No.1 Mass Communication Project Topics and Materials


(Last Updated On: 6th December 2022)

ABSTRACT: The research investigated the increasing use of pidgin English in radio stations in Nigeria. It was observed that pidgin English otherwise known as broken English is now gaining popularity in Nigeria society particularly in Osun State as Rave F.M leading other broadcasting stations in using the language for programmes. A survey research method was employed while questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the selected respondents who were selected based on convenience within Osogbo and its environs. However, descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage) method of data analysis was used to analyse responses.  Findings show that people in Osogbo and its environs are now seeing pidgin English as an effective means of communication everywhere without limit. Many of the respondents especially youths enjoy pidgin programmes even more than the local or even the standard British English. It was recommended that Language planners in Nigeria should work towards improving the status of pidgin by borrowing from the experience of Papua New Guinea and Tanzania where Pidgin has become the official language used in parliament. Even in Cameroon, pidgin language is very popular, though it is not an official language.



Background to the Study

Language is an essential ingredient in human communication. In fact, it is the only feature that distinguishes a human being from other animals. The ability of man to communicate in code sound makes us higher animals. Every human being is endowed with language. He takes his ability to articulate and understand a meaningful configuration of sounds for granted.

Abiola (2009) describes language as purely human activity, which man uses to express himself, share ideas with others and to pass the ideas to succeeding generations. Omenazu Oluchi (2010:13) quoted Akindele and Adegbije, (1999) describe language as a human phenomenon that has a form which can be described in terms of units of sound (phonemes), words, morphemes, phrases, sentences and paragraphs or discourse.

This definition shows that language has often been identified as the most unique attribute of man. It is through language that human beings grasp and understand reality and transmit it from one generation to another.

However, while establishing and planning media, one of the earlier decisions is to determine the language of the medium and the targeted public (target audience) because the programmes will be encoded in a particular language that the targeted audience understands.

For instance, Orisun 89.5 F.M Ile-Ife use only Yoruba language, Orisun Television, Lagos use only Yoruba Language, NTA Yoruba presents all its programmes only in Yoruba Language, NTA Igbo use only Igbo Language, NTA Hausa equally rely on only Hausa language, Wasobia FM/TV use only Pidgin English, Cool F.M/TV.

Also, disseminate information to their target audience only Pidgin English Language etc. Whereas there are many radio and television stations that use more than a language because some programmes can be presented in Yoruba, Pidgin, English, Hausa etc

However, Pidgin English is a language spoken by a majority of people, especially in the cities. Pidgin English otherwise known as broken English is now gaining popularity in Nigeria society particularly in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja, Aba, Onisha, Enugu, Owerri, Uyo, Edo and most of the cities in Nigeria. Although, Pidgin English is still considered a language of the uneducated and there will be decline in pure English language if Pidgin English continues to thrill in broadcast media.

The term Pidgin English or Nigeria Pidgin is otherwise known as “Brokin English” is a term used to denote an English based pidgin; a marginal language used among Nigerians to facilitate communication needs in certain interaction contexts. Like any other pidgin language in other cultural climes where the language is not native to its users.

Nigerian pidgin is a language that emerged from the fusion of indigenous languages and foreign language (English). Supporting this view, Elugbe and Omamor (1991), cited in Temitope, A. B. (2012). In their attempt to define pidgin, see it as “some kind of a marginal language that arises to fulfill specific communication needs in well-defined circumstances.”

The above definition shows that pidgin is not an official language, but a marginal language used for communication especially by people who do not speak each other’s language. Writing further, Elugbe and Omamor, quoting Hall (1966), stated two conditions for a language to be qualified as pidgin. In their submission, for a language to be pidgin, “Its grammatical structure and its vocabulary must be sharply reduced; secondly, the resultant language must be native to none of those who use it” (Elugbe and Omamor, 1991).

In consonance with the above position, Temitope (2012) quoting Rickford (1998) said: A pidgin usually combines elements of the native language of its users and is typically simpler than those native languages in so far as it has fewer words, less morphology, and a more restricted range of phonological and syntactic options.

Rickford’s excerpt to some extent is contextually applicable to Nigerian pidgin in the sense that its phonological, morphological and grammatical structures are basically restricted compared to any other standard language.

In addition to this, its social communicative functions are usually limited to verbal and informal settings. Though scholars like Rickford (1998) are of the view that “a pidgin is sharply restricted in social role, used for limited communication between speakers of two or more languages who have repeated or extended contacts with each other, for instance through trade, enslavement or migration,” such position on pidgin is not generally applicable to all pidgins.

The sociolinguistic reality in Nigeria today reveals that Nigerian pidgin is not used only in informal settings, but also in other formal settings (Akande, 2008). Other places where pidgin is now common is in the media, especially in television and radio programmes, comedy presentation, advertisement and jingle production among other forms of programmes which is gaining high momentum in recent time. To this end, the research focused on the increasing use of Pidgin English on radio stations in Nigeria.

1.2      Statement of the Problem
The use of Pidgin English otherwise known as Brokin English is creating a decline in the use of pure, standard and correct English language to the extent that students and teachers that are supposed to be speaking good English language are now speaking pidgin because they believe they can speak the language anywhere because broadcast media use the same on programmes.

It affects the correct English speaking and most the speakers use it unconsciously on some former occasions that demanded the use of pure English language. On the other hand, many audiences who speak pidgin English very often find it difficult to understand the broadcasting messages that are disseminated in the British English language and as such, try to ignore such information. They find it difficult to give a satisfactory and accurate meaning of the communicated messages in standard English language. In view of this, To this end, the research focused on the increasing use of Pidgin English on radio stations in Nigeria.

1.3      Objectives of the Study
i. To know whether the audience understands messages disseminated in pidgin English just as in standard English.
ii. To find out whether pidgin English poses a problem when used as a language in the broadcast.

1.4      Research Questions
As a result of the research problem stated above, this study examines the following questions;
i. Do the audience understand messages disseminated in Pidgin English just like in standard British English?
ii. Does pidgin English poses a problem when used as a language in broadcast to the audience?

1.5      Significance of the Study
The research will benefit different people, media practitioners, organizations, students and other agencies.

Media practitioners will through the findings of this research come to realize the benefit of using the popular language that their audience speaks or understand.

It will form part of the research materials that will be used in the future, especially those that will be working on the related topic or aspect.

The research will be valuable to students and scholars of mass communication and people who are seeking knowledge on the influence of language on broadcast media audience.

1.6      Scope of the Study
This study which is set out to investigate the increasing use of pidgin English on radio stations in Nigeria was narrowed in scope to the audience of the station in Osogbo metropolis because they receive the signal clearly more than anyone in the State of Osun.

Other factors for limiting the scope to Osogbo is because it is the state capital of Osun where different tribes and culture resides especially Igbo, other consideration is the proximity to the researcher while inadequate time, funds and other limited the scope

1.7      Operational Definition of Terms
Language: It refers to the means of communication to the people within a particular environment such as the use of Pidgin English, Yoruba language, Igbo language, Hausa Language e.t.c
Pidgin English: Pidgin English also known as Brokin English is the mixing of English language with native language. Without English structure and grammatical rules. Such as no wahala.
Standard British English Language: This is the formal and pure way of speaking English in Nigeria.
Broadcasting media: This is a form of electronic media such as Rave F.M that disseminated information, programmes to the audience in Osun state.


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