Nigerian standards

There’s an interesting piece by Michael Obinna in the Nigerian Vanguard in which he complains of “errors of usage in Standard English [being] seen as Nigerian Standard English”, by which he means something distinct from Nigerian pidgins. Although Ethnologue has come across Australian standard English, it doesn’t seem to have heard of Nigerian standard English, although the latter would seem a more likely development than the former. Unfortunately I can find no description of how it differs from eg British standard English (wossat?), so I will assume (until someone starts shouting at me) that the addition of “Nigerian” (or “West African” or occasionally “Ghanaian” but never, strangely, “Ugandan”) is cosmetic.

Where some West Africans are hanging for dear life onto BBC World Service style, Robert Craig c/o the Simplified Spelling Society wants to push things the other way and use West African pronunciation as the basis for a new English spelling:

Risintli it az bikom klia dat di rivaizaz ob Nu Spelin most luk fo e aipoothetikul standad proononsieeshin on vich tu bees dea rifomz.

Di rifomd spelin most ab e nomba ob spesifik fichaz. Fo igzampul, it shud (az fa az iz posibul) iksklud ol dooz fichaz vich ol fomz ob di langvij du not ab. Dis iz bikoz pipul u du not ab sotin saundz in dea oon spich vil not noo, from dea oon spich, au tu rait dem. Dat iz, dee vil not noo vich letaz tu yuz ven dee kom tu rait di langvij daun.

IONA, N.S. (CP) – Gaelic speakers in Nova Scotia praised the province’s decision Monday to put $100,000 into reviving their dying language. Fewer than 500 people in the province speak the language, a legacy of their highland ancestors, but Tourism Minister Rodney MacDonald said that can be turned around. He announced the funding to promote the ancient language and culture that still exists in pockets of rural Cape Breton.

$100,000 is baby cod feed and is moreover wasted on the parents (who are going to speak Gaelic whether you give them money or not, bless them!) and on their children (who are going to stop speaking it, whatever the bribes).

That’s why I’m happy to be able to announce this evening that my real name is George Soros and that I have decided to divide $5,000,000,000 among the people (50,000) of Tunbridge Wells over the next five years on condition that they conduct all their affairs in a Nigerian English-based pidgin of their choosing (pidgin fanciers and Colin the canary ineligible). With a 60% take-up rate, that’s about $30,000 per person per annum with enough left over for a decent communal drinks budget.

The basic purpose of this experiment is revisionist: to demonstrate that retired accountants, like the late Mr Kuti, will take to ganja, polygamy, decontextualised James Brown, walled compounds and the occasional gunfight with the security forces, given a congenial linguistic environment.

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