"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: July 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jigawa as a National Conversation

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Talking about Jigawa isn’t a disinterested affair for me. But it’s no vacuous propaganda either. Governor Sule Lamido’s Special Adviser on Media, Adagbo Onojo, is my friend and mentor. But my relationship with him is defined and sustained by our common love for critical engagement, for robust debates, and for self-questioning. Uncritical, undeserved, and sycophantic adulation would offend Onoja’s—and Lamido’s— sensibilities.

That’s why although Onoja is predictably his boss’ most robust defender he can also be his severest in-house critic. And Governor Lamido, being the scion of a time-honored, critical NEPU/PRP political tradition that cherished and celebrated informed dissent, is at peace with this. He welcomes vigorous, constructive debates about his performance, strengths, and weaknesses. But this isn’t one of those. It’s a genuinely heartfelt tribute to his inspirational and transformational leadership in one of Nigeria’s poorest states.

When Onoja invited me to Jigawa, first, to temporarily take my mind off the recent personal tragedy that has befallen me and, second, to assess the performance of his boss, I didn’t hesitate to honor his invitation. I had visited Jigawa twice in the late 1990s when I worked for the Weekly Trust

I recall being struck by the intensely dispiriting rusticity and developmental awkwardness of Dutse, the state capital. Upon my return to Kaduna, I told my colleagues then that Dutse reminded me of my natal village. I didn’t imagine that a state capital could be that cruelly denuded of the basic, taken-for-granted infrastructural trappings that we have come to expect of towns and cities of Dutse’s status. It was almost untouched by the faintest sprinkle of modernity.

In early 2007, my friend and former classmate, Dr. Moses Ochonu, who is now an assistant professor of history at Vanderbilt University in the US, had occasion to visit Dutse on a research trip. He recorded his impressions of Dutse in a searingly biting and perceptive piece titled, “The Ground Zero of Corruption.” Dutse hadn’t changed a wee bit since the 1990s.

 “Rural, pristine, sleepy, and rocky, the capital of Jigawa state represents in my opinion the ground zero of corruption in Nigeria,” he wrote in the Nigeriavillagesquare.com, a popular Nigerian internet discussion forum. “My first visit to Dutse was in 1991, shortly after the state’s creation…. A succession of military administrators and the brief civilian administration of Ali Sa’ad Birnin Kudu… laid a modest foundation for what could have been a remarkable transformation of Dutse from a rural quasi-emirate headquarters to a truly urbanized capital. Such transformative opportunities were wasted, by all accounts, by the administration of the immediate past governor, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, leaving the town bereft of development and an infrastructural presence befitting a state capital.”

His reflection and critical commentary on the tear-jerking backwardness and decay of Dutse were accompanied by vividly telling pictorial corroborations. Late last year, he was on another research trip to Jigawa. He again recorded his observations in an interesting piece. 

Even with the utmost stretch of fantasy, it is difficult to imagine a contrast more striking than that between the condemnatory, censorious, anger- and pity-inspiring reflections he wrote in 2007 and the laudatory, even celebratory, account he gave of the current state of affairs in Jigawa. (Read his “Who is Nigeria’s best performing governor”? in Nigeriavillagesquare.com)

 Because I know Moses to be an honest, fiercely independent, hypercritical, and fastidious fellow, my curiosity was piqued. Anything that can attract and sustain Moses’ attention—and praise—must be truly outstanding and inspirational.

Two weeks ago, I saw first-hand what my friend eloquently and persuasively captured in his piece. I didn’t believe I was in the same Dutse that I visited in the 1990s. I do not exaggerate when I say Dutse ranks favorably with Abuja in terms of the beauty and quality of most of its infrastructure.

Dutse’s well-laid, nicely lit, delicately manicured road networks, the spell-binding architectural and aesthetic splendor of its newly built structures such as the Sawaba Monument, the Aminu Kano Triangle, the G-9 quarters (all architectural tributes to the governor’s progressive political and ideological provenance), the numerous, well-constructed housing estates that remind me of the Gwarinpa Housing Estate in Abuja, the massive quarters for the speaker and other senior government officers, etc are a visual delight.

Well, you would be right to dismiss these infrastructural accoutrements as vainglorious elite indulgence, as testimonials of bourgeois vanity. However, it is also true that neat, inspiring, beautiful, and lush environments can—indeed do— propel the creative impulses of people, rejuvenate their spirit, and renew their hope and enthusiasm to live.

