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SERIAL VERB CONSTRUCTION IN NIGERIAN PIDGIN
It is argued that the Nigerian Pidgin is not a language but a „Broken English‟ which can be changed and do not follow a specific order; but the diversity of linguistic groups in Nigeria in the past, tend to create some medley in the Nigerian Pidgin.
In other words, Nigerian pidgin is heavily influenced by substrate or underlying and nurture pressure languages in lexis, phonology, syntax and semantics although essentially, it is English lexified, the lexical, phonological, syntactic and semantic meaning that derives from Nigerian pidgin rely heavily on the languages and culture of the host regions or community where it is spoken. Kelechukwu (2006) is of the view that there is a sense of order and agreement in Nigerian pidgin and that they are not „Broken English‟ which I assert to. If this is true of Nigerian Pidgin, it is also possible that the Nigerian pidgin will exhibit structural phenomenon‟s that are present in Nigerian languages. Serial verb construction is a known phenomenon in most West African Languages. (Steve Johnson (2006:1) not living out Nigeria. In the following sections, we will discuss previous work that has been done on Nigerian pidgin as well as serial verb construction, such as, the history of Nigerian pidgin, what Nigerian pidgin is, the tense and
aspect as well as evidence of serial verb construction in Nigerian pidgin, what serial verb construction is, structural classification and its characteristics.
1.1 GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION OF NIGERIA
Nigeria is located in West Africa and shares land border with the Republic of Benin in the West, Chad and Cameroon, in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 923,768.00sq kilometers and lies between latitude 40 and 140 North of the equator and longitude 30 and 140 east of East of the Greenwich Meridian, entirely within the tropical zone.
Warri on the other hand is a major city in Delta State, Nigeria, which lies in Latitude 50 35‟ 45‟ North and longitude 50 45‟ 08”E, it is surrounded by major towns such as Ughelli, Sapele and the Burutu River.
Nigerian pidgin is spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. Ihemere (2006) reports that Nigerian pidgin is the native language of approximately 3 to 5 million people and is a second language for at least another 75 million. The pidgin spoken in Nigeria is a West African variety, which is also spoken in countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon etc but has to some extent different structuring despite the use of Nigerian pidgin throughout the country, it has no official status.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The working problems in this research are as follows:
- To see if serial verb construction is a phenomenon in Nigeria pidgin.
- If there are what are the structural possibility they assume.
- The functional types of serial verb that exist in Nigeria pidgin.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
In a simple terms, the purpose of the study is to find the structural pattern which Nigerian pidgin derives from languages of its host community as well as to see if there is sense of order in Nigerian pidgin by;
- Looking at serial verb construction in Nigerian pidgin
- Discovering the structural possibilities and functional types of serial verb construction in Nigerian pidgin.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
- It is hoped that this work will be useful to those who see the
Nigerian pidgin as a „Broken English‟ as this is not really so, but a language with its structure and grammar. Also, it is hoped that this study will show that Nigerian pidgin exhibits serial verb construction like most West African languages and as such pidgin is more African than the general assumption.
- Furthermore, this research will help linguist to know the structural possibilities as well as functional types of serial verb construction in Nigerian pidgin.
Finally, as part of its contribution to the general linguistic theory, it is hoped that this work will constitute a reference material for studies in African linguistics on serial verb and the nature of Nigerian pidgin
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
This work is only a study of serial verb construction in Nigerian pidgin. Its scope does not include other construction area such as plural. Noun or Noun clause construction. However speech sentence was collected from informant as part of the research in order to extract the serial verb construction in them with a view to discovering of Nigerian pidgin operates a serial verb construction phenomenon as well as its structural and functional types which is the driving force of this work.
1.6 LIMITATION OF STUDY
This work was limited by time and other resources, such as finance. This limitation affects;
- The number of informants that were reached.
- The number of Nigerian pidgin speaking communities that were
visited for the purpose of data collection.
However, it is hoped that the data collected eventually will be relevant to the present study and the findings will be true reflection of the actual situation of the difficulties that the work is aimed at finding.
The method used in this work was based on field research. A recorded conversation on different issues discussed by Nigerian pidgin speakers based in Warri, Delta State was collected and the verb sequence in their expressions were studied; looking at the way this verbs were ordered and the functions they play.