Domestication of the English Idiomatic Phrases in Nigeria: Prospects for Standard Nigerian English

Abstract

The English language has co-existed in Nigeria with her many indigenous languages since 19th Century. Naturally languages in contact influence each other. Indeed it is not only languages that come in contact but also people, their culture and experience. The relatedness of language and culture cannot be underscored in the study of English as a second language in Nigeria because it is acceptability within a culture and linguistic environment that dictates what will eventually be standard in a speech community. In this paper, the researchers examined the cultural imperative of domestication of English idioms in Nigeria.  The subject of the research was one hundred educated Nigerians selected through random sampling technique using the level of exposure to the two languages as the yardstick for stratification. The subjects were selected from federal institutions from four geo political zones in Nigeria. Two hundred idiomatic phrases were given to the subjects to write on. Each subject was to write on two popular idioms in not more than 250 words, explaining the origin and meaning of the given idioms. Four native- speakers from Scotland working in Shell were equally asked to interpret the idioms to determine the level of intelligibility of Nigerian English idioms. Based on their interpretations, the researchers concluded that   environment, culture and experience work in concert to re-fashion the English idioms and recommend that stable local   idioms should be documented and accepted as Standard Nigerian English (SNE) both nationally and internationally.

Keywords: Domestication, English idiomatic phrases, Standard Nigerian English

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 98-110 (Download PDF)

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