Language use among Nigerian /African music entertainers: survival of lingual- cultural identity
The communicative function of language and how humans use it to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, culture and identity can never be overemphasized. The English language has gained the prestige of becoming the global lingua franca, and all over the world, it has become the language used in all spheres of life. English language functions as a language of administration, education, business, trade, music and entertainment. Nigeria, being a multilingual and multicultural society, places English in a vantage position as the lingua franca that bridges the communication gap existing among the various indigenous language speakers. The multilingual situation in Nigeria has made many speakers to alternate between the English language and at least one indigenous language during communication. This sociolinguistic phenomenon is massively employed by Nigerian music artistes in particular and African music artistes in general. This paper therefore, focuses on the portrayal of positive attitudes of African culture and identity by Nigerian/African music entertainers through the process of mixing of the indigenous languages with English. The study investigates the trend in the music industry where almost all the young artistes use the indigenous languages alongside the English language to express the positive values and principles inherent in African culture. In fact, this creative trend in language use has greatly impacted the global media. Language and culture are interconnected. Language is an instrument of thought and helps to explore, discover and record the experiences in a culture. Significantly, it is observed that the blend of two codes (two languages) in music helps the artistes and their listeners alike to emphasize their identities; and for us as a people to forestall the death of our indigenous languages vis-à-vis the growth and expansion of English language.
Keywords: English language, indigenous languages, sociolinguistic code switching/code mixing, Nigerian/African music, lingual-cultural identity