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Facts have been established by researchers and they justify that the English used in Nigeria is a variation of the British English (BE) and not a deviation from the norms of BE. This is an attempt to investigate the extent to which Nigerian columnists use the lexico-semantic features of Nigerian English for their reportings. This work has adopted the lexico-semantic variation of Nigerian English as identified by Babatunde (2001) as our working parameters alongside our data which are randomly selected dailies in the months of April, May, August, November and December 2010. It is evident that the socio-cultural background of the Nigerian people is captured by Nigerian English. Nigerian speakers find it preferable to use the Nigerian English, with all its local flavours because most of them are incompetent in the use of English language and also because of the socio-cultural context of the Nigerian society. 




            Change is often a noticeable occurrence in all living languages. Language speakers exhibit dynamism in various ways. Every language is meant for a particular group of people however, there are occasions where a language features in a foreign environment making new words emerge and some lexical items might even be lost overtime in such language.

            Obviously, man who makes use of language to communicate and convey meanings has the nature of change in him. This seems to account for the change experienced in language.

            Language is used to enhance effective communication and the effectiveness of its usage goes a long way to generate the effective meaning of expressions.

            Consequently, the context often times is an important factor to consider when one is expressing himself.

            Every country in the world has people who make use of languages which helps to perform several functions of which Nigeria is not an exception.

            Nigeria is a country, which has people with diverse languages and cultures. English language is one of the language spoken in Nigeria and it serves several functions for instance, business transaction, education, administration, the language of the press, the language of entertainment and also the official language etc.

            As a matter of fact, English has actually come to stay in Nigeria considering the prestige being bestowed on it by Nigerians and apparently, a very high percentage of people in Nigeria will not relent in protecting the interest of English language, simply because it helps to bridge the gap of socio-cultural differences among the Nigerian people and also promotes interpersonal relationship.

            However, Nigerian columnists use English to convey their messages to their audience. Some of their expressions are being captured by Nigerian English that is, the variety of English used in Nigeria. The audience gain adequate information of the messages being highlighted.

            The columnists, use to a large extent, employ some features of Nigerian English while they write and they are always conscious of the fact that there is a Nigerian English.

            Talking about lexico-semantic, it means lexis and meaning. It appears to be generally recognised that frequent changes and modifications occur at the lexico-semantic level in Nigeria. A large number of lexical items and expressions of British Standard English (BSE) have undergone semantic change in Nigerian usage. Some lexical items in Nigeria English are innovated through coining, compounding, blending processes and so many others.

            Lexis is stock of words used in a language, it is also known as lexemes. It simply means words. It is present in the lexicon of a language.

            According to Jackson & Amvela (2007) “lexis are stock of words in a given language, that is its vocabulary or lexicon”. The study of lexis is known as lexicology.

            However, lexis is always found in the context it exists. Lexis actually builds up the word structure of a language.

            On the other hand, semantics simply means the study of meaning. The researches that have been made on semantics by scholars have often bothered on how meaning can be generated in a particular language. However, though there have been so many theories of meaning which have been propounded, not one of them can adequately account for how meaning of words can be inferred in a language this is as a result of the abstract and complex nature of meaning.

Odebunmi (2006) asserts that, “the engine of language is meaning; without meaning, there is no language in fact the essence of language is to generate or convey meaning”.

From the above assertion, it is quite clear that meaning is vital and an integral part in any language. It plays an important role in every language.

Pei (1966) propounds that “semantics is the study of meaning in language, including relations between language, thought and behaviour”. This suggests that meaning and language have relationship in bringing out the true value of a language.


This study will attempt to project the extent at which lexis and meaning of Nigeria English vary from the British Standard English in the viewpoint column of the punch newspapers of the some selected dailies.

Also, it will identify the various types and causes of lexico-semantic variation in Nigerian English that can be seen in the viewpoint column of the punch newspapers, to see the extent to which Nigerians who write the articles seen in the viewpoint columns being examined, use the lexico-semantic variation in the Nigerian English.


This research is studied to portray and clarify the point that Nigerian English is not a deviation from the British Standard English but rather a variation of it. Therefore, an attempt with be made to examine the Nigerian English words which are used to express the experiences and thoughts of the Nigerian people.

Some scholars like Adegbija (1988), Kujore (1990), Bamiro (1991), Odumuh, (1984, 1987, 1998) and many others have carried out extensive studies in the area of lexis semantic variation of Nigerian English and their contributions have been considered very useful, especially to the Nigerian people who have little knowledge about Nigerian English.

This study makes an effort to generate relevant use and findings about Nigerian English which will be of great benefit to English students who want to know about Nigerian English and also to the Nigerian People generally.


It is important to emphasize that this study: lexis-semantic analysis of viewpoint column of punch newspaper will not include every aspect of the Nigerian English concept because this will be very broad to analyse.

This study shall limit itself to the lexico-semantic variation of the Nigerian English which are obtainable in the selected dailies in the months April, May, August, November and December 2010.


The mode of our study shall be the collection of newspapers published in the months; April, May, August, November and December 2010. It is important to note that, not all the days of the weeks in the months aforelisted will be analysed, but some dailies will be selected randomly for the purpose of the analysis.

Emphasis will be made on the words or phrases and their meanings. The analysis shall be done through established parameters, that is, the various features of lexico-semantic variation in Nigerian English in the columns will be classified according to the type of lexico-semantic variation they belong to. The lexico-semantic variation that will be adopted for our analysis is the one identified by (Adegbija, 1989) cited in (Babatunde, 2001).



The punch newspaper was established in 1973 by two friends, James Aboderin, and accountant and Sam Amuka a columnist and editor at the Daily Times. Its headquarters is in Lagos. Sam Amuka became the first editor of the Sunday punch. In November 1976, a few years after the first print of its Sunday edition, the duo started printing its trademark daily newspaper. Both editions were designed to favour a friendlier apolitical approach to news reporting, combining footages of social events with everyday political news. It is a paper that is read throughout the duration. The paper sustains itself by delving into broad issues that interests a myriad of people.

1.5       CONCLUSION

In this chapter, we have given a general introduction of our research, stating the purpose and procedures of our study.

We shall proceed to the next chapter which is the review of our literature where we shall look through what some scholars have said about semantics, lexis, theories and types of meaning and other terms that are related to this study.

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