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The tittle of this work is A Linguistic Study of Loan Words in Nigerian Pidgin. Researches have shown that Nigerian Pidgin (NP) is a Nigerian language and clearly different from other varieties of West African Pidgins. Pidgins are known to have small vocabularies which continue to expand to fulfill the linguistic needs of their users. Nigerian Pidgin is no exception. This work sets out to identify the sources of the words that came into NP. Data for this research were got from two sources - a book ―Sozaboy‖ (1985), which is a relatively earlier variety of NP, and news scripts from three NP using radio stations (2015): the latter is a relatively current variety. A questionnaire listing words got from our data was administered to NP speaking ABU students, and the respondents were required to provide or confirm the sources and meanings of the words. The responses were analyzed using Serjeanston and Erik Bjokman‘s models. The findings reveal that specific languages have contributed to the vocabulary of NP, and that a difficulty exists in identifying the real provenance of every linguistic item. The findings, while maintaining that English is the initial lexifier language, show that words from other languages have come into NP. This research goes further to prove that NP is like any other natural language in active use, in that it has borrowed and continues to borrow to swell its initially small vocabulary.



1.1       Background to the Study

With respect to the emergence of loanwords, Platt et al. (1984) observe that linguistic

contacts between languages result in the incorporation of some words coming from other

tongues. Thus, the process of adopting foreign words is not strange or unusual. It happens in

all languages and dialects in varying degrees and ways because speech communities do not

function in isolation. The intermingling of people of different cultures and languages brings

about borrowing, and through it, languages accommodate foreign elements, words and ideas

geared towards expanding their vocabularies. Again, languages come into contact through

bilingual speakers. Banjo (1983), Madaki (1983) and Pariola (1983) in Olaoye (1991) posit

that when languages come into contact, a variety of phenomena such as bilingualism,

borrowing, relexification, code-switching, code-mixing and perhaps language death take place.

However, Scotton (1988) opines that the use of a borrowed item in a language is code-

switching until enough speakers use it and the item is accepted by native speakers into their


Lexical borrowings are by far the most commonly attested language contact

phenomenon, and it is therefore not an aberration in the world of languages as languages come

in contact at different points. Nigerian Pidgin is a product of such contact and it relies on other

languages for survival. Just like human bein

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