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LEXICO-SEMANTIC NIGERIANISM IN NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS

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CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 BACKGROUND TO STUDY

The English language in Nigeria is older than the Nigerian nation. It was formally introduced in 1842 by the first batch of missionaries who arrived in Badagry to evangelize as well as educate Nigerians (Tomori, 1981). When a language comes in contact with new environment, for it to survive, it has to adopt and change to reflect the needs of its new environment. The English language is no exception: the language is about 170 years old in Nigeria (as it was formally introduced in 1842). The English language has become so much adopted that it has been domesticated, nativesed and acculturated (Adegbija 2004). The English language has been Nigerianized. This adaptation of English emanating from the distinctive use of the language by Nigerians gave birth to what is known as Nigerian English (NE). What Bamgbose (1995), Adegbija (2004), Akere(2005) refer to as “nativazation”, “domestication” and “indigenization” of English in Nigeria.

The change of meaning that occurs in the Nigerian context of English usage may be due to factors such as adaptation of English to Nigerians’ needs influence of indigenous languages, influence of Nigerian culture, which is different from the British culture. Although there are changes of meaning of certain words that differ from the native speakers’ usage, nonetheless, there are common grounds in which particular lexical items are use alike.

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