The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World
3 Comparing Broken English, Pidgin English, and Nigerian English
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Comparing Broken English, Pidgin English, and Nigerian English
Is Nigerian English the same as (Nigerian) Pidgin English or, for that matter, “broken English”? The short answer is no, although there are occasional overlaps between Nigerian Pidgin English and Nigerian English, as several examples of distinctive Nigerian English usage in this book have shown. But, first, what is “broken English”? Although the term is occasionally used to denote grammatical infractions by speakers of English, including native speakers of the language (such as when English Romantic poet William Hazlitt famously wrote that he had been “loudly accused of revelling in vulgarism and broken English”),1 it is, for the most part, a somewhat pejorative label used by native speakers of English to describe the often hysterical violations of the basic rules of Standard English syntax by non-native speakers of the language (Lindeman, 2005). Other popular names for broken English are “halting English,” “faltering English,” and “foreigner talk” (Ferguson, 1981; Ferguson & DeBose, 1977). For instance, the sentence, “I want to see you” may be rendered as “me like see you” in broken English. “I will see you tomorrow” could become “Me is come see you tomorrow.” And so on.
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