From stigma to coolness – The emergence of Naija (Nigerian Pidgin) as a 100 million speaker African language

Breakfast debate: “From stigma to coolness”, the emergence of Naija (Nigerian Pidgin) as a 100 million speaker African language – Abuja – 26/09/2017
The Institut français du Nigéria organised a breakfast debate on the emergence of Naija as a language at the national level in partnership with the Institute of African studies in Ibadan and the CNRS, the National Center for Scientific Research.
Bernard Caron, a French senior researcher at the CNRS and a linguist, described and explained the emergence of Naija as the 1st Nigerian language over the last 50 years. He gave a brief presentation of the NaijaSynCor project which takes an exhaustive and in-depth look at the structure of Naija in Nigeria today. With the tools developed by his researches, he tried to respond to the linguistic problem posed by Naija: in its geographical and functional expansion, does Naija maintain its status as a discrete language, separate from Nigerian English, or does it undergo decreolization?

Petit-Déjeuner débat : «De la stigmatisation à la cool attitude », l’émergence du Naija (Pidgin nigérian) en tant que langue parlée par 100 millions d’africains – Abuja – 26/09/2017

L’Institut français du Nigéria a organisé un petit-déjeuner débat sur l’émergence du Naija comme langue au niveau national en partenariat avec l’Institut d’études africaines à Ibadan et le CNRS.

Bernard Caron, chercheur au CNRS et linguiste, a décrit et expliqué l’émergence du Naija comme la 1ère langue nigériane au cours des 50 dernières années. Il a donné une brève présentation du projet NaijaSynCor lequel examine de manière exhaustive et approfondie la structure du Naija au Nigéria aujourd’hui. Avec les outils développés par ses recherches, il a essayé de répondre au problème linguistique posé par le Naija : dans son expansion géographique et fonctionnelle, cette langue va-t-elle maintenir son statut de langue discrète, séparée de l’anglais nigérian, ou existe-t-il un phénomène de de-créolisation?



Come and meet Bernard Caron during the next breakfast debate the 26th of September 
Bernard Caron is Senior Research Fellow at IFRA-Nigéria and Coordinator of ANR-NaijaSynCor
The talk will be in English
 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