But it isn’t the radical, almost magical, infrastructural transformation of Dutse and other parts of Jigawa that fascinates me about Lamido. It is the attention he has paid to the social security, education, and health of his people. Jigawa has gone down in the annals as the first—and, for now, the only—state in Nigeria that has instituted basic economic liberties for its severely economically disaffiliated citizens. Every disabled and unemployable person in Jigawa now receives a monthly stipend.

 I was also impressed by the quality of infrastructural construction and renewal—and pedagogic preparation—of the schools we visited in Dutse, Hadejia and Birnin Kudu. The quality of the new buildings at the nursing school in Birnin Kudu is particularly so lavishly high-quality, so world-class that I stood transfixed for several minutes. And the Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital in Dutse is simply a marvel. It’s said to be first and best of its kind in Nigeria. That’s not difficult to believe. Going round the wards of the hospital and seeing the state-of-the-art medical equipment installed in them reminded me of the hospitals I’ve visited in the US. No hyperbole.

It is impossible to record in this short piece every impression that registered in me during my two-day stay in Jigawa. But what kept agitating my mind after my sight-seeing—and after reading and hearing the accounts of other credible, otherwise hypercritical people—was: why is Jigawa, with one of the lowest federal allocations in the country, able to financially support its many infrastructural and social initiatives while more financially endowed states vegetate in developmental stagnation? Is Lamido incurring huge debts for his state to fund these projects? Onoja assured me this isn’t the case. I believe him.

Well, for me, Jigawa’s admirable transformation in spite of its modest financial standing aggrandizes the profundity of the corruption that plagues our nation. Lamido is certainly no saint. If he “helps” himself a little with the resources of the state but is still able to do this much with what remains, why have many other state governors with much larger shares of federal allocations condemned their states to perpetual developmental babyhood, to the nadir of despair, hopelessness, and decay? This should be the topic of a national conversation.

  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Grieving in America

By Farooq A. Kperogi

Our existential realities, to a large extent, define our thought-processes and preoccupations. This explains the thanatocentricism (i.e., obsession with death; that, by the way, is my coinage, and it’s derived from Thanatos, the Greek personification of death) of my recent essays. My inexpressibly deep personal loss in the death of my wife has changed my perspectives about life in ways I never imagined.

Death is indeed the ultimate uniter, the force that melts our cultural singularities, the spook that frightens and forces out the humanity that so often contentedly lurks in the sedate provinces of our minds and souls and bodies.

When my mom and dad were informed about the death of my wife on June 4, they were haunted both by the tragedy of the loss of their kind and caring daughter-in-law and by the fear that the impersonality and isolation of American life would lead me to think myself to death. Many of my friends and family members in Nigeria verbalized similar sentiments.

But they were all wrong. America is not nearly as detached and deficient of humanity as it has been cracked up to be in popular narratives in Nigeria—and in most parts of the developing world. In moments of momentous tragedy, Americans are just as sympathetic, supportive, and obliging as anybody else—if not more so.

When I was informed of the death of my wife, the first person I called was my closest friend in America, Dr. Moses Ochonu, who teaches history at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. We’ve been friends since our undergraduate days at Bayero University, Kano in the early 1990s. The next person I called was Jim Schiffman, my friend and Ph.D. course mate who is the Chief Copy Editor at CNN International. Next, I called my doctoral advisor, Professor Michael Bruner. Then my energy dissipated. And I collapsed.
Zainab, Sinani, and me at CNN headquarters

But less than five minutes after the calls, up to 10 different people in Atlanta—all of them Americans—whom I hadn’t even called, came over to my house. They said I must not stay alone. Moses Ochonu, my Nigerian friend, actually set out to drive to Atlanta from Nashville. He didn’t think anybody would be around me and said it would be dangerous for me to be alone. But many Americans, some of whom I wasn’t particularly close to, expressed similar worries as Moses.

I assured all of them that I would be all right. They weren’t persuaded. Finally, I decided to go with Jim Schiffman. Moses wasn’t convinced until he spoke with Jim, whom I had introduced him to when he and his family visited me in Atlanta last year. I spent two days with Jim and his wife.
Sinani, Zainab, me, and Jim

When my mom heard what happened she was overcome with pleasant surprise. “So even the Bature [white people] behave like we do in moments like this? This goes to show we are all the same,” she said. Many of my Nigerian relations have a hard time believing that an emotionally distant and isolated society like America still retains that level of personal warmth.

