Nigerian English Usage in Literature: A Sociolinguistic Study of Wole Soyinka’s The Beatification of Area Boy

God’sgift Ogban Uwen, Eno Grace Nta


This paper examined the imbalances created by social situations and captured in the English language usage by the characters in Wole Soyinka’s The beatification of area boy. The play, set in the busy city of Lagos, is a theatrical typification of the Nigerian society that creates variety differentiation in language use. The sociolinguistic data for the analysis were extracted from the primary text. The findings indicate that, in the play, Soyinka succinctly displays characters as linguistic pointers to showcase the peculiarities in Nigerian English usage that differentiate the linguistic behaviours of Nigerians from other Englishes. The study reveals the categorisation of the ‘spoken’ varieties into Nigerian Pidgin, Incipient bilingual, Local colour variety and the Nigerian literary variety. These features which manifest at the phonological, semantic, lexical, syntactic and pragmatic levels altogether combine to represent the typical linguistic situation in a non-native speaker environment. The linguistic variations, when juxtaposed with sociolinguistic variables, explicitly express the domestic adaptations and modifications in English language usage suggestive of the playwright’s representation of the Nigerian multilingual society.

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Copyright (c) 2021 God’sgift Ogba Uwen, Eno Grace Nta

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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