THE INFLUENCE OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE ON OUR NIGERIAN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES: EXAMPLES OF BORROWING FROM ENGLISH INTO YORUBA BY UNILORIN UNDERGRADUATES
Generally speaking, it seems unlikely that English will cease to be used elaborately in Nigeria in a foreseeable future. This research work therefore will find out if students in the University of Ilorin borrow words from English in to Yoruba in their day to day interaction and if they do to identify this borrowings. The sample population used in this work is 80 (Eighty) students of the University of Ilorin and these students were randomly chosen from four faculties in this University and they are all Yoruba language speakers with the use of instruments like tape reader and audio cassette. From the data analyzed, it is observed that the Yoruba speaker use their language predominantly during communication not only borrow in most times a single lexical item from English and in corporate it within their utterances. Code-mixing, as a sociolinguistic phenomenon, is a familiar practice through out the world, most especially among bilinguals who combine certain linguistic items is from two different languages. In this regard, it was discovered that language contact also result in borrowing from one language to another.
1.1 General Introduction
It is a well established fact that English language has established itself firmly in Nigeria thus, its importance cannot be over emphasized. Apart from being an official language. English language is the rope that ties members of the different speech communities together in continuing interrelationships. It is the common instrument that they draw on for socio-cultural identification.
English language is said to be a human specific mode of expressing our thought through the verbal (i.e spoken and written) and non-verbal means. With this definition, we shall reiterate that English language necessarily serves humans in a multitude of ways: English language is said to have a great impact on the cognitive development of man: Man is able to express his thoughts and view.
The majority of world English speakers use English either as a second or third language and exists in an environment where in the least, bilingualism is the norm even though English may be the official language. In many countries, including Nigeria, English is the main language of instruction in schools (especially after primary education level) and it is used in business and other official transactions and interactions.
English came into Nigeria through colonization centuries ago and three main groups of people emerged from this contact of English with the indigenous languages of Nigeria. These groups are the British, the new Nigerian elite trained in Britain and the native indigenous population trained in Nigeria. A local variant of English emerged from the mixing of those groups of people. This local variant of English was coloured by influence from local languages. Borrowing of indigenous words into English is a result of this contact and these borrowed words are what we call ‘loan words’.
Today as English is used in almost every facet of life in Nigeria, it still comes in contact with practically all indigenous Nigerian languages and when Nigerians speak English words from their various indigenous languages occur in their speech
This research work therefore, will find out if students in the University of Ilorin borrow words from English into Yoruba in their day to day interaction and if they do, to identify these borrowings.
We shall also find out the sources of these borrowings. We hope to trace them to the various indigenous languages and which they use in a communication. In other words, effort shall be made extensively on the scope of the study and methodology involved in the collection of data.
1.2 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study intends to deal with the influence of English language on our indigenous Nigerian languages. To this end , we will focus on Yoruba as our case study. This is because Yoruba is the predominant indigenous language of the geographical areas in which this research is being carried out. We then examine if students borrow words from English into Yoruba and specifically if they indulge in code mixing when they communicate in Yoruba by interspersing the Yoruba speech with English words or phrases.
The scope of this study will also cover why and when these students code-mix. This study does not concern itself with error analysis. Therefore attention will not be focused at correcting sentences collected in the process of our analysis.
The examples of borrowing used in our data are English borrowings into Yoruba. This is due to the fact that our data are based on Yoruba which is one of the Nigerian indigenous languages which borrow English language into their languages. The researcher in this research has decided to limit herself to Yoruba language because of the geographical area she finds herself.
This research work will pay attention to whether English language has a positive or negative influence on Yoruba one of the Nigerian indigenous languages so has to find out whether English language aids the growth of Yoruba language or impedes it?
The sample population that will be used in this study is 80 (eighty) students of the University of Ilorin. These students shall be randomly chosen from four faculties in the University of Ilorin, which are:-
i. Faculty of Arts
ii. Faculty of Agriculture
iii. Faculty of Engineering and
iv. Faculty of Law
The students that will be used as subjects from the selected faculties are all Yoruba language speakers.
The instruments to be used in the collection of our data are tape recorder and audio cassette in the recording of some natural conversations of undergraduate students of the University of Ilorin. Eighty conversations shall be recorded and the techniques of sampling shall be used by numbering the conversations from one to eighty. The conversations with even numbers would be selected and analyzed.
Specifically, 400 level students of four faculties shall be studied and analyzed because it is felt that this category of students know enough English to be affected by the phenomenon being investigated.