SEMANTIC STUDY OF SOME LEXICAL ITEMS IN NIGERIAN ENGLISH
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.