I am at the moment doing some sociolinguistic survey , and i realize how blessed we are as a Nation. Nigeria , we are told, has one of the highest linguistic concentrations in the World . We have 505 living indigenous languages (there could be many more not on record ).
This explains to an extent , the advantage of English language . It can be argued that the original intent of English language domination was imperialistic or even capitalist in nature , but English has served as a unifying language in our multilingual society.
Realistically, when there is language domination , the dominated language is gradually lost but often times, a new language is formed , usually a mix between both languages involved .
In the not too distant past , Pidgin language was seen as the language of the “unschooled”. I was raised in a “middle class ” family , my father being a civil servant , mother a Nurse and later a business woman .( we know that there is no middle class again ooo…tinz don change , hian !) Pidgin was the language spoken to the driver and gardener ( but never the mai guardi …hausa man if u dont understand his language , na u sabi, hehe). I dont remember what the driver did, but he told a lie, in an attempt to speak pidgin , i heard my mum say ” na lie be the lie wey you dey lie “…Ahh… the driver and gardener laughed so hard that day .
I think it is safe to say that Fela Anikulapo-Kuti , was the first to bring ‘swag” to pidgin thru music , there were other musicians obviously ,but his music made the average person appreciate Pidgin….. he went to the very prestigious university of Manchester , and so could speak the “Queen’s English ” but chose to speak pidgin , because he was able to reach both the educated, non-educated, all classes of people in terms of social status .
In recent times , Music has been one of the carriers of the Pidgin language in Nigeria, with songs like “Dorobuchi” and ” Na Godwin” to name just a few . African Movies are not left out , a number of successful ones have a good mix of English and Pidgin, one of my favorite movies in recent times ” 30 days in Atlanta ” , testifies to that ! Do I even need to mention the number of TV and radio shows , presented in Pidgin language .
There is no doubt that Pidgin language is gaining ground in the linguistic map of Nigeria. it has been stated that over 70 million Nigerians have it as a second language . Some speak it because that is the closest to English in terms of communication , however, there is a group i notice, who speak as a matter of choice .Since the whole essence of language is to enhance communication and therefore development , it is about time language policies are given another look , to see what can be done with the Nigerian Pidgin Language .. because , as i dey see am so, e dey hia to stay, e no go waka go at all at all ….hmmm!