But it wasn’t just the spontaneous outpouring of empathy and emotional support from many Americans who know me intimately and casually that was overwhelming; the immediacy of the financial support was incredible. Before I could regain my emotional composure, Jim and his wife paid for my airfare to Nigeria. They chose the days I would travel and the length of time I am presently spending in Nigeria. They insist I not repay them.

The professors and students in my department also immediately contributed money to help with the logistics of my travel. When I said I might bring our 6-year-old daughter back to the U.S. with me, a colleague’s daughter offered to baby-sit our daughter for free.

Another person sent me an email about two weeks ago telling me she had enrolled my daughter in a pricey private school in Atlanta and paid the $7000 per annum tuition fee that students pay in the school. Her friends, she said, would contribute money for my daughter’s uniforms, books, funds for lunch, afterschool care, and field trips.

After this unbelievably generous offer, she wrote: “I sincerely hope I have not overstepped my bounds; this was the most immediate help I knew I could offer. If you have already made plans for your daughter… please do not hesitate to decline this offer.” I couldn’t resist getting emotional.

It isn’t only in Atlanta that people are falling over each other to help and to ease my pain. Students and professors at the University of Louisiana’s department of communication, where I studied for my master’s degree, sent me a beautiful, thoughtfully and delicately worded condolence card—and a check. And I didn’t even have the presence of mind to inform anybody there about what had happened to me.

These are just samples of the profusion of support I’ve been receiving from friends and colleagues in America. A typical American condolence message ends with the phrase, “let me know how I can help.” Although I had always known that tragedies bring out the best in Americans—indeed in most humans—I didn’t expect this much show of support. I expected people to treat my personal tragedy as my own burden. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if that had turned out to be the case.

Members of the Nigerian immigrant community in America and Canada, most of whom have never physically met me, have also been extremely supportive. It’s difficult to accept that I deserve all this.

It, of course, goes without saying that my family and friends in Nigeria have been great emotional props for me in this desperately trying moment. The management of Media Trust, where I worked for many years and where my wife worked until her passing away, has been simply overwhelming in its support. So are many present and past staff members of the organization, especially our family friend and Daily Trust Kaduna Bureau Chief, Ibraheem Musa, who has been nothing short of spectacular in everything, from arranging the logistics for the burial to getting the death certificate for my late wife.

May God recompense all—too many to mention in this short piece— who have in one way or another sacrificed their personal comfort to help us stabilize emotionally.

It is supremely ironic that it is tragedies and traumas, more than successes and prosperity, that bring out the depth of the humanity in us. Perhaps it is because these tragedies remind us all of our own mortality, our own frailty, our own vulnerability.

Related Articles:

Mourning My Wife and Best Friend
Zainab: One Year After, It Still Feels Like a Dream 
Grieving in America

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mourning My Wife and Best Friend

By Farooq A. Kperogi

This is far and away the most difficult piece I’ve ever had to write in my entire life. At first I had neither the emotional strength nor the desire to write this. Then when I stabilized emotionally and felt motivated enough to write I didn’t know what to write—or how to write. I put off writing this piece more than 10 times in less than two weeks.

 How can I possibly capture, in mere words, the welter of emotions that continue to perniciously smolder the entire fiber of my being since the tragic passing away of Mrs. Zainab Musa Kperogi, my loving wife and best friend? Where do I start from? What should I say? What should I leave out? If this piece comes across as desultory and disjointed, it is because I have not resolved these questions.

 When Zainab told me she would drive to Kaduna with our three kids to visit her twin sister, my instinctive inclination was to discourage her—as I often did. But I had no good reason to do so this time around. Her twin sister, Hajia Aisha, the only person with whom she shared both parents, had visited from her base in Kaduna twice in three months. And Zainab’s three-month maternity leave was going to expire on the Monday after the accident that took her life, which meant that she might not be able to return her sister’s visits in a long while. Plus, Hauwa (whom we call Sinani at home), our first daughter, always eagerly looks forward to visiting her cousins in Kaduna. So I thought it would be unreasonable to discourage her from traveling.

