Profile picture @DocAyomide
, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Regional variants of English everywhere but we won’t let Nigerian English be great.

We aren’t doing ourselves any favours with this line of thinking.

[A thread.]
Look, you guys: truth is, there’s no “correct” English. There’s only “agreed-on English.”

So there’s agreed-on international English (your “formal” English) & there’s agreed-on regional variants, like US, UK, Australian and yes, Nigerian. Plus sub-variants of each of those.
So here in the UK, for instance, there’s Scottish English (which you‘d find confusing if you heard it), both in how it sounds (the accent) and even differences in words (like how they have “ken” for “know”). And all across the UK are similar sub-variants. Same across the US.
And that’s just today. Go back a hundred years and English was very different in these same places. Keep going back and it get progressively more so, until you get to Old English, which most of us would hardly recognise as English.

Did someone say “correct” English?
There’s no group of people anywhere that legislate what is and isn’t “correct” English. (And for anyone wondering, that’s not for lack of attempts, although I can’t recall specifics now.) But in the end, a language is what a group of people agree on. It is what it is. Deal.
And what people agree on changes from across places and times. That’s why languages vary across places and times. It is what it is. That’s what it means to be a living language—one that actual people still speak (as against a dead language like Latin that’s basically embalmed).
And if there’s anyone who still thinks that dictionaries represent what is “correct” English—you must not have been paying attention, because every serious dictionary goes into detail about archaic and even obsolete definitions of words: what did you think was up with that?
Dictionaries don’t legislate English. They record it. That’s what @MerriamWebster means when they say stuff like “we’re watching a word.” (Recent example: nothing-burger.) That’s what it means when @OxfordWords say they’ve added new words, they didn’t make the words up na!
I feel like a lot of talk about “correct English” is really just pretentiousness from people who are afraid that their investment in “correctness” is being eroded by a culture that doesn’t care for it. And, really, that’s understandable (and also me, once), but it’s also life.
But in our bid to protect “correctness”, we fail to see that we are attacking and low-key invalidating our own history and heritage. Because, see these variants don’t just happen. They‘re embedded in the history of the speakers. Linguistic artifacts of local history, so to speak.
The differences that make Nigerian English Nigerian are traceable to influences from our older local languages and just our own variations over time. Our Pidgin English (deliberately capitalised) includes influences from Portuguese. There is history in this stuff, you guys.
Thank God for people like @farooqkperogi who study this stuff (and from whom I’ve learned a ton). But the rest of us have no reason (or right) to invalidate how millions of people speak because we are trying to fossilise something that’s still very alive. No, you guys. Just, no.
And while we’re on the subject of pretentiousness, let’s not pretend a lot of our resistance to Nigerian English isn’t because we think it’s “bush” and associate it with the uneducated & “uncultured” (whatever that means).

This thinking, unspoken, is behind much of the pushback.
Because why else would we just assume that the way millions of people speak is wrong, when it’s really just part of a very recognisable regional variant of English that we speak here in Nigeria? Why invalidate ourselves all by ourselves?
American English has “trunk” & “trash can” to the British English “boot” & “dustbin.”

Nigerian English has “trafficate” & “rain is falling” & “pick bike.”

Nigerian English is a thing you guys. So’s Pidgin English. (Or did we actually need @PidginBBCNews to validate us first?)
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