Youth Language as a Transnational Phenomenon: The Case of French in Nigeria
This study sets out to enquire if the French language could be seen as a youth language in Nigeria. It adopts conventional approaches to youth language studies and carries out an empirical study on how the French language has fared amongst Nigerians since it became the country’s second official language in 1996. After an exhaustive review of related literature, the study adopts the sociological, sociolinguistic and transnational theories to explain the concept of youth language as a transnational phenomenon that has established itself in Africa through Western European influences. The study has two phases: a first phase to determine those who connect with French in Nigeria, involves a sample population of 80 persons, including 40 youth and 40 adults of both sexes and different nationalities from four of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones (North Central, South East, South West, South South); and a second phase to determine the nature of French language speech patterns by the youth. This involves only the 40 youth. Using the quantitative and qualitative methods, this study makes a careful analysis of the questionnaire administered to the sample population. The findings reveal that most adults of 36 years and above in Nigeria show little or no interest in the French language, while most young people of between 12 and 35 years of age in Nigeria are so deeply attached to the French language that they have now adapted its use to suit their purpose as a distinctive communication code peculiar to them.
Keywords: Adult, French, In-group, Transnationalism, Youth, Youth language.