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Glocal English

The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World


Farooq A. Kperogi

Glocal English compares the usage patterns and stylistic conventions of the world’s two dominant native varieties of English (British and American English) with Nigerian English, which ranks as the English world’s fastest-growing non-native variety courtesy of the unrelenting ubiquity of the Nigerian (English-language) movie industry in Africa and the Black Atlantic Diaspora. Using contemporary examples from the mass media and the author’s rich experiential data, the book isolates the peculiar structural, grammatical, and stylistic characteristics of Nigerian English and shows its similarities as well as its often humorous differences with British and American English. Although Nigerian English forms the backdrop of the book, it will benefit teachers of English as a second or foreign language across the world. Similarly, because it presents complex grammatical concepts in a lucid, personal narrative style, it is useful both to a general and a specialist audience, including people who study anthropology and globalization. The true-life experiential encounters that the book uses to instantiate the differences and similarities between Nigerian English and native varieties of English will make it valuable as an empirical data mine for disciplines that investigate the movement and diffusion of linguistic codes across the bounds of nations and states in the age of globalization.
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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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