IJSSH 2012 Vol.2(6): 488-492 ISSN: 2010-3646
DOI: 10.7763/IJSSH.2012.V2.153

The Domestication of the English Language for Literary Purpose in Nigeria: Creating a National Identity

Dare Owolabi

Abstract—Nigeria is, obviously, one of the largest ESL users in the world. The language that first came with the colonial masters as a foreign language has since grown in leaps and bounds to now become a second language and, unarguably, the country’s official language. As the largest black nation in the world, Nigeria, using English as the official language, has affected the language in a way that has created a Nigerian identity that is fast becoming a variety of English as an international language. This variety of English, which I refer to as Niglish has international intelligibility, having been used by Nigerian writers to win international awards. This study examines how the English language has been nativized in the Nigerian environment for literary purpose, using selected works from recent literary artists in Nigeria and by Nigerians. The paper identifies the Nigerianness in the use of English in the works of the writers examined to show how these writers manage to maintain a balance between local color and international intelligibility and acceptability. The corpora for this study were selected and grouped under transliteration, interference and importation of L1 lexicon, leading to switching and mixing of code. Phonology has been deliberately left out of this study for the obvious reason that non-native adult second language English users are not known to have acceptable competence of native speakers in the spoken aspect of language. Besides, only written works were examined. The study concludes that the assessment of any regional variety of English, such as Nigerian English should be endonormative rather than exonormative, bearing in mind local peculiarities, and particularly creative and pragmatic use of the language.

Index Terms—Domestication of english, language for specific purpose, literary purpose, local color, national identity.

Dare Owolabi is with Department of English and Literary Studies, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria (e-mail:dareowo2006@yahoo.com).

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Cite: Dare Owolabi, "The Domestication of the English Language for Literary Purpose in Nigeria: Creating a National Identity," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 2, no. 6, pp. 488-492, 2012.

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