Home African communication systems 11 english project topics for degree students – INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE, PIDGIN ENGLISH, MASS MEDIA AND INFORMATION DISSEMINATION

english project topics for degree students – INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE, PIDGIN ENGLISH, MASS MEDIA AND INFORMATION DISSEMINATION

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english project topics for degree students

1.0 INTRODUCTION

This unit focuses on the challenges in the use of indigenous languages for information dissemination via the mass media, delving into the use of Pidgin English as an intervention in quest for information dissemination in the mass media via the indigenous languages. It also looks at the social implications and the criticism in the use of Pidgin English for communication in Africa. english project topics for degree students

2.0 OBJECTIVES

At the end of this unit study, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the challenges in communicating development in the mass media using indigenous languages
  2. Discuss the use of Pidgin English as an intervention in quest for information dissemination in the mass media via the indigenous languages
  3. Recount the social implications in the use of Pidging English for information dissemination
  4. Effectively criticise the use of Pidging English for information dissemination

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 Challenges in the Efforts of the Media to Communicate Development in Indigenous Languages

In a multilingual society like Nigeria with about 400 indigenlous languages, i.e., with such complex linguistic heterogeneity, one might ask the question: How do people communicate?
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According to Williamson (1975), the answer is two-fold. Firstly, there is an incidence of multilingualism that is people speak two or more languages and secondly, with the use of English Language. Apart from that, our indigenous languages are short of vocabularies and standard orthography (the system of spelling and writing a language). Again, the linguistic situation of this country where vast majority of Nigerians do not understand any of the three national and even the major languages, i.e.the mutual unintelligibility of most Nigerian languages, Nigerians from different linguistic groups who do not understand standard English resort to the use of pidgin English in communication. english project topics for degree students

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So what is Pidgin? A pidgin is a marginal language, contact language without native speakers based in limited numbers of setting between speakers who do not share any common language (Ifode 1983). Pidgins are marginal due to their origins and attitude towards them by some of those who speak one of the languages from which it is derived (Osaji 1979:130). Pidgins could be expanded or restricted. A restricted pidgin is that which dies off when contact situations that resulted in them no longer exist, while expanded pidgin is that which proves to be useful in multilingual situations and extends beyond its original limited function which caused it. (Todd,1974:5). Pidgin English is made up of a source language which is mostly English and substrate languages which are made up of our local languages.

english project topics for degree students

Pidgin English is characterized by a reduced grammar due to some kind of delimitation of certain aspects of grammar (like lack of grammatical categories like mood, aspect, taste and voice). The lack of vocabulary and reduced grammar brings about over generalization and lack of precision.

Looking at Nigeria, the origin of Pidgin English in Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and other Nigerian states could be traced back to the contact the indigenes had with the Europeans in the 15th century. Although other Europeans had had contact with them, the coming of the British or English in the 19th century had more impact on the people. This is as a result of the mercantile trade, later the coming of the missionaries, mission schools and later, colonialization. english project topics for degree students

english project topics for degree students
english project topics for degree students

The coming of white missionaries also stimulated the other missionaries in Sierra Leone (who were freed slaves from the Americas and are said to have been responsible for the spread of Pidgin English along the coast of West Africa). Although some chiefs and interpreters in the coast had had knowledge of some form of broken English or broken Portuguese either from the Portuguese or English, it was the Creole speakers who built the grounds on which Pidgin English is now spoken today. As the indigenous language was foreign to the people, they had to learn it from the beginning like a child acquiring language. Secondly, the foreigners’ domination made it important for the indigenes to learn the language, if they wanted to communicate with them.english project topics for degree students
After colonialization, Standard English, which was the language of the colonialists, became the official language of these states and the countries at large. And it became increasingly difficult for people to communicate in Standard English, as most people were illiterates or semi-literate and English is only acquired with considerable amount of education. The next thing they did was to fall back on Pidgin English which was already widely used as a lingua franca (a common language which is habitually spoken as a medium of communication between groups of people whose mother tongues are different. Owing to this definition, one can say that Pidgin English is an unofficial lingua franca), which was easier to learn.

3.2 The Electronic Medium and the Use of Pidgin English in Information Dissemination: 

The electronic medium is one of the media through which government, private sector and some individuals keep the masses abreast of any event in and outside the country or state. It is also an avenue through which manufacturers advertise their goods and services. According to Ogwezzy (1998) its use became effective in the advertisement of goods and services. So, it is increasingly becoming a useful vehicle for portraying many social and economic ideals. english project topics for degree students

Even, the government found it important that people should be aware of programmes that she was trying to implement in their communities and understand other enlightenment messages. To do this effectively, it used Pidgin English as well as the electronic medium for the campaign. The use of the language in the electronic media has also helped to mobilize the people to know what the government expects from them. As a result of this development, government deemed it fit to use the language as a medium of mobilizing the people for their programmes. So when War Against Indiscipline (WAI), Mass Mobilization for Social Justice, Self Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) were launched, pidgin English was one of the main languages used for enlightening and educating the people on what the programmes stood for. Another example was when the Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) was launched and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), enlightenement campaign on fake drugs amongst others currently being broadcast on radio and television.

english project topics for degree students

Also, the media mainly the electronic, adopted the use of pidgin English and introduced pidgin English in information dissemination, which the station styled ‘Special English’ to enable it perform its duties satisfactorily. In Rivers State, Allison (1988:5) citing Erekosima (1987), stated that Radio Rivers started a new programme called “News Translation” in Pidgin English, which she said “is …[a] humble contribution to the search of a lingua franca in the state”. She however, argued that when it comes to the area of television, the use of Pidgin English is minimal and it is only restricted to comedies like Sosei, New Masquerade, Samanja to mention a few. english project topics for degree students

The continued use of Pidgin English in the electronic media has consciously and unconsciously enriched its vocabulary. And this is done mainly through borrowing from Standard English. This has resulted to the Pidgin English being used in the electronic media moving closer to the standard variety it was based on. This can not be avoided as the editors of those news or advertisements are literate and competent speakers of English.

