Article published in:ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Vol. 105/106 (1994) ► pp. 1–23
The Candidature of Nigerian Pidgin as a National Language
some Initial Hurdles
This paper examines arguments for and against the candidature of Nigerian Pidgin as an official language. Potent buttressing arguments include its widespread use at the grassroots level; its apparent cultural neutrality; and the ease in acquiring it. Arguments against its candidature include its stigmatization; its lack of a cultural base; queries over its bona fide indigenous status; its being a threat to the mastery and use of "standard" English, especially in the educational domain, and its low language development status. The fact that attitudes towards Nigerian Pidgin are completely negative is pinpointed as the most powerful argument against its candidacy as national language. The paper concludes with the observation that on purely linguistic sgrounds, there is no reason why Nigerian Pidgin cannot function as a national language. However, on social grounds, it may, at the moment, not be able to effectively fulfil this role. A language that has no esteem within its major constituency is most unlikely to be awarded such esteem simply because it has been pronounced a national language. It is therefore suggested that serious corpus and status planning efforts are prerequisites for the acceptance of Nigerian Pidgin as a national language and the changing of attitudes towards it; these tasks, it is pointed out, are gargantuan and bedevilling hurdles.
Published online: 01 January 1994
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BRANN, Conrad Max Benedict
COBARRUBIAS, Juan and Joshua FlSHMAN
(1992): “Choice and Description of National Languages in View of their Use in Literacy and Teaching in Angola.” A paper presented at the UNESCO Expert Pool Meeting on Literacy and Basic Level Education, Hamburg, May 1992.
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