Pidgin vs English
Ever been embarrassed by a bus conductor’s utter refusal to understand a word of the ‘English’ that comes out of your mouth? Or heard the expression, “Dey dere dey speak grammar’’ just because you used the English language to express yourself? Even though schools and official sectors emphasise the proper use of English, it is near impossible to get rid of pidgin that came in during the colonial era. No matter your level of education, an inability to communicate in the vernacular earns you sarcastic looks and comments or as they say in pidgin Yimu.
Even the bourgeoisie love pidgin. Apart from it uniting all ethnic groups, it also ‘kind of’ bridges the gap between the classes. For instance, try your ‘pocket’ luck in the local market speaking the Queen’s English with an ‘accent’ and let’s see if you’ll have some change left. But even with its advantages, there’s a time and a place to use pidgin, if you don’t want to look like a total olodo. Check out our handy pidgin guide!
The office: Using pidgin in the office is unprofessional and may misrepresent the company. Save it for afterwork drinks but if your boss is there too, use proper English
On the Red Carpet: That’s like shouting at the top of your lungs “I am an illiterate!” what a waste of an evening gown.
Official Gatherings/Events: We can think of faster ways to lose your clients and potential customers but we wouldn’t recommend those either.
Interviews: Job interviews, press interviews etc are not the place for common talk. Picture CNN anchor Isha Sesay and present yourself accordingly.
Classrooms: Can you imagine having a teacher who only spoke in pidgin or students who responded in kind? Are you thinking what we’re thinking? – Ajekpako!
Meetings: “Oya, Oya make we start the something”… sounds so wrong, doesn’t it?
The Parents: Granted there are some homes where children are raised with pidgin. But it would be very disrespectful to use pidgin with your parents when it is not accepted in your home.
However, there are times when pidgin is very necessary. There is also a time when pidgin is acceptable, expected, and even necessary:
Small Business Traders: when you’re in a commercial bus, especially in Lagos state, it is even advisable to use the pidgin language when interacting with the bus conductors, or traders in the market as some of them see it as show off when you come up to them speaking proper English.
Gossip: trust me, it is more interesting to use pidgin or add it in strategic parts of this type of discussion. It gives the gist a bit of extra pepe.
Far fromdisappearing, pidgin is growing so fast. With dictionaries popping up everywhere its actually competing with English. However, always remember that there is a time and place for everything; including pidgin