THE EFFECT OF THE NIGERIAN PIDGIN ENGLISH ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN NIGERIA. ACASE STUDY OF NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA STUDENTS IN BENIN STUDY CENTRE.

THE EFFECT OF THE NIGERIAN PIDGIN ENGLISH ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN NIGERIA. ACASE STUDY OF NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA STUDENTS IN BENIN STUDY CENTRE.

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ABSTRACT

The subject matter of this research work is to examine the effect of  Nigerian Pidgin English on the academic performance among National Open University of Nigeria Students in Benin Study Centre. The main objective of this research work was to find out the impact of Nigerian Pidgin English on students communication and academic performance. The design used for the study is a descriptive survey method. The numbers of students used are one hundred and twenty-five (125) from National Open University Benin Study Centre. Four research questions were formulated to guide the study, from which the questionnaire was designed. From the analyzed data, it showed that students frequently use Pidgin in their daily communication within the school premises, lack of effective usage of English language has prompted student to use Pidgin in their communication and the use of Nigeria pidgin by male and female students has encourage wrong use and expression of English language. It was recommended that Staff and students in tertiary institution across the federation should engage the use of Standard English language in the communication rather than use of Nigeria Pidgin. In addition, the use of Nigerian Pidgin by students during official communication should be discouraged by implementing laws that can combat wrong use of English Language in the school environment.

CHAPTER ONE

1.0                                                            INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

Attitudes towards language or language behavior implicate social meanings relative to social norms in a given speech community. As demonstrated in the literature, language attitude study is not only a way of understanding how language is used, for example, as a symbol of identity or in-group membership, it also helps to illuminate the social importance of a given code or language (see Adegbija, 1994; Ihemere 2006; Salami 1991). Attitudinal studies of language are also important to linguistics because they could help to explain language maintenance and shift, which are apparently influenced by whether the change or maintenance is favored or disfavored by members of the speech community (Mann 1993; 1998).

In Nigeria, Nigerian Pidgin used to be seen generally as the code of the non-literate as well as a bastardization of English and its use was, therefore, considered a mark of the level of one’s proficiency in English. Akande (2008) has noted, the sociolinguistic reality in Nigeria today is such that Nigerian Pidgin is spoken by university graduates, professors, lawyers and journalists. It has also been demonstrated that Nigerian Pidgin is not used only in informal settings but also in offices and other formal settings (Akande 2008). In other words, the claim that Nigerian Pidgin is the code of the non-literate does not seem to have validity as there are a lot of educated speakers in Nigeria who can use both Standard English and Nigerian Pidgin proficiently (Akande 2008).

 It is quite interesting to note that what actually started as a contingency language between the  white  merchants,  who  later  turned  colonial  masters, and  their  black  traders  has  now become  an  elitist  campus  language-spoken  among  the  teeming  population  of  the  Nigerian students  in  higher  institutions  of  learning.  Thus,  at  common  rooms,  kiosks,  gossip  centres, viewing  centres, play grounds, rally  grounds, relaxation  joints,  movie grounds and a  host of other  meeting  points  where  and  when  students  are  relieved of  their  academic  routines,  they are seen interacting lively in Nigeria pidgin.

Nigeria as a  multilingual nation is  made up of different speech communities and diverse ethnic groups. Past studies on linguistic situation in Nigeria have brought to  the  fore  the  complexity  of  the  native  languages  in  the  country.  Bamgbose  and Okike cited in Ndiemele (2) put the figures of Nigerian indigenous languages to three hundred  and  seventy-four  (374)  and  four  hundred  (400)  languages  respectively.

Adegbija  claims  that there  are  over  five  hundred  (500)  languages  spoken  in  Nigeria (75). The glaring fact, therefore, is that Nigeria is a community made up of different ‘tongues’,  and  this,  to  a  great  extent,  necessitated  the  adoption  of  the  English language,  a colonial legacy, as both the official and second language  of the country. Predominant   among   these   languages   are   Igbo,   Yoruba,   Hausa   and   Nigerian Pidgin/Creole.  Apart  from  the  first  three  major  languages,  Pidgin/Creole is  very popular  in  Nigeria.  Ndimele  estimates  that  Nigerian  Pidgin  now  serves  as  a  native language  to  approximately  three  to  five  million  people  in  Nigeria  and  it  is  a  second language  (L2)  for  another  75  million  people  (4).  Jowit  confirms  the  popularity  of Nigerian Pidgin thus: “The situation today is that pidgin flourishes as a medium of inter-ethnic  communication,  especially  in  the  large  cities  with  many  non-indigenous residents  (Bendel,  Benin,  Port  Harcourt  e.tc)  or  throughout  states  with  small  many ethnic groups.

