Oxford English Dictionary incorporates 29 Nigerian words into its new edition

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Nigerian words

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has added a big batch of Nigerian words to its new edition, in recognition of the way people from the African country have helped to shape the English language.

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lexicographers have added a big batch of Nigerian words to its new edition. OED said those words were added in recognition of the way people from the African country have helped shaped the English language.

The publisher described the new words as either borrowed from the Nigerian languages of Hausa and Yoruba as well as a number of unique Nigerian coinages. The words are said to have emerged from about the middle of the 20th Century.

Nigeria’s official language is English and this makes the 191-million-strong country one of the largest English-speaking populations in the world. Also, it is used by millions of Nigerians in their daily communication, the OED said.

Through its mass entertainment media, Nigerian-invented pidgin and has went on to become widely accepted pidgin English in Africa.

In a statement released by World English Editor, Danica Salazar said that the new words were included as part of a project to ensure the dictionary reflected the full spectrum of the English language.

OED is a historical dictionary and its job is to tell the story of the development of the English vocabulary, and that story would be incomplete without adding the role Nigerians played in that. 

The fact we are adding more and more English words really reflects the global reach of English, she said.  A very important part of this is how English has become a universal language used in different parts of the world by people from a different race, these people are creating new words that add as flavors of the language.

Salazar further said the OED used linguistic research-based technology to track the evolution of words and identify which are notable.

According to the ethical standards, a word gets into a dictionary when it is used by a majority of people who all agree that it means the same thing. First, you drop the word into your conversation and writing, then others pick it up; the more its use spreads, the more its chance of been noticed by dictionary editors, or lexicographers.

Among the new entries is Kannywood; the word describes the Nigerian Hausa-language film industry based in the city of Kano.

Ember months; used to describe the last months of the year, from September to December.

Next tomorrow; meaning the day after tomorrow. 

To rub minds; which means to consult and work together, as well as barbing salon; a place to get a haircut.

Other words that would feature are K-leg (camel knees), sef (in particular), buka (eatery), and tokunbo (second-hand clothing or vehicle), danfo (commercial vehicular transport), okada (commercial motorcycle transport). OED has announced that the new words would take effect in the next edition.

Africh Royale

Africh Royale

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