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1.0 BACKGROUND TO STUDY
The English language in Nigeria is older than the Nigerian nation. It was formally introduced in 1842 by the first batch of missionaries who arrived in Badagry to evangelize as well as educate Nigerians (Tomori, 1981). When a language comes in contact with new environment, for it to survive, it has to adopt and change to reflect the needs of its new environment. The English language is no exception: the language is about 170 years old in Nigeria (as it was formally introduced in 1842). The English language has become so much adopted that it has been demosticated, nativesed and acculturated (Adegbija 2004). The English language has been Nigerianized. This adaptation of English emanating from the distinctive use of the language by Nigerians gave birth to what is known as Nigerian English (NE). What Bamgbose (1995), Adegbija (2004),
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Akere(2005) refer to as “nativazation”, “domestication” and “indigenization” of English in Nigeria.
The change of meaning that occurs in the Nigerian context of English usage may be due to factors such as adaptation of English to Nigerians’ needs influence of indigenous languages, influence of Nigerian culture, which is different from the British culture. Although there are changes of meaning of certain words that differ from the native speakers’ usage, nonetheless, there are common grounds in which particular lexical items are use alike.
This study documents and analyses contain lexico-semantic features in the English used for news report in Nigerian newspapers, different from words or usage found in native varieties of English such as British English orAmerican English. The specific features have been documented as being beyond errors, and have being markers of a variety “Nigerian English”. Thus, the research identifies and explains the non-native and non-standard features against the background of the literature on Nigerian English as a
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variety by indicating that these ungrammaticalities already exist in the literature on Nigerian English. The research posits that this presentation gives further evidence of the elaboration, formalization and standardization of Nigerian English.
The central proposition is that the free employment of recognizedlexico-semantic feature is a boost to efforts at codifying Nigerian English and elaborating its functions in formal discourse.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is believed that any research concerning human behavior which language is one, should have assumption of what constitutes the problems to that behavior or reaction toward that behavior.
English as a second language (ESL) in Nigeria is used in such a way that the meanings of some lexical items often get changed, thereby bringing about several misconceptions and misunderstandings, especially with regards to acceptability of the usage to other English users outside the Nigerian environment. This is a problem that is caused by the adaptation of
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English to the Nigerian socio-cultural environment. For instance, the words ‘sorry’ has been adopted so much to the Nigerian environment that its meaning has changed and extended to cover a wide spectrum of areas such as sympathy over certain losses of certain valuables, bereavement, etc. This type of change and extension of meaning of certain lexical items is capable of causing misconception and misinterpretation by other users of English outside the Nigerian environment. This, therefore, generates the problem of acceptability and intelligibility of such change and extension or reduction of meaning of some lexical items as used by Nigerians.
This distinctive usage of certain lexical items by Nigerians constitutes Nigerian English lexis. This problem has many dimensionsto it. It may be caused by mother tongue transfer, coinage of a new items, extension and restriction of meaning, complete changein meaning of item according to the world view of Nigerians, borrowing of items from indigenous language and, most importantly, the absence of standard Nigerian English dictionary.
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It can be understood here that the predominant language in Nigeria is Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba which in this work can serve as L1 while the target linguistic phenomenon here is one of the English varieties in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, this is where the problem lies because must of lexical words are change and shift, neologisms, loanwords, malapropism, tautology and semantic extension from their normal position to suit Nigerian norms, that is why Nigerian Newspapers report them as they were said by people.
The study will then focus on the lexico-semantic Nigerianism as mention above shall be noted.
1.2 JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY
Since English language came into Nigeriasomelexical items have changedand due to interference of mother tongue,and this makes the government to impose in schools to be teach, how these lexical words are changed to suit Nigerian context, this study it will focus on how lexical word are used in Nigerian Newspapers and in what content they are use,
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and it would also focus on the way forward to improve the standardization of the use of lexical word in Nigerian Newspapers.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study aims at highlighting the natureof lexico-semantic Nigerinismand some possible modifications or changes that have taken place in the lexico-semantic forms in Nigerian English and how they are used in Newspapers.
This research will also focus and investigate semantic change in Nigerian English lexis. This is necessitated by the possible misconceptions these semantic changes in Nigerian English lexical items are capable of causing especially to other speakers of English outside the Nigerian environment. This study will also look at the following objectives.
1. To identify whether or not such phenomenal changesin Nigerian English lexis are deviations or variations.
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1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This project is significant in the sense that it investigates the use of lexical items, and the nature of lexical words in Nigerian English. The study is also significant in the sense that it contributes to the knowledge of users of the language. The study will access most lexical items adopted in Newspapers with the view of substantiating the mutual intelligibility and acceptability by other language speakers using the language. Finally it will study the use of lexico-semantic as a bridge that will strengthens the social relationship of its users in the context of usage.
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The theoretical assumption that underpins this work is the concept of lexico-
SemanticNigerianism. The study stretches its findings with a view to unveiling the lexical items inherent in Nigerian Newspapers, the essence of
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its usage where necessary, the extent of its formality and informality in various occasions but this
Studywill limit the confines of its research to lexical items in Nigerian Newspapers within some Newspapers in the three regions, which would be Guardian and
Vanguard from the west, The Leadership and Daily trust from the north, and
the Sun from the South.
However,these limitations notwithstanding, effort has been made to obtain reliable information for the successful completion of the research. Nevertheless, it is admitted that thedividing line between errors and Nigerianism is thin and may sometimes be subjective.
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