Nigeria as a  multilingual nation is  made up of different speech communities and diverse ethnic groups. Past studies on linguistic situation in Nigeria have brought to  the  fore  the  complexity  of  the  native  languages  in  the  country.  Bamgbose  and Okike cited in Ndiemele (2) put the figures of Nigerian indigenous languages to three hundred  and  seventy-four  (374)  and  four  hundred  (400)  languages  respectively. Adegbija  claims  that there  are  over  five  hundred  (500)  languages  spoken  in  Nigeria (75). The glaring fact, therefore, is that Nigeria is a community made up of different ‘tongues’,  and  this,  to  a  great  extent,  necessitated  the  adoption  of  the  English language,  a colonial legacy, as both the official and second language  of the country. Predominant   among   these   languages   are   Igbo,   Yoruba,   Hausa   and   Nigerian Pidgin/Creole.

Furthermore, it could be argued that Nigerian Pidgin has enhanced the propagation of national ideas, socio-cultural, linguistic and political developments as well as peace and unity in the country since it is the only language that both the educated and the uneducated, irrespective of their ethnic affinities, can identify with. The use of Nigerian Pidgin by Nigerians, however, has led to the growing status of the code in the country. In other words, Nigerian Pidgin has remained one of the languages with vitality in the society despite its unofficial recognition. Nonetheless, it has been observed that a large number of people across various sectors of the society including particularly those parents who are highly placed government officials, teachers, students in the universities tend to express disgust at its use by youths at home and school premises.

Pidgin is a contact language, and like all contact languages comes into being under  conditions  of  interaction  among  people  of  different  linguistic  backgrounds. Pidgins   usually   evolve   from   the   fusion   of   foreign   languages   and   indigenous languages. Crystal explained  that most of the  present day pidgins  grew up along the trade routes of the world especially in those parts where the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese  and  Dutch  built  up  their  empires. At  the  outset  of  pidgin,  it  has  few  words  and  few  simple  constructions. Interestingly, the syntax of pidgin can be quite unlike the languages from which terms were borrowed and modified

The objective of the study is to find out the extent to which Nigerian Pidgin is used or spoken among the students of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Benin Study Centre.

1.2       Statement of the problem

Students discuss or communicate very often among themselves just as lecturers do while imparting knowledge. In the university campuses therefore, a lot of communication take place. The language of communication is also as diverse as the many tribes of students that are present.  It will be expected therefore that different mother tongues will be employed in so doing. It is however known that students often make use of peculiar means of communicating such as the use of Nigerian Pidgin, code-switching and code-mixing which results from their bilingual nature.

To solve these lingering problems of the use of Nigerian Pidgin among students in higher institution, there is need to limit the use of Nigerian Pidgin in official communication which affects academic performance. The study will exploit how students use Nigeria Pidgin in their communication and studies.

1.3       Research Questions

To guide this study, the following questions will be answered;

1.             How frequently do NOUN students use Nigerian Pidgin English?

2.      Under what circumstances do NOUN students frequently use Nigerian Pidgin English?

3.      To what extent do NOUN students use Nigerian Pidgin English in communicating with staff and students of NOUN?

4.      Is there a gender difference in the use Nigerian Pidgin English among NOUN students?

1.4       Objectives of the Study

This work intends to examine how frequent NOUN students use Nigerian Pidgin and under what circumstances do NOUN students frequently use Nigerian Pidgin. Also the study seeks to find the extent Noun student’s use of Nigerian Pidgin in communicating with staff and students.

The study will also examine the gender difference in the use Nigerian Pidgin among NOUN students and determine if there is any significant difference among male and female students in the use of NP in communication.

1.5       Significant of the Study

This study is important because its results can go a long way to finding out the causes of students’ negative or positive academic performance and if Nigerian Pidgin contributes negatively or positively to the students social interaction.

This work will in no doubt contribute to one’s knowledge and it will highlight some issues in educational planning. It will be a guide for the Federal Government in planning for an effective educational system.

1.6       Scope and Limitations:

The scope of this project is on The Effect of the Nigerian Pidgin English on the Academic Performance of University Students in Nigeria. It will assess the extent NOUN students use Nigerian Pidgin English in communicating with staff and students. This research is limited to National Open University, Benin Study Centre even though the findings might be generic.

1.7       Definition of terms

Use: take, hold, or deploy (something) as a means of accomplishing or achieving something; employ; the action of using something or the state of being used for a purpose.

Nigeria Pidgin: is an English-based pidgin and creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as "Pidgin" or "Brokin".

Student: is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution; children, teenagers, or adults who attend a school, but it may also be other people who attend a school.


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