THE USE OF CREATIVITY AND DEVIATION IN NIGERIAN ENGLISH IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTELLIGIBILITY AND ACCEPTABILITY

THE USE OF CREATIVITY AND DEVIATION IN NIGERIAN ENGLISH IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTELLIGIBILITY AND ACCEPTABILITY

ABSTRACT

This study investigates the use of creativity and deviation in Nigerian English, and the implications it has for international intelligibility and acceptability. It examines these deviation and creative forms in sounds, lexemes, syntactic forms, semantic forms used in Nigerian English in comparison with similar forms as used in Standard British English. The study reclined on interlanguage and languages-in-contact theories as the basis for the investigation. Data for the study were gathered basically from existing literature on both Nigerian English and Standard British English. At each level and/or sub-level of linguistic organization, 5 to 10 items were selected from each of Nigerian English and Standard British English. Adopting Standard British English as control; these items in the Nigerian variety of English were analyzed and compared with those in Standard British English, and the areas of divergence noted. Findings of the study indicate that at all the levels of linguistic organization; significant deviation exists in Nigerian English from Standard British English. Findings also show that the peculiar features of sound and syntax, and the nativized words anrd expressions used in Nigerian English are perfectly understood and acceptable in the Nigerians sociolinguistic setting but are not readily understood by the native speakers of English, due to differences in context, worldview and culture. The research thus affirms that Nigerian English is a legitimate variety in its own right. It further concludes that although international intelligibility and acceptability are important so as to establish a standard local norm, local considerations take pre-eminence over international considerations. The study encourages intensive development of literature on Nigerian English. With this and familiarity, L1 speakers of English and other visitors will get accommodated in this variety of English just as Nigerians who visit other English speaking countries do with British English, American English and other varieties where usages also differ. By so doing, communication will be facilitated.