“Oya let’s go to Nigeria”
A corpus-based investigation of bilingual pragmatic markers in Nigerian English
This paper examines five bilingual pragmatic markers: oya, ke, ni, walahi, and ba, loaned from indigenous Nigerian languages into Nigerian English, with a view to investigating their sources, meanings, frequencies, spelling stability, positions, collocational patterns and discourse-pragmatic functions. The data for the study were obtained from the International Corpus of English-Nigeria and the Nigerian component of the Global Web-based English corpus. These were analysed quantitatively and qualitatively, using the theory of pragmatic borrowing. The results show that oya, ke, and ni are borrowed from Yoruba, walahi is loaned from Arabic through Hausa and Yoruba while ba is borrowed from Hausa. Oya serves as an attention marker, ke and ni function as emphasis markers, walahi serves as an emphatic manner of speaking marker while ba functions as an attention marker and agreement-seeking marker. The study highlights the influence of indigenous Nigerian languages on the discourse-pragmatic features of Nigerian English.
Keywords: bilingual pragmatic markers, Nigerian English, postcolonial corpus pragmatics, pragmatic borrowing
Published online: 07 July 2021
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