M.S. Abdullahi – IDIAGBON, Lexico-Semantic Impacts of English on the Nigerian Languages – An Example of Yoruba Language

Abstract

English language is spoken across the continents of the world and, perhaps, one of five people knows how to speak it notwithstanding their proficiency. The task of assessing English as a modern and the most global language will be strongly influenced by its status in a particular country. The peculiarity of the Nigerian socio-political terrain in terms of ethnic suspicion and cultural and religious sentiments makes English unrivalled. In Nigeria, It is a case of a well-behaved adopted child that has become a bonafide and legitimate heir. The language swiftly swept through ethno-linguistic barriers and religious divides that threaten the nationhood of the country into becoming the most widely spoken and accepted means of communication in the country. Its influence is overwhelming though devastating to the linguistic development of the indigenous languages at all levels of language studies. This paper mainly identifies how the lexis and semantics of Yoruba have been compromised, especially at the level of performance of its speakers, thereby partially resulting in language and semantic shift and gradually leading to language death. A number of lexical items were identified and a field survey was conducted to further observe the bilingual and reciprocal effects on the users of English and Yoruba in non-official domains. The research predicts protracted and imminent supremacy and growing prestige for English, particularly, in Nigeria as well as in some ESL countries due to non-internationality of their local languages.

Key words: Lexico-Semantics, English, Nigerian Languages, Yoruba

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