Izon Influences in Nigerian English Syntax

Uriel Okunrinmeta


This study explores Izon influences in Nigerian English syntax, tests their acceptability in terms of appropriateness, grammaticality, intelligibility and widespread usage among educated speakers in the Izon (Nigerian) setting and uses this as a basis to make a distinction between the influences that are permanent and those that are temporary. The study data, collected from 150 Izon-English bilinguals through observation and structured interview, were derived from examination scripts, recorded informal discussions and a 40-item questionnaire, among others. The study reveals that Nigerian English syntax manifests some fascinating Izon influences, especially in terms of the pluralization of non-count nouns, the occurrence of the first person before the third person in a compound subject-NP, the omission of “a”/“an” before singular count nouns and before “little” and “few”, and the co-occurrence of possessive and demonstrative determiners, among several others presented as features 1–7. The study concludes that those influences presented as features 1, 2 and 3 whose average percentage of acceptability is above 50% are, because of their appropriateness, grammaticality, intelligibility and widespread usage among educated speakers in the Nigerian setting, permanent influences since their manifestation is seen even in the English of the most educated Nigerian English speaker in spite of his/her high level of exposure. However, those presented as features 4, 5, 6 and 7 whose average percentage of acceptability is less than 50% are temporary because their manifestation in the English of Nigerians decreases or totally disappears as their level of exposure to good English usage increases.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/ells.v3n2p30


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