Diglossia and Code Switching in Nigeria: Implications for English Language Teaching and Learning
This paper discusses a sociolinguistic phenomenon, ‘diglossia’ and how it relates to code-switching in bilingual and multilingual societies like Nigeria.
First, it examines the relevance of the social and linguistic contexts in determining the linguistic code that bilinguals and multilinguals use in various communicative situations. It goes on to give a detailed description of the term ‘diglossia’ and highlights the distinctive features of a diglossia situation. It also examines the peculiar features of the varieties of languages that are involved in diglossic situations. Furthermore, it discusses the issue of code switching and the way it takes place in diglossic situations. It then explores the various diglossic situations that exist in Nigeria and the patterns of code-switching in each diglossic situation. Lastly, the paper points out the implications of the diglossic situations in Nigeria for English language
teaching and learning.
Key words: Diglossia, bilinguals, multilinguals, code-switching