The Naija language amnd the "Naija languej akademi" as an ideological movement
AbstractThe combat against Western linguistic subjugation in Nigeria has been multifaceted and complex. This complex combat is today visible in the move in favor of the teaching, promotion and elevation of Nigerian languages, as well as in the very ardent struggle to develop the (hitherto) marginalized Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE), henceforth referred to as naija. The strong support given to the idea of (re)habilitating the Nigerian Pidgin English rests on the belief by many endogenous linguists and informed critics that the NPE or naija language could be Nigeria’s lingua franca in the absence of an acceptable indigenous language. Using critical observations and literary sources, this paper attempts to show how the naija language and the “Naija Languej Akademi” principally constitute an ideological movement. Hinging on a number of language and culture theories including ethnocentrism, de-westernization and indigenization, the paper argues that the ideological nature of the naija language could be deducted from two major facts: (i) the revision of the name given the linguistic code (from Nigerian Pidgin English to naija), a revision which is done in a way as to capture the Nigerian identity and the culturalist/conservatist philosophy overriding the conception of its orthography; and (ii) NLA’s adoption of an indigenized (Nigerianized) orthographic system for the language. The paper equally examines the implication(s) of such an ideological movement on Nigeria’s thorny language question.
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