Culture and Identity: Implications in Nigerian English Usage

Maurice Enobong Udom


Given the view that as language disappears, the culture dies language, therefore, is fundamental to the construction of cultural identity. The argument on supremacy between culture and language is led to rest in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis which asserts that language identifies cultural heritage such as food, dressing, technology, celebration, religion, and the mode of life of the people is the aim of the paper. When Nigeria was a colony of the British Empire, and English was the medium of communication, the language began to we a new look. The word “Englishes” came into linguistic currency to describe the varieties of English that depict the cultural norms that gave other British colonies like Inda Pakistan, Ghana, a variety of English that carries the indexical features of their indigenous languages, and sociolinguistic realities. Today English has come to stay in Nigeria, though an “orphan”, it has gained much respect for education, business, government, technology, and social narratives. The domestication of English in Nigeria, therefore, is a result of British colonization. With nativization, the indigenous languages compete, intertwine and modify the features of the English to reflect the cultural norms of the Nigerian society. Consequently, the paper explores the historical aspects of Nigerian culture, its people, and its identity to investigate the degree of the influence of Nigerian norms and values in English in the Nigerian environment. With the question of the linguistic status of these new ideas within and outside Nigeria, the paper seeks to identify the lexical items that are culture-specific and mark Nigerian identity, examine the method of their creation and identify factors that can impede acceptance of these Nigerian English words globally.

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