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Readers' Reactions to My Language Articles

Re: 10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions Thanks so much. There are other annoying things that are obviously grammatically wro...

Re: 10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions

Thanks so much. There are other annoying things that are obviously grammatically wrong and yet, people kept of repeating them, for instance the phrase 'media practitioners.' For goodness sake, how can one practice media?
Jamilu Bukar, Nigeria

My Comment
"Media practitioner" is a perfectly legitimate and correct expression. The phrase is also widely used in British and American English. I am aware, of course, that some language columnists in Nigeria think it’s wrong. But they are incorrect. They are guilty of the grammatical offense of “hypercorrection,” that is, a grammatical mistake caused by a false analogy. There is, in fact, a book published last year by Allyn & Bacon, a well-regarded American publishing company, titled Applied Mass Communication Theory: A Guide for Media Practitioners.

These are even advanced errors. You should pay a visit to Sokoto media house someday.
Murtala Abdulrahman (

Thanks for this beautiful essay. I see it as an exposé on the lack of creativity within the Nigerian journalism culture. I also view it as a veritable sign of intellectual laziness and a hallmark of everything that is wrong with our country.

The sardonic [sic] urge to run before we can walk and the insatiable appetite for cutting corners such as the much touted Vision 2020 - a mere jargon created to present an image of purpose in government when the basic infrastructure or plan to achieve this is not even in place.

Our journalists aptly reflect all that is good and bad in the nation's psyche. Frankly, I take more pleasure in reading articles by 'non-journalists' on websites such as the Nigerian Village Square as opposed to those from news media such as Punch, ThisDay, Sun, Tribune or whatever!

Seriously, I have often found myself wondering if the writers ever passed English Language at GCE O' Level. And the Editors; what Editors?
Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

I have reason to believe that Nigerian journalist and their writing style are a reflection of our national psychology.

I will even go as far as calling it inferiority complex which has been beaten into us Nigerians, Africans and peoples of African descent.

We have had to apologize for our mere existence, our languages and our expressions.
Only yesterday I watched and heard again, the indomitable Fela Anikulapo Kuti on tape… discussing our national fixation in colonial ways, colonial mentality.

Fela told of how it was “illegal” or against the rule to speak any Nigerian language in Nigerian schools, as Nigerian languages were referred to as vernaculars

Which meant that the mark of sophistication is to speak English, perhaps in the most pretentious way?

Having said of all the above, the most frustrating term employed by Nigerian journalists, almost on a daily basis, is the pejorative “the colonial masters” instead of colonialists, colonial power, colonial powers, or political usurpers, or illegal foreign regime, or occupation forces, etc.

Why are Nigerian journalists in 2009 in love with “master” or the idea of referring to a former invader and occupier-usurper of economic/political/cultural/and linguistic independence, etc a “master?” Master of whom?

In my ear, it is as if Nigeria is a lady who was a rape victim, who forever refers to the rapist in endearing terms … something like the powerful rapist or the handsome rapist… or worse, the muscular or the energetic man who demanded sex from a stranger.

Nigerians should wonder why any rape victim would feel the need to refer to a rapist in affectionate term of endearment or blissful bond? Stockholm Syndrome?

America was once colonized by the British and I am yet to meet an American who refers to Britain as colonial "master" I am yet to meet an Indian or practically any other colonized peoples who refer to the colonizers as "master"

Talk about mindsets! The master race, as in superior race.
Paul Adujie, New York, USA

Re: “In Defense of “Flashing” and Other Nigerianisms”

The most exciting thing about language is how it changes and evolves. I laugh at people who want to preserve a "pure" English language or "pure" French, Spanish or any other language because it simply won't happen. People will invent words, misuse words until they have another meaning, or make words that once had positive meanings turn negative and vice versa. And that's how language evolves! Language is a tool for people to use to express themselves and communicate, not some rarefied concept that should be "preserved" in one concrete form.

For example, a friend of mine thought there should be a word for transferring the laundry between the washing machine and the dryer, so she calls it "flip flopping" the laundry. That hasn't caught on outside her house, but hey, for them, it works perfectly.

Thanks, Farooq. Your posts always make me think.
Cracker, Atlanta, USA

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this intelligent expose on the Nigerianisms we hear everyday. The phenomenon of telephonic "flashing" is threatening to become as indecent as the random exposure of one's private parts, as it is now so rampant and intrusive. People who should know better and can afford not to are joining the poor and downtrodden in shamelessly and discourteously passing the cost of their calls to others. Those on the receiving end are fighting back - perhaps we can even coin a new term, to “flashignore”!
Ronke Makinde

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