Language of power: Pidgin in the colonial governance of Northern Nigeria

  • Philip Atsu Afeadie
Keywords: intermediaries, pidgin, colonial administration, Northern Nigeria, evolution

Abstract

Pidgin was indispensable as a working language of colonial governance in Northern Nigeria, epitome of the distinct and continuing role of pidgin as a language of the workplace in West Africa. The study is largely based on archival materials and oral interviews of some former African employees. Notably, British colonial authorities adopted pidgin as a language of government in Northern Nigeria, as they lacked a wider medium for inter-ethnic communication. African political agents were employed as intermediaries, based on their knowledge of pidgin and other local languages, enabling them bridge communication between government and chiefs. And pidgin was hard to replace.

Keywords: intermediaries, pidgin, colonial administration, Northern Nigeria, evolution

Published
2016-07-18
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502