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The research is a sociolinguistic analysis of the use of Nigerian Pidgin for transactions in Zaria markets. Pidgins are contact vernacular normally not the native language of any speaker in the situation requiring communication between persons who do not speak each other‟s native language. It is characterized by a limited vocabulary and an elimination of many grammatical devices such as number and gender. This research investigates the extent to which buyers and sellers make use of pidgins along with other languages such as Hausa and other varieties of English which are widely spoken in Samaru and Sabo Gari markets. It also investigates whether there is any significant impact of switching and mixing codes and Nigerian Pidgin for interactions in the selected markets. The study adopts the anthropological approach by Hymes (1974) as its theoretical framework using “ethnography of communication”. The methodology used to collect data for this study includes audio-tape recording and questionnaire. The population for this study comprises some traders that own shops and buyers who patronize Samaru and Sabon Gari markets in Kaduna State. Ten (10) transaction sessions were recorded andfour hundred and sixty-eight (468) copies of questionnaire were administered to the buyers and sellers in both markets by direct contact.The data collected were analysed using arithmetic calculation and Kejrice and Morgan (1970) method respectively. The analysis revealed the extent to which Nigerian Pidgin is used in the market and concludes that Nigerian Pidgin is a language for effective communication in the markets. Also, the findings show that, the native speakers of Hausa and other indigenous languages communicate in Nigerian Pidgin by code-switching and code-mixing.
1.1 Background of the Study
This research focuses on the use of Nigerian Pidginas a means of communication in Samaru
and Sabo Gari markets. The research was motivated by the observation that the use of
Nigerian Pidgin is prevalent in both markets which are located in Zaria, Kaduna State,
Nigeria. It must however be noted that, NigerianPidgin is not the only language spoken in the
markets. Other indigenous languages (Igbo, Yoruba, etc) as well as Standard English, Broken
English and Hausa, the language of the immediate environment are also spoken there.
However, the use of Nigerian Pidgin in these markets is very important because different
people of different linguistic backgrounds patronize the market, and need to understand one
another. Interaction is sometimes achieved through code-mixing and code-switching of the
languages to increase and enhance sales.
Nigerian Pidgincommunication between people in a society is highly important, thus
individuals in a society relate and communicate with each other using the language. The
universality and diversity of speech has led to a significant inference that language is an
immensely ancient heritage of the human race, whether or not all forms of speech are the
historical outgrowth of a single pristine form. Communication among people who speak the
same language is possible because they share the same common language, (Rajend et
al.2000).The expression of the complex communicative needs of people is enhanced by their
use of language, which enables understanding among a people who share the same linguistic
identity.Edward Sapir defines language as „…a purely human and non-instinctive method of
communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols‟
(Sapir 1921:6). Sapir stresses that language is the institution whereby human beings
communicate ideas, emotions and desires as well as interact with each other by means of
habitual oral auditory and arbitrary symbols.When individuals of different backgroundsare
forced to interact with each other, a simplified language derived from two or more languages
is developedand such resultant language is called a pidgin.Pidgins are simplified languages
made up of parts of two or more languages used as a communication tool between speakers,
who do not have a common language and which help to sustain interaction in a community.
Labov (1936), one of the pioneers in Sociolinguistics, notes that code-switching takes place
in individual utterances, and that speakers form and establish a pidgin language when two or
more speakers do not speak a common language. In speech communities like Samaru and
Sabon Gari markets in Zaria, communication takes place in a unique way by code-switching
and code-mixing between speakers of two or more languages,and Nigerian Pidgin is used
especially by traders to facilitate economic and business transactions. Thus traders tend to use
thisform of language in the market to aid communication and to promote sales. The value of
pidgin in Nigeria as a sociolinguistic variable is of great importance as it is spoken in the
market among buyers and sellers to promote trade. It also serves as a language of wider
communication between people of different ethnic groups as noted in a market situation. This
is why pidginsreceive great attention because of the socio-economic benefits it offers to the
educated and illiterate in the country.
There is the growing data that shows the important roleusers have accorded Nigerian Pidgin
as used in social interaction and for business transactions among people of different
languages. In spite of the traditional attitude of disapproval towardspidgins, it still flourishes
in commercial and social activities where different ethnic groups come together to transact
business. The relevance of in Nigerian Pidgin in the success ofbusiness transactions in these
markets (Samaru and Sabon Gari) where people from different linguistic backgrounds
converge to buy or sell makes the use of pidginsimportant. It is from this background that the
present study seeks to analyse the prominence of Nigerian Pidgin used along with other
languages in both Samaru and Sabon Gari markets speech interactions of buying and selling.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Language is used for the purpose of communication between individuals. When a common
language is lacking, communication becomes a problem.Thisstudy attempts to contribute to
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