Towards a Delimitation of the Status and Functions of English in Nigeria

Adegbite, Wale (2004)

Book chapter

This paper addressed four main questions: (i) How has Nigerian English been characterized? (ii) What status does English have and what functions does it serve in an English-dominant multilingual society, Nigeria: (iii) What status and functions of English are relevant in a complementary=English plus indigenous mother tongues bilingual Nigerian context? (iv) What effects can a change from an English-dominant multilingual perspective to complementary English - mother tongues bilingual perspective have on the character and characterization of English in Nigeria? While the first question prepares the ground for a review of the perception of scholars about the numerous varieties of English in Nigeria, as recorded in the existing literature on the subject, the second and third questions prompt a discussion of the need to reassess the status and functions of both English and other Nigerian languages, within a restricted macro-social context. The last question then invites a discussion of the effect of changes in status and functions of English on the characterization of the language.