3.3The Social Significance in the Use of Pidgin English in Information

Dissemination in AfricaAlthough some favoured the use of Pidgin English in the electronic media (especially the illiterates and semi-literates) as that is the language they use in interaction between themselves. However, not all literates and semi-literates condone the use of Pidgin English. So, there are some literates and semi-literates who despise the use of Pidgin English especially in their homes. According to them, the use of Pidgin English sometimes usurps the use of their traditional languages and culture. And children growing up with the use of Pidgin English are said to disregard elders and traditional beliefs.english project topics for degree students

Furthermore, some literates or elite do not favour the use of the language in electronic media because of the influence it has in the use of Standard English by their children and adults alike. They argue that it impacts negatively on child acquisition of the Standard British English Language, which is more prestigious, needed for formal education and social advancement. A good example of such contempt accorded to the use of Pidgin English in the Rivers State was when a gubernatorial candidate, Chief Melford Okilo, was said to have used Pidgin English in his campaigns electioneering campaign on the platform of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) during the 1979 and 1983 general elections in Nigeria. This on the surface is understandable, as the people he was dealing with were illiterates english project topics for degree students

and semi-literates who cannot speak Standard British English Language, would but understand Pidgin English. Also, he on the other hand, did not understand their local languages but could speak Pidgin English. That notwithstanding, many people in all works of life did not take that action kindly. They felt it was downgrading for a gubernatorial candidate to use Pidgin English in his campaigns.

Thus, one might say, that Pidgin English in the Rivers State had already been accorded the status of a lingua franca before the electronic media were established in the state this is going by historical books on Pidgin English in Rivers State.english project topics for degree students

It is also right for one to assert that Pidgin English is consciously or unconsciously developing by its constant use in electronic media. Thus, one might say that Pidgin English language could be seen as an official lingua franca in the state. Though despised, it cannot be removed from the Rivers State and Nigeria in general. This is due to the multilingual nature of the state.

Ironically, with all these prejudices against Pidgin English, it is still performing its role of inter lingual communication. And its limited resources are the very core of its very survival for the illiterates and semi-literates (Osaji, 1979). With this realisation, the elite in future may change their attitude towards Pidgin English and accord Pidgin English its rightful place by making it an official lingua franca as it is widely used by different classes or groups of people in Nigeria and ultimately employ it for pan Nigerian information dissemination. So, it might creolise and become the mother tongue of future generation of Nigerias as creole is in Sierra – Leone.

3.4 Criticism of the Use of Pidgin English in Information Dissemination in Africa

A lot of criticisms have been levelled against the use of Pidgin English in the electronic media. A major one is the lack of vocabulary and its deficiency in situations demanding abstract or scientific thought. Such criticisms bring to mind other similar ones levelled against our indigenous languages. Lastly, Pidgin English lends itself without fuss or focus, to conveying a fundamental thought in the tradition world view.

Two of these criticisms are being addressed. Suitable terminologies are now being evolved for rare concepts in the same way as the English language, continuously searches to describe the latest creations of the human mind.
  1. 4.0 CONCLUSION

This unit concludes that it is challenging to disseminate information in the indigenous languages in a multilingual society like Nigeria with about 400 indigenous languages, considering the fact that most of the indigenous languages are short of vocabularies and standard orthography. It also highlighted the fact that most Nigerian languages are mutually unintelligibile, delving into the use of Pidgin English for communication as an intervention. It presented a ray of hope on the use of Pidgin in the electronic media for information dissemination in a multilingual African country arguing that it has consciously and unconsciously enriched its vocabulary. It suggested that in a multilingual setting, Pidgin English can be adopted for information dissemination because Pidgin English is not only spoken by illiterates and semi-literates, but university students and educated elites use it in discussing amongst themselves in familiar circumstances. Perhaps, the only places Pidgin English has not fully penetrated into, are churches and traditional socio-cultural events where local languages dominate.english project topics for degree students

It concludes that despite the negative social implications in the use of Pidgin English for information dissemination in Nigeria, it is still performing its role of inter lingual communication and might creolise.

5.0 SUMMARY

This unit dealt with the challenges in the use of indigenous languages for information dissemination via the mass media. It highlighted the use of Pidgin English as an intervention in quest for information dissemination in the mass media via the indigenous languages.
It also dealt with the social implications in the use of Pidgin English for information dissemination, delving into criticisms. It highlighted ways of addressing the criticisms. english project topics for degree students

Self Assessment Exercise

  1.  From your experience, discuss any use of Pidgin English in information dissemination in Nigeria via the mass media.
  2.  What are the criticisms in the use of Pidging English for information dissemination?

6.0 TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT

  1. What are the challenges in the use of indigenous languages for information dissemination in Africa, especially in a multilingual country?
  2. Discuss the social implications for the use of Pidging English for information dissemination.

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