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The Nigerian Pidgin English is a type of English used and understood by so many people in Nigeria regardless of ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic background. Even though some people now use it in social communication, pidgin English is not only used in places like market local community and so on, but also Nigerian secondary and tertiary institutions’ students now use pidgin English to communicate with each other. The continued use of Pidgin English in Nigeria made the number of interest of its speakers to continue to expand and this encouraged the growth of Nigerian pidgin. Therefore, this project attempts to study the role of Nigerian Pidgin English especially in Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto.
Nigeria is a country with a background of about four hundred indigenous languages, but there are three major languages – Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba existing in three major zones of North, East and South respectively. Despite this fact, Nigerian pidgin is used in different parts of the country and it has become a common language for many. It is spoken mainly in the Southern and Eastern states like Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Edo and Cross Rivers. Merchese and Schknal (1990) stated after a major evaluation in the Delta area of Nigeria that: “… in areas around Warri and Sapele, Nigeria pidgin is more of creole.” Creole is a mixture of European language with a local language and is spoken as a first language.
It is being viewed by some scholars as a variety of English, while others see it as a distinct language. A look at the structure of Nigerian pidgin
(NP) shows that it has structures and patterns of behaviours of its own. At its initial stage, NP was being considered as the language of those who could not speak good English, and also for those who use it for fun in social gatherings, but the educated and uneducated equally use the language. It is therefore clear that Pidgin English is not only widely used by students in Nigerian secondary schools during their conversations with the educated and uneducated public. It has become a fascinating medium of casual communication among students themselves. Fisherman (1997) asserts that “no language considered inferior is aptly illogical. This is because, where two or more speech communities come in contact, a lingua franca or common language of communication emerges. He further points out that it is the social situation use popularly known as context that affects the morpho-syntactic pattern of a language. Since pidginization, according to Hymes (1971:84) is a complex process of sociolinguistics, we shall now see the use of Nigerian Pidgin English among students of Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto State.
1.1 Background to the Study
Pidgin English is a language which was developed in a situation where speakers of different languages have a need to communicate but do not share a common or specific language. It is generally learned as a second language and used for communication among people who speak different languages.
Language is the most creative and unlimited instrument for communication and it helps us to understand and communicate with people of the same and different backgrounds. Having said this, we can agree that pidgin is a language of its own and not just a supplementary tongue as some people consider, since it serves as an instrument of social communication, especially in a multilingual environment as in Army Day Secondary School.
According to Linton (1982), he stated that “the culture of a society is the way of life of its people, the collection of ideas and habits which they
learn, share and transmit from generation to generation.” These cultures, ideas and habits can only be transmitted from generation to generation through language. In linguistics, every language is considered adequate to represent the communicative needs of its people and as such should not be made to suffer any biases.
Nigerian Pidgin English has brought the people of Nigeria together despite their differences in culture and language by creating a local culture and language for itself which blends ideas from different cultures.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As an undergraduate student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, I have observed that students use pidgin English in different situations as a means of communication. It is very interesting to note that what actually started as an “emergency language” between the white merchants who later turned traders has now become an elitist language in all areas of Nigeria spoken among the Nigerian students especially in secondary
school. This research therefore, intends to examine the use of Pidgin English as well as examine the reason why Pidgin English is popular among the Nigerian students in secondary schools based on sociolinguistic principle.
1.3 Significance of the Study
This study is important because it can go a long way to finding out if the use of Nigerian Pidgin English can lead to positive or negative outcome with regard to academic performance of students in Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto.
This work will no doubt contribute to increased knowledge especially in the use of Pidgin English in secondary schools as it will highlight some issues in educational planning. It will be a guide for the educational stakeholders in planning for effective educational system.
1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The thrust of this work is largely sociolinguistics and it has the following objectives:
a. To show the role of Nigerian pidgin in secondary schools, using Army Day Secondary School, Sokoto.
b. To assess the extent of its popularity and the communicative situation within which it is used.
c. To show who uses pidgin and for what purpose.
A lot of work and research have been conducted on pidgin as a mode of communication in Nigeria. However, its role in secondary school is worth investigating.
This work will attempt to reveal the fact that the Nigerian Pidgin English which was initially used as a medium of communication by a particular
group of people and for specific purpose has gradually progressed and developed a diverse role.
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
This research work will examine the role of Pidgin English in secondary schools. It focuses mainly on students of Army Day Secondary School, Army Barrack Sokoto. With the view of providing detailed information on how pidgin functions as a medium of communication in secondary schools.
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