Why these 5 Nigerian cities speak the language
Portuguese influence contributes to why these Nigerian cities speak dope pidgin.
On September 19, 2018, news broke that Nigerian businessman and senator, Ben Murray-Bruce offered a woman, Dekpe Kate a job as Pidgin English Newscaster on Silverbird TV.
The news was broken by controversial Nigerian writer, Reno Omokri via his twitter page @RenoOmokri. Once again the conversation has centred around the beauty of pidgin English.
What is pidgin English?
What exatly is pidgin english? (ToyoBaby)
Also called, ‘broken’, it is an English-based Creole that has been adopted as a pseudo-lingua franca or nationally spoken language in Nigeria.
In some ways, due to the diversity of tribes and dialect and the inability to speak English as is, most Nigerians understand and speak pidgin as primary mode of communication.
It is the one language that we all understand and can speak without formal education or being in any particular crowd. Everybody, regardless of tribe or social standing speaks pidgin.
While the cities like Lagos, Abuja, Onitsha, and Kaduna speak pidgin, the very best pidgin is spoken in the South-South/Niger-Delta that encompasses Edo, Delta, Cross-River, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom states.
The reason is simple. The Portuguese came into pillaged Nigeria for business around the 1470s.
In fact, a 1490s Portuguese trader wrote that at Benin, Cooper bracelets were more expensive than brass ones.
These Portuguese expeditionists were in Nigeria to trade mineral resources, spices, spirits, and cowrie shells before they discovered slave trade, an already booming business.
It is alleged by 234 Project that Benin Chiefs traded these slaves with the Portuguese who eventually exported a reported 3.5 million people to Europe and then America.
They had discovered Nigeria by accident while seeking a new trade route to Asia. Interestingly, even the word, ‘Lagos’ is from a Portuguese word for, ‘Lakes’ underlining the water-rich landscape.
When the Portuguese first landed, it was Benin that attracted them. Like it usually is in Nigeria, across the seven South-Southern states lie at least 10 tribes with each tribe accustomed to its own dialect.
They had to find a way to communicate with these people with whom they hoped to trade and further plunder for their personal enrichment and for selfish ends.
Thus, the earliest saunters into our own Creole, like the expeditonists had done across the Caribbean to create effective communication was to understand these people’s language and infuse theirs into it.
Like the Patois, spoken in Jamaica, pidgin was born, but it was initially based off Portuguese as a word like, ‘Sabi’, which meaning ‘to know’ in pidgin is of Portuguese origin.
While the pidgin we now speak now is English-based Creole, it started off Portuguese sense of invention before the British jumped on it as they had greater grounds and greater reach as the years rolled by.
The status of the South-South as the home that birthed riches in Pidgin had however been laid, the Portuguese influence spread across to modern Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States.
For this reason, the following Cities speak the best pidgin English;
The capital of Bayelsa State and known for its native Epie-Atissa Language, it is home to about 500,000 people who all speak the language.
Due to the questionable depth at speaking pidgin like all the yet-to-be-mentioned cities on this list, it comes at number 5.
It, however, gets in over other cities like Lagos because of the attractive way pidgin is spoken. When its inhabitants speak it way they use the sounds, ‘Sh’ and gossip in it.
You cannot help but admire.
4.) Port Harcourt
The capital of Rivers State, sometimes called ‘Lagos of the South-South’, it houses about 1.8 million people and is also called ‘ígúócha’ in Ikwerre.
It is known for its cosmopolitan vibes, hold-ups, streets that start with ‘Rumu-’, beautiful women and quality pidgin.
Sometimes mixed with local Ikwerre dialects, this denomination of pidgin is most known for words like, ‘Shwo’ when speakers want to ask, ‘Why?’
PH makes this list because pidgin is more widely spoken than in Yenogoa, with better attraction a fluency.
In truth, for the quality of pidgin spoken, vertically and for density, Asaba is probably at par with Port Harcourt. It just makes this list because it is in Delta.
Asaba, also called ‘Àhàbà’ in Igbo, is the capital of Delta State and is home to about 300,000 people. It is known for its colour, lively people and wonderful pidgin.
Asaba people are specifically blessed at how they drag their pidgin words towards the end and accentuate certain words in ways that will make the average pidgin speaker laugh.
It is truly a beauty to listen to them speak.
Benin is a wonderful space where almost anyone can thrive. It is the lively capital of Edo State where nothing ever stops, it keeps going and stories abound.
We hear of their accommodating character, free spirit and willingness to scatter ground when needs br. Asides that, it is known for rubber and oil production.
Historically, Benin is also a Nigerian power to be reckoned with for its riches in culture, arts, craft, and creativity.
The beautiful women also make a pungent point as well as names that start with, ‘Osa’.
Their pidgin is so incredible, it feels like music as words tend to follow a particular sonic line that create a balance, you might lose yourself in the music and forget the words.
If a Benin tells you, ‘You nor dey shame?’, you might neglect the abusive tendency and just enjoy the way the pidgin being spoken.
It is an everyday language, vertically spoken more than in most Nigerian cities. The Portuguese history might also have contributed. It is also slightly discernible from Warri pidgin.
Warri nor dey carry last, but this time, Warri carry first. Warri is simply home to be best, most inventive and crisp pidgin English in Nigeria.
It is almost impossible to think that Warri has another dialect asides pidgin. The vertical culture of pidgin in Warri cuts across everything.
Listening to someone like the rapper, Errigga gives a wonderful insight into just how good listening to Warri people speak pidgin is.
The way they also stress certain first sounds in like, ‘R’, ‘Sh’ or ‘O’, in words is simply admirable.
A major city in Delta, Warri is an oil hub that houses immense wealth amongst its 500,000 people across three major ethnic groups; Itsekiri, Urhobo and Ijaw.
Warri leads Benin on this list because pidgin is basically the first language in Warri. The average mind basically only knows Warri people for their beautiful pidgin prowess.
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