 But I have an intensely deep-seated paranoia about road travel in Nigeria with which my late wife had become well-acquainted. I would often tell her that I was uncomfortable with the idea of her driving herself all the way to Kaduna, although she was by far a more skilful driver than I could ever hope to be. She would ask why and I would say it was because of the unsettling stories I’d always read about whole families perishing in car crashes in Nigeria. But she would say, “God forbid! By Allah’s grace, that won’t happen to us.” But those assurances had been little comfort to me.

So on June 4 when she, along with our three children and her paternal half-brother’s maternal half sister who helped her with domestic chores, set out for Kaduna, I was severely apprehensive—as I always had been each time she drove herself to Kaduna. This apprehension manifested forcefully in my dreams. At exactly the time she had the accident, I had a dream of her coming out of a car looking noticeably depressed. My recollection of the dream is indistinct now, but I recall that I was angry with her over something she did and I flew into a rage. But she was uncharacteristically calm and penitent.

The sangfroid and grace she showed in the face of my petulant flare-up disarmed me. So I went and hugged her and apologized for my childish outburst. She forgave me without questions. And that got me even more emotional. I cried hysterically and assured her that I loved her way more than my fragile male ego allowed me to admit.

I woke up in convulsive gasps of sobs. I then decided that when I called her in a moment’s time (although I’d just woken up in Atlanta, it was late afternoon in Nigeria) I would give her the same assurances of my undying love that I’d given her in my dream. Just then I got a call from my wife’s twin sister’s husband, Dr. Ibrahim Okunade, who teaches physics at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

After observing the familiar conversational civilities rather clumsily, he said, “Farooq, it has happened o!” And he started sobbing uncontrollably. My instincts immediately told me what it was that had “happened” but I’d perversely hoped against hope that it was someone else it had “happened” to. “Zainab died in road accident a few minutes ago,” he said. I almost fainted. Then he added immediately: “But the three children survived unharmed.” It was like someone had pushed me to the frightening edge of a very steep cliff and then pulled me back again just when I was about to fall off.

My world as I know it has crumbled irreversibly. It will never be the same again. I am learning to come to terms with that tragic, soul-depressing fact. Zainab was everything to me. She was first my best friend before she became my wife and mother of my children. We fell in love the first day we set eyes on each other in May 1999 at the Weekly Trust head office in Kaduna where I had been a reporter for nearly a year. Then it turned out that we shared similar passions. She was an English grammar nerd—like I am. (She studied English and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan). Lively discussions and arguments about English grammar and style were the stuff of our interaction in the first few months of our courtship.
Me and Zainab in June 1999

Zainab was one of the most brilliant grammarians and writers that I’ve ever known. But she was so modest and self-effacing about her intellectual strengths that she didn’t often get the credit or recognition that she deserved. Plus, because of the prevailing patriarchal arrogance of our society, people often whispered behind her back that I wrote most of her pieces. This worried her a lot. The truth is that we were each other’s editors and writing coaches. She spruced up my pieces as much as I did hers. But no one, to my knowledge, ever alleged that she wrote my articles.

In Zainab I had the most supportive wife that anybody could ever hope for. Before we got married, for instance, I told her of my intention to pursue graduate studies in the United States. I even suggested that we delay our wedding until I got my Ph.D., but she assured me that marriage wouldn’t stand in the way of my aspirations. She promised to give me all the support I needed.

 And, sure enough, she was the happiest person when I was accepted to study for my master’s degree at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, just two years after our wedding. To demonstrate her commitment to her promise to support my aspirations, she actually paid half of my airfare to the United States and had been supportive of me in ways words are incapable of expressing.

Hardly any day passed by without us speaking on the phone or having video chats on Yahoo! Messenger or Skype. Of course, there was no summer that we didn’t visit each other for at least three months. But she resisted relocating to the United States because, by U.S. immigration laws, she would not be able to work until and unless my immigration status changed. She didn’t want to be entirely dependent on me.

Zainab was also the most kind-hearted person that I’ve ever known. One of her greatest passions was to help people who were less well-off than she was. She couldn’t live with the thought of keeping “bulk money” while other people suffered. That’s why she had no savings. Two days before her death, she asked me to send her some money in addition to the monthly upkeep allowance I sent to her. It turned out that she actually withdrew half of her own salary, added it to what I’d sent to her, and then deposited various sums of money to the accounts of five different needy people on the Friday that she died. She was compulsively kind-hearted but in ways that weren’t apparent to many people.

