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South Africa


Nigeria Video Audio Reviews

There are about five hundred different languages spoken in Nigeria today. Most of these are indigenous African languages, with Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa being the most influential ones. In addition, there are the non-African languages – English, Arabic and French. Bilingualism, and even multilingualism, is widespread in Nigeria. English is mostly used in official contexts and in higher education, but Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba also share semi-official status. Although not all Nigerians have some command of English, the numbers are increasing.

In the mid nineteenth century English rule was established in Nigeria. This also promoted the spread of missionaries throughout the country, where English was taught as of the 1880s. In addition, state schools were built up due to the growing demand for educated Nigerians who were able to help the British with their colonial and trade interests. During this period, the variety of Nigerian English began to shape. Several syntactical and morphological peculiarities can be observed in Nigerian English, some of which are common in other African varieties of English as well.


For example, isn’t it? is used as an invariant question tag and recurring pronouns may be used in relative constructions (e.g. The man I saw him went into the house.). There is also frequent occurrence of left dislocation (e.g. My sister she works there.

Phonologically, Nigerian English is characterised by the following: 1) a reduced vowel system, 2) non-rhoticity (that is the /r/ in car or arm is not pronounced), 3) the reduction of consonant clusters in syllable-final position (hand becomes ‘han’), 4) the insertion of vowels into consonant clusters (e.g. silk becomes ‘silik’), and 5) a tendency towards syllable-timing.
In addition to Nigerian English, Nigerian Pidgin English is wide-spread. The latter started to develop in the sixteenth century when the British established slave trading posts at the West African coast. It is comparable with the Afro-Caribbean English Creoles, which developed in the same context.

Reviews of available literature on books dealing with this English variety can be found here


Official government site of Nigeria

Nigeria Television Authority (TV)

The Guardian (Newspaper)

Radio Nigeria (Radio)



© Christiane Meierkord
and individual reviewers