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A bilingual or a multilingual speaker of Nigerian languages tend to fall back to the ethnic languages in the domains and topics, context and situations that require the usage of Standard English Language as result of the predominant Nigerian language(s) in their repertoire. There are different languages (codes) used by Nigerian students for interaction today, this has led to peculiar problems for meaning-making in a context where the standard expression of English language is required. Therefore, this study analyzed the Socio-semantics of Code-switching among Students of Benue State University and the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, by examining the users and types of codes switched in order to identify effects on the language use of Standard English language within sociolinguistics domains and formal context. The study adopts an eclectic approach in the analysis of its data; Fishman‟s (1972) “Domain and Topics Analysis”, Labov‟s (2006) “Quantitative Paradigm Analysis” as well as the “Semantic Model of Conversational Code-switching” by Gumperz further modified by Auer (1984) in order to accommodate the nature of this study. The research design for this study combines aspects of qualitative and quantitative; includes descriptive statistical tools such as frequency distribution, tables and percentages. Data was sourced from the selected universities; random selections of students in the universities constitute the study and population, while three major instruments were used: „unscheduled non-participatory observation‟, „questionnaire‟ and „motive-determination interview‟. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyse the variables on the questionnaires to present the results of the data collected. Findings of the study reveal that, the frequency of code-switching among students of the study area, particularly students of English Language indicated that 75.2% of the total respondents “most often”, “often” or “seldom” code-switch to Nigerian languages in order to make meaningful conversation. The analysis also showed that “domains of discourse” and “pragmatics”, “language use” and “meaning-making” have a significant impact on the Nigerian university students as a result of their frequent code-switching thereby affecting their competent use of English language for a meaningful dialogue in formal context.
1.1 Background to the Study
The nature of written or spoken words today is expected to carry a message that
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