"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: My Book on Nigerian English is Finally Out!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Book on Nigerian English is Finally Out!

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi


Hundreds of readers who appreciate the insights I share weekly on this page have, for years, prodded me to write a book on Nigerian English and its place in the pantheon of the world’s “Englishes.” I listened. For three years, I edited, rewrote, and expanded several articles that first appeared here into a book.

Titled GlocalEnglish: The Changing  Face and Forms  of Nigerian English in a Global World, the new book appeared in Peter Lang’s Berkeley Insights in Linguistics and Semiotics, which is edited by Professor Irmengard Rauch, an 82-year-old University of California, Berkeley professor who is one of the world’s most celebrated linguists and semioticians.

After writing the book, the next challenge was finding a suitable publisher. Should I publish it in Nigeria, which would make it easily accessible to Nigerians? Or should I publish it in the United States, which would limit its access in Nigeria but would ensure that it is of high quality—and that it benefits my career growth? With a lot of reluctance, I chose the latter. What informed my choice?
 As many readers of this column know, I am a university teacher at an American university. If I must get credit for my hard work, I have to be published by a reputable academic publisher (in America). That means I must publish the book with an academic publisher that will send my manuscript first to an internal board of expert reviewers and later to at least three experts in the (American) academe who must critique and approve it before a decision about publication can be made. (In American academe, you don’t get credit for self-publishing or for publishing with vanity presses).

Since the death of Longman Nigeria, there have been no academic publishers in Nigeria worth the name. There are only mercantile printers who fancy themselves as publishers. So I practically had no option but to publish my book in America.

My manuscript was submitted to and accepted by Peter Lang Publishing Inc., a well-known international academic publisher with offices in New York, Bern, Brussels, Frankfurt, Oxford, Vienna, and Warsaw. The book was officially released in June this year and sells in all major American bookstores. Unfortunately, my publisher has no representative in Nigeria.

And this strikes at the core of the knotty, abiding contradictions of the scholarly production of Third World intellectuals located in the West. We produce knowledge about our home countries in Western centers of learning. Our scholarly output then enjoys high social and symbolic capital because it is vetted and circulated in the West, but the people about and for whom the scholarship is done have only marginal or no access to it. This is personally distressing to me, but I am helpless.

The good news, though, is that the book can be bought on Amazon.com by following this link:  I have confirmed that Amazon accepts Nigerian debit cards and ships to Nigerian addresses. It costs $81 on Amazon, $89 on Peter Lang’s website, and $81 on Barns & Noble. A Nigerian banker friend has this advice for people who want to purchase the book from American online bookstores using their debit cards: “You need to request debit card concession from your bank to use most banks' debit card on the web. So if you have challenges in using the card on the web, contact your bank for advice.”

I admit that the book is rather pricey and beyond the reach of the average Nigerian, especially with the continuing free fall of the naira against the dollar. Again, while this really and truly saddens me, I can’t do anything about it. The publisher alone fixes the price based on the cost they incurred in the production of the book. My sense is that the book is that expensive because it is a hardcover edition that is targeted primarily at institutional libraries.

My acquisition editor assured me that after the first 500 copies of the book are sold, Peter Lang would consider publishing a paperback edition, which would be much cheaper than the hardcover edition. So my advice is that people who can’t afford the hardcover should encourage their libraries to buy it—if they have libraries.

Please see below the synopsis and reviews of the book taken straight from Peter Lang’s website and from the back and inside covers of the book:

Book synopsis
Glocal English compares the usage patterns and stylistic conventions of the world’s two dominant native varieties of English (British and American English) with Nigerian English, which ranks as the English world’s fastest-growing non-native variety courtesy of the unrelenting ubiquity of the Nigerian (English-language) movie industry in Africa and the Black Atlantic Diaspora. Using contemporary examples from the mass media and the author’s rich experiential data, the book isolates the peculiar structural, grammatical, and stylistic characteristics of Nigerian English and shows its similarities as well as its often humorous differences with British and American English. Although Nigerian English forms the backdrop of the book, it will benefit teachers of English as a second or foreign language across the world. Similarly, because it presents complex grammatical concepts in a lucid, personal narrative style, it is useful both to a general and a specialist audience, including people who study anthropology and globalization. The true-life experiential encounters that the book uses to instantiate the differences and similarities between Nigerian English and native varieties of English will make it valuable as an empirical data mine for disciplines that investigate the movement and diffusion of linguistic codes across the bounds of nations and states in the age of globalization.

About the author(s)/editor(s)
Farooq A. Kperogi is Assistant Professor of Journalism in the Department of Communication at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. A former Nigerian newspaper journalist, he received his PhD in communication from Georgia State University, Atlanta, his MS in communication from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and his BA in mass communication from Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria. During his doctoral studies, he won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. He also won the Outstanding Master’s Student in Communication Award at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the Nigerian Television Authority Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Mass Communication at Bayero University, Kano. He is published widely and blogs at www.farooqkperogi.com.

Reviews
«What is wonderful about Professor Kperogi’s book is its erudition, its no-nonsense approach, and its familiar language. In other words, the reader is in for a treat…. [F]or many of us who thought we knew what ‘English’ meant, reading this book will teach us not only how language works and how English has changed, but about its speakers in Nigeria, their world, and the world of how they talk to each other. The British and American reader should emerge somewhat humbled by this process, and the Nigerian reader perhaps very satisfied over what marvels have been created in his or her own homeland. »
(Extract from the Foreword by Kenneth Harrow, Distinguished Professor of English, Michigan State University, United States)

«This delightful book by Farooq A. Kperogi gives a comprehensive overview of the peculiarities of the meaning and usage of words and phrases in Nigerian English. It contains numerous examples and demonstrates through comparisons with American and British English how the Nigerian variety of English has developed its own distinct vocabulary and rules of usage. Moreover, it traces general mechanisms of change in meaning and usage in these three varieties of English. Written in a highly accessible style that is at the same time entertaining and instructive, this book is a very enjoyable read for both scholars and non-linguists interested in Nigerian English and varieties of English as a whole.»
(Ulrike Gut, Professor and Chair for English Linguistics, University of M√ľnster, Germany)


«Glocal English is a brilliant and provocative exploration of several intriguing dimensions in the grammar of Nigerian English, one of the ‘Englishes’ fathered by British English. This new English is struggling against many unavoidable odds and influences to secure its legitimacy and respect, uncertain whether to disown the norms of an uncomfortable parent and of ‘caregivers,’ but willing to be (mis)understood in the global centres of English language use. Farooq A. Kperogi provides deep and admirable insights into the slippery borders separating usage from abusage and errors of construction from terrors of construction. The book, which has emerged from his famous ‘Politics of Grammar’ column, is a restless hound that must keep an eye on the game. It is impossible to ignore this book in both popular and intellectual discourses on the changing colours of English. It is highly recommended for courses in world Englishes, particularly Nigerian English.»
(Obododimma Oha, Professor of Cultural Semiotics and Stylistics, Department of English, University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
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