From stigma to coolness – The emergence of Naija (Nigerian Pidgin) as a 100 million speaker African language
9am to 11pm at the Institut français du Nigeria
Nigeria, with 160+ million inhabitants, is a huge and complex multilingual community with over 500 different languages used within the public and private social spaces. Among those, Naija, a creole that is also deceptively known as Nigerian Pidgin, is spoken as a first language by 5 million people, while 100 million people use it as a second language or as an interethnic means of communication in Nigeria and in Nigerian Diaspora communities. Since the independence of Nigeria in 1960, Naija has been rapidly expanding from its original niche in the Niger delta area, to cover two-thirds of the country, up to Kaduna and Jos, and is now deeply rooted in the vast Lagos conurbation of over 20 million people. Apart from its original location, and one Lagos district, where it is learnt as a first language, and can be used as a single language, Naija is learnt alongside and not instead of other Nigerian languages. Naija has become, over the last 30 years the most important, most widely spread, and perhaps the most ethnically neutral lingua franca used in the country today. The presentation will describe and try to explain the emergence of Naija as the 1st Nigerian language over the last 50 years. It will give a brief presentation of the ANR financed NaijaSynCor project which aims at describing the language in its geographical and sociological variations, based on a 500k word corpus annotated and analysed with cutting edge NLP tools developed for corpus analysis.
Reservation is required due to limited seats but admission is free