Pidgin English : Naija's Lingua Franca
Abeg dress make i siddon jor, wetin da wori dis one? See as dat bobo da yarn dust shebi he want make I chuke him mouth for him anus abi; A typical naija fellow. Our pidgin is our original identity ( some of una fit disagree sha), though the accent varies from warri to sapele,edo, onithsha, port Harcourt, lagos , ajegunle.
From the working class dude to the conductor at the bus- stop. It’s a language for everyone; literate, semi-literate and the illiterate. The most amazing thing about pidgin is that it is always correct. Unlike the queens language were you have to modify your nouns, follow the sentence structure, and certain rules of has, had and have….*sigh* but my lingua franca? Gbam !!! no rules. Anyhow you speak am, e correct. So tay people da learn the wafi style.
In order to appear official we adopt some correction. So instead of saying go- slow we say traffic jam, area boys na society outcast, give me my change is give me my balance, driver ! drop is - want to alight (hian, I still stick with the drop cliché sha, em.. for effective communication). As with every language, we also have our official abbreviation, even though you cannot find them in webster, oxford or the longman’s dictionary. While the Queen’s english have AWOL, FYI, ASAP. We have UTM, IDK, ITK, IDD, FYM, IGG et al.
Apparently it baffles me when I bump into an old friend and am like how far na? e don tay o, see as you da chop life…and he/she replies “ how have you been, its been a while, how’s your mom and siblings?” HUH? In my mind am like oyibo speaker. So I reply’ yea, its been ages, look at you* with emphasis and giggling* you look like a speckled puppy( let the English begin) rotflmao. Few days ago, I read the Nigerian accent is the fifth most romantic in the world and some people will do anything to get a British accent because it sounds super cool*shrugs*. Fellow Nigerians please feel free to exhibit your accent.
In Eighty percent of naija family , after the mothers tongue, pidgin is the next, from there you can learn the Queen ‘s. some of us were persecuted in primary and secondary school if we cannot accurately and fluently make a sentence very well. Its even worse if you speak brokin, you will pay to the class prefect. So it wasn’t really a big deal when some student suddenly turned deaf and dumb. Then others proceeded to write the school leaving certificate exam for over three times cos they kept failing English which is a prerequisite.
Africa is particularly admired for it vast heritage of proverbs and words of wisdom.so in order for the common man to fit in, we did coin our version e.g. na condition make crayfish bend, do me, I do you God no go vex, rolling stone na pesin push am, who go talk say im mama soup no sweet? Etc
Amidst the fact that English is our official language as well as a second language, many of us would agree that pidgin is a second official language. And when we get back together with friends again trust me it feels so good to fall back there. Wazobia fm; a pidgin station played in crammed buses, sleek air conditioned jeeps and roadside food stalls is doing a wow job in promoting this language.
Not everyone is a fan of pidgin rise. Some see its continued existence as a glaring symbol of a failed educational system. So potentially powerful is pidgin’s punch that authorities periodically clamp down on it. Fela said it a long time ago that the only language that can unify Nigeria is pidgin. In 2004, President Olusegun Obasanjo banned a popular rap song called jaga jaga which took aim at politician who scatter-scatter the country,
Pidgin might not be the official language of the country but it is the universal language. Put a smile on somebody’s face today by telling them u de ginger my swagger. Cheerio !