Nigerian Pidgin and West African Pidgins: A sociolinguistic perspective
AbstractSociolinguistic factors play a significant role in the emergence and development of pidgins and creoles, and their role in the development of West African Pidgin English based (WAPE) varieties is not an exception. Nigerian Pidgin (NP) along with Ghanaian Pidgin (GP) and Cameroon Pidgin (CP) form a continuum of mutually intelligible WAPE varieties spoken as lingua francas along the West African coast. While previous studies provide sociolinguistic descriptions of the individual varieties, there is no comprehensive comparative study of the WAPE varieties. This study aims to fill the gap by providing a comparative analysis of similarities and differences in current domains of use, functions, and attitudes that have shaped their current status in the context of their socio-historical nterrelatedness. The study shows that while the WAPE varieties share similarities in their demographic and sociolinguistic contexts, they differ in status. It observes a more rapid development and expansion in NP. The findings of this study contribute to a holistic understanding of the role of sociolinguistic factors in evaluating the status of the mutually intelligible WAPE varieties to inform its future development.
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