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Language, Culture and Identity: A Sociolinguistic Study of Bilingual Speech in Central Lagos

Mr Shodipe


This paper explores the dynamics of bilingual speech in the Lagos Island speech community in Central Lagos. Against the background of the unique social motivations for bilingual behaviour in this cosmopolitan community, this study explores the various sociolinguistic acts utilized by the Yoruba-English bilinguals in the expression of their indigenous socio- cultural identity. These devices include the use of slang, code-switching and code-mixing. Based on the premise that language acts are acts of identity (Le page and Tabouret-Keller, 1985), it is argued that individual and social identities are mediated by language and are generally exhibited in the form of language attitudes. This study thus examines a corpus of naturally-occuring data in the explication of these sociolinguistic features of language use in a non-native English environment.

Keywords: bilingual behaviour, slang, code-switching, code-mixing,
social identities.

AJOL African Journals Online