The study focuses on the Lexico-Semantic features of Nigerian English in Daily Times, Punch and Vanguard Newspapers. This is an attempt to investigate the extent to which Nigerian columnists and editorials use the Lexico-semantic features of Nigerian English for their reportings. Anchored on the theoretical premise of the contextual theory of meaning, the data for the study was arrived at through a random sampling technique which enabled the researcher to select at random Newspapers from the months of January to December in the year 2012 to 2016. The identified Lexico-Semantic features of Nigerian English which were found in these dailies were analyzed using the Lexico-Semantic variation of Nigerian English as identified by Adegbija (2004). It is evident from the findings that the socio-cultural background of the Nigerian people is captured by Nigerian English. Nigerian speakers find it preferable to use NigerianEnglish, with all its local flavours because most of them are incompetent in the use of English language and also because of the socio-cultural context of the Nigerian society.
1.0 Background of the Study
English language in Nigeria is not the same corpora in native settings. The exact date that English language usage started in Nigeria is not certain. However it is believed that the first contact between British and some ethnic groups in Nigeria was in southern Nigeria. This must have been some period before the Atlantic slave trade. English language in Nigeria is a second language. It is a second language because Nigerians already had their first language or Mother tongue (L1) before the incursion of this foreign language called ‘English’ into the country. In this instance a foreign language (English) left its native environment and met with other languages (Nigerian indigenous languages). It is true that the culture and values of the people are embedded in the language we speak. As such, it is said that ‘language is culture’ and none can be separated from another.
This situation is informed by multiple socio-cultural variables that determine what the Nigerian variety parades at different areas of linguistic analysis: phonology, morpho-syntax lexico-semantics, and pragmatics, among others. Every country in the world has people who make use of languages which help to perform several functions. Nigeria is not an exception.
Nigeria is a country, which has people with diverse languages and cultures. English language is one of the languages spoken in Nigeria and it serves several functions for instance, business transaction, education, administration, the language of the press, the language of entertainment and also the official language.Jowitt sees Nigerian English as the variety that is spoken and written in Nigeria, other than a replica of a native speaker’s variety. This is to assert that the variety which is spoken and written in Nigeria has certain identifiable and distinct indexical markers that distinguish it from the English language varieties elsewhere. In addition, Adetugbo buttresses these views when he asserts that “Nigerian English, as a dialect of the English language has developed its own distinct and probably unique characteristics resulting from the mood of the acquisition of the language by Nigerians and the Nigerian socio-cultural setting in which it is now ”(159).
Nigerian English is a dialect of English spoken in Nigeria. It is based on British English but in recent years, because of increasing contact with the United States of America, some American English words have made their ways into Nigerian English. Additionally, some new words and collocations have emerged from the language, which come from the need to express concepts specific to the culture of the nation (e,g bride price, senior wife).
According to Ogu and Walsh “The varieties of English spoken by educated Nigerians, no matter what their language, have enough features in common to mark off a general type, which may be called Nigerian English”(88). Odumuh subdivides Nigerian English into three dialects arising from the influences of the three major….
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