THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE COALESCENCE AND MULTILINGUALISM IN NIGERIA

Odochi Akujobi

Abstract


The language scenario in Nigeria is complex, intricate and dense, leading to an extreme degree of multilingualism due to an array of aboriginal, exogenous and Pidgin languages. Nigeria is one of Africa’s centers for language variety, which has metamorphosed  into linguistic diversity. The need to break the language barrier in Nigeria to make for a free flow of mutual intelligible communication led to the introduction of the English language in Nigeria by the colonialists. The aboriginal languages lack the power to unite members of the varied ethnic groups in the country. The English Language in Nigeria has proven to  meet  the  requirements  of  an  official  exogenous  language  to  bond  the  varied  ethnic groups in the heterogenous state together for lucid communication, which is fundamental to  the  economic,  social  and  political  unity  of  the  nation.  The  role  of  any  language  in  a multi-ethnic  community  is  dependent  on  certain  factors  bothering  on  social  relevance.  The   concept   of   multilingualism   in   Nigeria,   levels   of   multilingualism,   issues   in multilingualism and the unifying role of the English Language in Nigeria, are critically examined in this paper. The paper presents the English language as a linguistic conjoiner in Nigeria and contends that this function is instrumental to the minimized inter-ethnic clashes.

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