She also always gave money to my parents, siblings, and extended family members without even informing me. My mom and dad always wondered what they had done to deserve the uncommon graciousness and kindness they got from Zainab. But her grace wasn’t limited to giving unsolicited money to my family members; she was also like the glue that cemented cracks in my family wall. Just two days before her death, for instance, she settled a long-drawn-out quarrel between my younger sister and me. She would also often remind me to touch base with family and friends, alert me of the birthdays and anniversaries of family and friends, and advise me on what kinds of gifts to give to people.

But Zainab’s death isn’t inconsolably heart-rending only because she was my wife, best friend, and confidante, or because she was generous, benevolent, obliging, and deeply religious; her death is tragic also because it dramatizes the illogic and meanness of this life. Life was unfair to her from the cradle to the grave.

 Her  mom, after whom we named our second daughter, Maryam, was in a coma for 12 days after she gave birth to her and twin sister, Aisha, who teaches environmental science at Kaduna Polytechnic. Shortly after their painful birth through C-section, their dad and mom divorced mysteriously. So they were raised by their dad’s wives in harsh, loveless conditions. And just when they got into the university, their stupendously wealthy dad died at the age of 47. They were cheated out of the massive inheritance their dad left behind: they didn’t get a penny from it. Then less than 10 years after their dad’s death, their mom also died in a car crash.

But she wasn’t bitter. She found refuge and strength in Islam and always hoped and prayed that things would change for the better soon. I was scheduled to graduate with my Ph.D. this December. This prospect—and what it entailed for us— excited her intensely, as it did me. The whole family was planning to attend my graduation. And then, suddenly, without warning, she died in a cruel, violent accident, leaving behind three innocent kids, including our three-month-old Adam who will never know the soothing motherly care and comfort that only she could give. Who says life isn’t a bitch?

But we can’t afford to give in to the disempowering tyranny of despair. That would be a disservice to the perpetual optimism that defined Zainab’s life. We can only pray that her soul—and that of Tobi, her half-sister who also died in the car crash—rest in peace.

 I also want to use this opportunity to express my gratitude for the effusion of empathy and support I’ve been receiving from friends, fans, and family since her death. May God reward you all.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back-formation and Affixation in Nigerian English

By Farooq A. Kperogi

Coined by Scottish lexicographer James Murray, back-formation is said to occur when speakers of a language invent new words by removing what is wrongly thought to be a suffix (i.e., element added to the end of a word) from an existing word. For example, the verb “burgle” (i.e., to forcefully enter and rob a house) didn’t exist until comparatively recently; it was neologized (another back-formation from the word neologism!) by extracting the supposed suffix from the word “burglary.”


The word “negate,” which also never existed until relatively recently, was formed from “negation.” Other popular back-formations that have been fully integrated into the English lexicon are “reminisce” (from “reminiscence”), “televise” (from “television”), “baby-sit” (from “baby-sitter”), “sculpt” (from “sculptor”), “chain-smoke” (from “chain-smoker”), “edit” (from “editor”), “back-form” (from “back-formation”).

There are at least three basic characteristics of back-formations in English. The first is that they are more often than not verbs. The second is that they are usually formed on the (initially) wrong assumption that older, more established words are derived from them (for instance, most people think “negation” is derived from “negate,” “baby-sitter” from “baby-sit,” etc) when, in fact, the reverse is true.

 Finally, back-formations are often met with stiff resistance from grammarians and semantic purists of all shades when they first emerge. But because they fill a real semantic and lexical void, they often ultimately prevail. All the examples I’ve cited above were once considered egregious grammatical taboos. And as I write this piece, some grammarians still frown at the following back-formations: “enthuse” (from “enthusiasm”), “self-destruct” (from “self-destruction”), and “couth” (from uncouth”).


Affixation is the direct opposite of back-formation. It occurs when speakers of a language coin a new word by adding to an existing word. If the addition occurs at the beginning of a word (such as the word “re-do”) it’s called prefixation. If it occurs in the middle of a word (which is rare in English, except in slangy expletives like “fan-fucking-tastic" used especially in American English to intensify the word “fantastic”), it’s called in-fixation. If it occurs at the end of a word (such as the “ness” in “fastness” which became an acceptable synonym for “speed” only recently, or the “er” forms in words like “driver,” “teacher,” etc) it’s called suffixation. I like to call this “forward-formation.”


