed Nigerian English, Indian English, British English. We do not have this phenomenon inside a political arena where English is wide spoken. Such developed varieties have been variously termed as local non-native and non-standard.
In addition, Nigerian English which is also, the target of this study is not an exception to this deviation standard British English (S.B.E) has been spoken and written by Americans, Britons and Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the spoken form which is the Received Pronunciation (R.P) is the variety spoken by people often Southern London and those that have their earlier education at Cambridge University in London. Nigerian English on the other hand has been characterized by many deviations from the standard British version. This could be as a result of similarities in our language educational background and socio-cultural. The Nigerian language situation is one through which a multiplication of language exist. To determination the exact of language indigenous to Nigerians is daunting task. English however, plays a unifying role in the way as other roles of communication.
It is the only language which Nigerians of diverse linguistic, geographical, social and religious backgrounds have in common. It is the language of business, social interactions, and commercial life of people. Whenever a group of Nigerians meet together and they do not share a common Nigerian language, they resort to English.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Socio-linguistic data have proved that language and culture are so intertwined that an attempt to make a clear-cut separation of one from the other would indubitably be barren, therefore it is a fact that no two language are linguistically or culturally the same. Hence, the nature of English as a second language in Nigeria is markedly different from that of indigenous language.
The communication norms required for English may be said to be different from that of indigenous language in respect of any or some aspect of language such as syntax, semantics, and phonology. It is quite accurate that indigenous language in Nigeria as other parts of the world were acquired without interference from other language habits. On the contrary English has to contend with the problem of interference.
As a result of these various varieties of English have emerged a pattern among native speakers of Nigerian languages. Despite the fact that the English taught in our institutions of learning and the situation through which it was taught are similar in Nigerian context. For instance, it may be assumed that the majority of English speakers acquired the language for instrumental motivation, where the dominant purpose is getting job as against integrative motivation which demonstrates a desire for integration with the dominant group. The former way leads to functional adequate but not-standard dialect of English.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Nigerian English may be regarded as most widely spoken form of English among Nigerians in educational institutions, it seems to have gained ascendancy over other forms of spoken English like the Pidgin. Nigerian English though characterized by many deviations such as changes in meaning, extension in meaning, phonology and semantic components has too much staying power due to its usage in literary productions and official encouragement.
In Nigeria institutions of leaning, these deviations bare very noticeable. The mass media also have their own negative contribution. It is very common on Nigeria radio and in newspapers to broadcast and publish, respectively, some of deviations without knowing the phonological and semantic implication of them. A collection of such deviations can be found in the book titled: Nigeria English usage, J. O. (1991). This research work is aimed at investigating the influence of Nigerian English (NE) on the standard British English (S.B.E). The researchers have taken into consideration the phonological and semantic errors which have daily occurrence in the speech of many Nigerians. Nigerian English has been disputed over some scholars who say it should be elevated to the level of growing international intelligibility instead of refusing or denying the fact that deviations from the norms of standard British English (S.B.E) exist. This is the premise on which the target language, which the researchers will take survey on will clarify most of those Nigerian deviations.
The hypothesis and the researchers questions of this study, which is aimed at standardizing Nigerian English. The following hypotheses are:
1. That Nigerian English exerts a great influence on standard British English (S.B.E).
2. That the effect of dominance of sub-varieties: Pidgin English and broken English have great influence on standard British English (S.B.E).
3. That the learners of English as L2 especially in Nigeria use their residential knowledge of vulgar or errors of English language up to higher institution.
4. That the Nigeria English is characterized by both phonological and semantic errors.
5. That most of the phonological errors are as a result of interference.
The role which English language plays on our education at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary coupled with the fact English still maintains the official language status has come to stay with us. The significance of the study is invaluable due to the influence which the language (English) has in on various spheres of life.
To the teacher the new national curriculum in English language for Nigerian secondary schools introduced in the 1980s gives fresh emphasis on the development proficiency in spoken English in Nigeria. More so, lack of proficiency on the part of the teacher, partly because they were not sure their speech reflected the pronunciation norm of Standard English (S.E) which they were supposes to teach. This is one of the factors which has been neglected to the students, many of the statements they make are vulgar. Despite having started learning English language from primary school, they have been able to proficiently one it. They get affect hygienic competence.
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