The role of language in the colonization of Africa cannot be overemphasized, as a matter of fact, the first attempt at colonization in Nigeria was the replacement of our indigenous languages with English thus conferring the status of inferiority on Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa (major languages in Nigeria). In the light of recolonization in the different sectors of our economy and with the notion that our languages are on the verge of extinction arises the need to decolonize our lingua franca. after the suppression of our indigenous languages and the struggles our ancestors faced trying to speak English and communicate with it (apart from the few who had access to western education) we developed Nigerian pidgin as trade language to aid communication, this for me is an attempt at decolonizing English because it is a deviation from English in several ways, but of course, the English man will never have you downplay his language so they introduced standardization (which is a purely colonial coinage), so we have BrE, AmE etc.

The truth is America battled Britain to decolonize them by creating a similar but different variation of grammar and eventually won which is why AmeE is also regarded as standard English today. We cannot break away from colonialism if we keep being conformist, we must debunk that Nigerian Pidgin is not a standard because pidgin is our own and we should own it. Today, there’s this trend of trying to sound more “English” than the English man by Nigerians which is not entirely a bad thing but while at it ask yourself if the English man would do same, obviously not. Ironically, most of the people we tag slay mama’s have unconsciously begun decolonizing language with carving or creating their ways of spelling English words which in the true sense of the word are “wrong” and so we josh at them and call them all sorts of names. On a second thought, are they wrong to spell like as “lyk” or sweet as “swit” or love as “luv”? or birthday as “buffdai”?  If we must decolonize language then we must deviate from the norm! as disrespectful as it is to English, we owe the colonial masters no obligation to keep respecting a tool for modern slavery if they can’t respect ours.

As Nigerians, we aspire to speak a lot of colonial languages but never Pidgin nor our indigenous languages, again, this is neocolonialism. Do not get me wrong, it is good to be able to speak English but is not also bad to able to speak Igbo (insert any indigenous language), Pidgin and English that is, acquiring Nigerian pidgin as a second language. With this revolution, we will develop a grammar, lexicon and an orthography that meets the worlds “standard” for official “standardization” and proceed to use it for educational purposes as a form of this decolonization, even if this is the minimum decolonization we can get, then it’s a victory for Nigeria and for Africa.


    • yes, also by making it more prestigious by frequent usage. usually, when you hear someone speak pidgin, the first thing that comes to the mind is that this person is ‘illiterate’, these comments continually undermine pidgin.

  1. Thoughtful! It’s about time we invented our own English, if we can’t, at least, domesticate the English language to suit our socio-political reality. Many noble efforts at getting a National (endoglossic) Language had not succeeded because of perceived tribal domination. But I’ll suggest we work at codifying and standardizing our ubiquitous Pidgin! Shey u dey feel me?
    Proudly proposing!

  2. And yes pidgin is our own…so let’s own it pretty well. One good way of seriously actualizing this is by not just speaking pidgin but by also writing in pidgin. A good way of learning English is by reading and writing, hence, pidgin being our language can only be learned effectively if we can write as well as read it. Nearly, if not all languages meet these
    standards, PIDGIN is therefore not ruled out.


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