Back-formation and affixation are core instruments for the lexical enrichment of languages, especially of the English language. The trouble with most of the Nigerian English back-formations and affixations that I identify below is that they are not entirely new morphological formations; they are rather the infusion of new meanings into already existing formations. So rather than being lexical back-formations and affixations, they are what I call semantic back-formations and affixations.


1“Vacate.” This is a popular word used in educational institutions in Nigeria to mean "take a long, formal break from school." It is a back-formation from “vacation,” the American English word for what British speakers call holiday. (In British English, vacation is only used to indicate the formal, temporary closure of universities and courts of law, not primary or secondary schools).

Many native speakers of the English language will find the Nigerian semantic extension of “vacate” strange, even incomprehensible. In standard British and American English, vacate usually means one of three things: to leave a job, post, position, etc voluntarily, that is, to resign (as in: he vacated the job when he got a better offer elsewhere); to abandon, to leave behind empty, or to move (as in: “You must vacate this house by tomorrow”); to rescind, to reverse, to cancel officially (as in: “the president vacated the death sentence on the political prisoner”).


2. “Opportuned.” This is the only original back-formation I can think of in Nigerian English. We use this expression as a lexical substitute for “have the opportunity,” or where “privileged” would be preferred in British and American English, as in: “I’m opportuned to serve my people as a senator.”

“Opportuned” is clearly a Nigerian English back-formation from “opportunity.” But it is entirely absent in the standard varieties of British and American English. There is, of course, such a word as “opportune” in Standard English, which is an adjective (NOT a verb) meaning “timely” or “well-timed” (as in: his opportune arrival saved the girl from drowning) or favorable/right (as in: an opportune place cultivate yams).


3. “Barb.” This is a verb in Nigerian English. It is used to denote cutting or shaving men’s hair, as in: “I went to the barbing saloon to barb my hair.” In no other variety of English is the word used in this sense. Related Nigerian English formations are “barbing” and “barbing saloon.” They are all clearly extracted or extended from “barber.”

In Standard English, “barb” is chiefly used as a noun to denote a metal arrow or hook that is curved backwards, among other meanings. It is also used figuratively to connote an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect, as in: “his parting barb was ‘drop dead, bastard!’”

In American English, however, it is usual for “barber” to be used as a verb to mean “cut the hair and/or beard of,” as in “He barbers the president” and to mean "work as a barber" (as in: he barbers for a living).

 4. “Confusionist.” Nigerians use this word to refer to someone who causes confusion. It is a suffixation derived from confusion. I have never encountered this word in either British or American English, except as an alternative spelling for Confucianist, i.e., a follower of Confucianism. Its formation is evidently inspired by such models as “alarmist” from alarm, “conformist” from conform, “terrorist” from terror, etc.

 5. “Convocate.” This word, which emerged from a misrecognition of “convoke” (that is, to formally call together) is often used in Nigerian English as a back-formation from convocation, that is, the official ceremony at which university degrees are awarded. It’s customary for recent graduates from Nigerian universities to say something like, “our school convocated last Saturday.” But "convocate" does not exist as a word in any other variety of English. 


6. “Chanced.” This word is often used as a synonym for “privileged” or, if you like, “opportuned,” as in: “I was not chanced to see him yesterday.” But, in British and American English, when “chance” is used as a verb, it usually either means taking a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome (as in: "When you buy these stocks you are chancing") or coming upon something by accident (as in: "She chanced upon an interesting book in the bookstore the other day").

 7. “Followership.” A language columnist in a Nigerian newspaper once identified this “forward-formation” from “follow,” formed by analogy to “leadership,” as uniquely Nigerian. This isn’t entirely correct. The word also appears in many native-speaker environments. Although British grammarians frown at this word and prefer “followers” or “following” in its stead, the Random House Dictionary says “followership” has been present in American English since at least 1930.

 8. "Overspeed." This means excessive speeding in Nigerian English. This usage is also present in Indian and Pakistani English. But in contemporary American and British English, overspeed is an engineering jargon that denotes "a condition in which an engine is allowed or forced to turn beyond its design limit." It does not mean "speeding," the preferred word in American and British English for what we call "overspeeding" in Nigerian English.

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