Education Project Topics

Critical Evaluation of the Effect of Pidgin English on Students in Nigeria University




Nigeria is a multilingual country with over 400 indigenous languages, three of which are considered prominent, notably Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba, which represent the three major geopolitical zones, North, East, and South, respectively. Despite this, Nigerian Pidgin is widely spoken throughout the nation and has become a lingua franca for many, although it is a Creole in several Southern and Eastern states such as Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Edo, and Cross Rivers. Marchese and Schnkal (1980) affirm this following a substantial development in the Delta area of Nigeria, saying: “… in a specific portion of Nigeria, the areas surrounding Warri and Sapele, Nigerian pidgin is more of a Creole.” Creole is a first language that combines a European language with a local language. Some consider it a dialect of English, while others consider it a separate language. A study at the structure of Nigerian pidgin (NP) reveals that it has its own structures and patterns of behavior. NP was formerly thought to be the language of individuals who couldn’t speak proper English, but many people now know otherwise. It’s no surprise, however, that it’s not just employed by undergraduates at Nigerian institutions when conversing with the ignorant public, but it’s also become a fascinating medium of informal interchange among students themselves. According to Fisherman (1997), “no language judged inferior is adequately rational.” This is because a lingua franca or common language of communication evolves when two or more speech communities come into touch. He goes on to say that the social circumstance, often known as context, influences the morpho-syntactic structure of a language. Because pidginisation is a “complex process of Sociolinguistics,” according to Hymes (1971:84), we will now look at the usage of Nigerian Pidgin English among students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto.

 Background To The Study

The term pidgin refers to a language that emerges when speakers of diverse languages need to communicate but do not share a common language. When a pidgin emerges, it is typically learnt as a second language and used for communication between individuals who speak various languages.

Language is the most creative and limitless tool for social communication, and it enables us to comprehend the profound social significance, cultural engagement, and human relatedness of language. Having said that, we can all agree that pidgin is a language in its own right, not merely a supplemental tongue, as some people believe, because it serves as a limitless tool for social communication, particularly in a multilingual nation like Nigeria.

According to Linton (1982), “the culture of a civilization is its members’ way of life, the collection of ideas and habits that they acquire, share, and pass from generation to generation.” Language is the only way for these civilizations, ideas, and behaviors to be passed down from generation to generation. Linguistics holds that any language is competent to express the communication requirements of its people and, as such, should not be biased.


This cannot be true about Nigerian Pidgin, despite the fact that it is a language, because several groups have attempted to abolish the usage of Nigerian Pidgin English. These attempts, however, have been ineffective because of the language’s high value to its users. It is a language that has brought people together despite disparities in ancestral culture and language by fostering a local culture that integrates concepts from several civilizations.

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Furthermore, the usage of Pidgin as a lingua Franca impacts many Nigerians in academic careers, particularly those students who originate from areas where it is spoken.

Statement Of The Problem

It is important to note that what began as a “emergency language” among white merchants to facilitate communication with natives has now evolved into “an elitist campus language” spoken among the teeming population of Nigerian students in higher institutions of learning, thereby overlapping standard English to the point where the students’ competence is impaired.

 Aim And Objectives Of The Study

This research is carried out to examine the effect of Pidgin English on students’ competence. It is a fact that students deviate from the norms of codified English in most of their essays and communications.

The following are the set of objectives to be achieved

1. to determine the extent to which pidgin English affect the academic performance of tertiary students.

2. to determine the factors enhancing pidgin English amongst tertiary students.

3. to determine the relationship between pidgin English and standard English and its effects on the academic performance of tertiary students.

4. to proffer possible solution to the problems.

 Research Questions             

1. What is the extent to which pidgin English affect the academic performance of tertiary students?

2. What is the factors enhancing Pidgin English amongst tertiary students?

3. What is the relationship between pidgin English and standard English and its effects on the academic performance of tertiary students?

4. What is possible solution to the problems ?

Significance Of The Study

This study is significant because its findings can help to identify the reasons of students’ competency. This work will undoubtedly add to one’s understanding, particularly at the Department of English at Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto, since it will highlight various concerns with written English. It will serve as a roadmap for an efficient educational system.

Justifications For The Study

Prior to this time, a lot of works and research have been done on NP as a language of wider communication in Nigeria. However, its impact on the students is worth investigating. This work will attempt to reveal the fact that the Nigerian pidgin which was initially used as a medium of communication by particular group of people and for specific purpose has gradually come to be used in institutions of higher learning

Scope Of The Study

This research work will attempt to investigate the impact of Pidgin English on the University community, though it focuses on the Students of UDU, Sokoto (300level MELL) with a view to providing detailed information on the impact of NP on the performance of the students.



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