SEMANTIC STUDY OF SOME LEXICAL ITEMS IN NIGERIAN ENGLISH

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ABSTRACT


Nigerian English came into existence about four decades ago. It has been noted that some of the English language items have been attached different meanings by the Nigerian speakers of English. This semantic deviation contributed greatly to the poor development of standard grammatical competence and communicative performance among speakers of English. This work therefore, examines some of the English lexical items whose meanings have been greatly adopted to suit the Nigerian context. It focuses on the terms used in the professional fields of media such as print media, service media and electronic media as well as education. The terms used in these fields are compared with their Standard British English forms or meanings and the differences are established. Some of the Nigerian English items in the area of clothing, food and kinship are also compared with those of Standard English forms and the differences are established. The work is approached through questionnaire and library research. We found out that the deviation in the meanings of some English lexical items is caused by the speaker’s level of education, environment, background and culture. The research is carried out at Port Harcourt and we discovered that the deviations in the meanings of some English lexical items are as a result of influence by several Nigerian context and culture. Our findings are suggestive of the communication gap among speakers of English language. We recommend that more efforts should be made by linguist and writers to promote the acceptability of the Nigerian English.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract
Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE
1.0       Introduction
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of Problem
1.3       Objective of the Study
1.4       Relevance of the Study
1.5       Scope of the Study

CHAPTER TWO
2.0       Literature Review
2.1       Conceptual Issue
2.2       Theoretical Framework
1.3       Nigerian English
2.4       Usages of Nigerian English
2.4.1    Common Core Features
2.4.2    Peculiar Nigerianisms
2.4.2.1 Loan Words
2.4.2.2 Coinage/Neologism
2.4.2.3 Semantic Shift
2.4.2.4 Meaning Broadening Words
2.4.2.5 Local Idioms
2.4.3 Characteristic Breaches of Code
2..4.3.1 Omission of Determiners and Articles before Using Singular Nouns
2.4.3.2 Stative Verbs Used Dynamically
2.4.3.3 Use of Redundant Prepositions
2.4.3.4 Use of Affirmative Answers to Negative Yes/No Questions
2.5       Factors Responsible for the Deviations in the English Language Usage in Nigeria
2.5.1    Level of Education/Environment
2.5.2    Background
2.5.3    Culture
2.6       The Term Lexis
2.7       Register

CHAPTER THREE
3.0       Methodology
3.1       Method of Data Collection
3.2       Population of the Study
3.3       Sample Size
3.4       Instrument for Data Collection
3.5       Technique for Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR
4.0       Presentation and Analysis of Data
4.1       Analysis of Variations between Nigerian and British English
4.1.1    Lexical Variations
4.1.2    Semantic Variations
4.1.3    Syntactic Variations
4.1.4    Morphological Variations
4.2       The Print Media
4.3       The Service Media
4.3.1    Public Relation Industry
4.3.1.1 Terms in the Public Relations
4.3.2    Advertizing Industry
4.3.2.1 Terms in Advertizing
4.4       The Electronic Media
4.4.1    The Television Industry
4.5       Clothing and Kinship Terms
4.5.1    Clothing Terms
4.5.2    Kinship Terms

CHAPTER FIVE
5.0       Conclusion and recommendation
5.1       Conclusion
5.2       Recommendation
            Works Cited
            Appendix
            Questionnaire


CHAPTER ONE


1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1         BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The global spread of the English language led to the position that is now true: that there is no copyright in the use of English since the language no longer belongs numerically to speakers of English as a mother tongue. The effective ownership of any language in effect rests with the people who use it. However multilingual they are, the major advances in sociolinguistic research over the past half century indicate clearly that languages are shaped by their use. And for English, the users number up to seven hundred million, living in every continent of which less than half are native speakers. Statistically, native speakers are in a minority, and thus in practice for language change, for language maintenance, and for the ideologies and beliefs associated with the language in so far as non-native speakers use the language for a wide range of public and personal needs (Brumfit 2001:116).


This extract highlights the historically unique position of English in the world, the fact that non-native users of English now outnumber native speakers and the argument that the power to adapt and change the language rests with the people who use it. It reminds us that English is used by both plurilingual and monolingual people alike. We should no longer think that English is still ‘based on a single metropolitan culture, nor is it any longer felt to carry with it implications of political dominion. Evidence of this worldwide phenomenon of language contact, variation and change can be seen through such designations as World Englishes, Modern Englishes, New Englishes, to mention just a few (Jenkins 2003:117).
The concept of New Englishes came into existence many decades ago but when Gerry Abott made reference to this concept in 1981, he thought of varieties of language that develop in countries where English is a second language. By implication, India, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria have developed varieties that are part of the New Englishes. The need for territorial expansion and the demands of international politics, trade, science and technology have established English as a world language. Nigeria, like many other nations of the world is part of the global network of information and communication technology. What happens in other parts of the world is of great interest to Nigeria just as what happens in Nigeria is of great interest to the world. English remains the most popular language for this kind of intercommunication and interaction. For this reason, English is not just a second language in Nigeria but one that is crucial for the survival of Nigeria as a nation and also for the maintenance of the Nigerian balance in the world economic order, (Onuigbo and Eyisi 2008:72). No wonder much has been invested in the stabilization and standardization of English...


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