Recently a young lad sent me a message asking: “does Nigeria use American or British English?” The moment he asked that question, I realised there are so many others who might be confused about the type of English Nigerians speak.
To a large extent, Nigerians are diverse in the way they speak English. With mother tongues and geographical locations playing a huge role.
There’s a standard which must be followed by schools and organizations across the nation; however, people find themselves mixing both American and British spellings in the same piece of work.
I also have been guilty on a couple of occasions. 😉
Aside from that, the Nigerian Pidgin — which is one of the most widely spoken languages in Nigeria — has also affected the way people speak.
What type of English do Nigerians speak?
The officially allowed language in Nigeria is the British English. It is used in all schools and organisations nationwide. In other words, British English is Nigeria’s lingua franca.
However, like I earlier noted, Nigerians find themselves mixing up both American and British spellings in the same piece of work, which is a wrong thing to do.
Everything is not entirely the fault of the citizens, and I’ll tell you why!
Although British English is the standard for schools and organisations, many of the publications, books and journals Nigerians find themselves reading are from American authors and, thus, written in American English.
As a result, a lot of people find themselves getting more used to writing and speaking the American way.
For example: a lot of Nigerians find themselves spelling colour as color, and honour as honor.
Pronunciation is another thing we must take note of. Owing to the plethora of languages in our nation, we have adopted diverse ways of talking, which is neither American nor British.