Igbo Slang in Otu-Onitsha: Towards Enriching the Igbo Language

  • LC Nkamigbo
  • CA Eme


Slang expressions are “Terms that are made up or are given new definitions
[by a social group] in order to make the terms novel or conventional [such
that people outside the social group are excluded from the group’s
discussions]” (Harris, 1994). Slang is, therefore, a sociolinguistic
phenomenon. This chapter investigates the Igbo slang expressions used by
members of Otu-Onitsha speech community. Many scholars have attempted
the study of slang use in Igboland (see Anasiudu and Oluikpe, 1983; Oluikpe, Anasiudu and Ogbonna, 1984; Oluikpe and Ogbonna, 1987; Anasiudu, 1987; Okorji, 1998; Ebede, 2001; Oluikpe and Anasiudu, 2006; Nwoye, 2007). Although a few instances of Igbo slang appear in some of these works, none gives a detailed examination of Igbo slang expressions frequently used in an Igbo speech community. It identifies some Igbo slang expressions, their various users and contexts of usage. As Otu-Onitsha speech community comprises Igbo speakers from the different dialect areas of Igboland, we advocate that these slang expressions in use in Otu-Onitsha should consciously be made to permeate into the various Igbo communities as it iscustomary for the speakers in Otu-Onitsha to visit their family homes/villages from time to time. This would, definitely, enrich the Igbo language in their respective communities.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057