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The study investigates the effects of Pidgin English on students’ capacity to learn English in Nigerian secondary schools. The focus is on three secondary schools in the state of Lagos.

Despite its importance, Pidgin English has had a negative impact on the use of the English language. Many times, a student would rather express himself/herself in Pidgin English than go through the rigours of speaking simple correct English.

They sometimes use it interchangeably, resulting in grammatical structures and non-standard English. When pupils turn to any of the aforementioned issues, the importance of English language instruction is undermined. Based on this dilemma, this research seeks to identify the variables responsible for the problem and propose a viable solution.

This research also seeks to determine the impact of Pidgin English on students’ capacity to learn English. As previously stated, the technique of findings in this essay involves randomly selected secondary schools in the Shasha area of Lagos state.

The sociological approach is used to investigate the society and environment in which it is utilised, as well as the role of Pidgin English and the English language in Nigerian society.

This essay aims to investigate the negative impact of Pidgin English on students’ English language learning abilities as a result of their surroundings and ethnic disparities.

During the course of this research, it was discovered that the majority of students are unable to construct clear, error-free sentences; some are unable to communicate in English unless they are allowed to express themselves in Pidgin English.

The situation is dire, and the tendency is negative, as it sets a bad precedent for university education and calls into doubt the legitimacy of prospective graduates. This also explains the high rate of failure in English language examinations in SSCE and NECO every year.

If I may paraphrase one of the top examiners’ comments on the overall result of the 2007 senior secondary schools English language examination, he stated, “contrary to expectation, the candidates’ performance was awfully poor.”

Some candidates received zero marks for the entire paper because they failed to write an answer that could earn a single mark in any section of the paper.

A large number of schools appear to have registered illiterate and unqualified students for this test.”



Many theories about the origin of language have been proposed over the years. In one of the more enduring theories about the origin of language, Jespersen (1921) proposed that human language evolved while humans were having fun. However, it is only a guess.

We just do not know how language came to be. However, Yule (1985 1-4) argued that the origin of language could be divine. According to one viewpoint, God created Adam, and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name of that creature (Genesis 2:9).

Language, according to Hindu belief, originates from the goddess Sarasvati, wife of Brahma, the creator of the cosmos. A few studies have been conducted in an attempt to rediscover this original divine language, with somewhat inconsistent results.

The concept of “:natural sounds” was also perceived as the natural sound. The hypothesis is that primitive words were imitations of natural sounds that early men and women heard around them. When a flying object made a CAWCAW sound, early people copied it and used it to refer to the object linked with the sound.

In addition, one theory for the genesis of language sounds proposes a relationship between physical gesture and orally produced sounds. It appears plausible that physical gestures involving the entire body could have been used to convey a wide range of emotional states and intents.

The term gloss genetics refers to a distinct level of inquiry on the origins of human speech. This focuses mostly on the biological foundations of human language genesis and development.

Although the origin of language is insignificant, it is one of the major distinguishing factors between man and animal because it serves as the foundation for communication, which is essentially a human characteristic.

Effective communication is spoken of when a vast language has been well-conceived and communicated, but of course understandable by the recipient, who then decodes and sends feedback. It is important to highlight that there are various languages in the globe, each having its own dialect and variety issues.

The arrival of the colonial master in African apparently signalled the beginning of the usage of the English language in the sub-regions of West Africa. In other words, her former colonial overlords brought English, which is also Nigeria’s national language, to Africa.

Nigeria is a bilingual country, which I believe is one of the reasons why English is recognised as the official language. Because the majority of Nigerians are illiterate or semi-illiterate, using English as the official language posed a significant challenge.

As a result, variations of the English language emerged, including Pidgin English, sometimes known as Nigerian English.

Adedoyin (1999. 40) believes that Pidgin English evolved from contact English (ce). He regards it as the first variant of Nigerian English. He emphasised that when two people come into touch, the need for communication necessitates the development of a language of communication.

A type of inter-language that is a hybrid of the two languages in contact. He emphasised that Nigeria Pidgin English is a variant that is quite strong among both the less educated and the educated.

As a result, Pidgin English is described as a language variant utilised in an inter-ethnic situation.

Pidgin is defined by the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary as “any of several languages resulting from contact between European traders and local people, for example, in West Africa and the far east, containing elements of the local language(s) and French or Dutch, and still used for internal communication.”

According to Yule (1996. 223-234), it is a type of language that was formed for practical objectives, such as trading among groups of people who had a lot of interaction but did not know each other’s language.

According to Opara (1999.52), pidgin English evolved in Nigeria as a commerce language composed of a foreign language and a local language. It also arose from the need for communication among Nigerians living in towns and cities from many ethnic groups who did not share a common language.

According to Spencer (1971), intertribal marriages led to the development of Nigerian pidgin English. The significance of Pidgin English in Nigeria cannot be overstated.

Despite the fact that this variant of English crosses organisations, establishments, and society, it remains Nigeria’s unofficial lingua franca. It is the most effective way of communication between illiterate servants of learned masters, market women, and a variety of other groups of people.

The numerous ways in which the Nigerian corporate world and media employ Pidgin English demonstrate its popularity. Aside from using pidgin English for advertisements on radio and television, some billboards use pidgin English to communicate with their readers.

For example, Ken Saro Wiwa (1985) employed pidgin English in his work Sozaboy (1965). The Palm Wine Drinkard, also by Amos Tutuola, is written in Pidgin English.

Soyinka (1964.65) employed pidgin English to emphasise the socioeconomic realities of Nigeria in his works, The Trial of Brother Jero and The Road, respectively. In most of his early works, the proportion of pidgin against English appears to increase in favour of the former, with the degree of informality of its speakers particularly notable.

Despite the fact that pidgin English is important in Nigeria, it has certain negative consequences on children’s English language learning. They, too, learn this language at a young age. They may learn it from their parents or from their surroundings.

As a result, they bring the language to school, making it harder for them to acquire the right language. Several families who live in the same compound or geographical area may not understand each other’s language; Pidgin becomes a convenient means of communication among them.

Children growing up in such areas speak Pidgin English and do not do anything wrong with it.

Pidgin English is the most commonly used language in schools, particularly in southern Nigeria, where many ethnic groups coexist in places such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, and other urban areas. Because they learned Pidgin at a young age, children from such settlements find it difficult to use correct or proper English in school.

Analysts have voiced concern about its continued use against this backdrop. They argue that kids who speak Nigerian Pidgin English risk losing fluency in standard English because English is not only Nigeria’s official language but also a globally renowned medium of communication in the modern world.

As a result, the researcher has set out to explore the following:

Whether the use of pidgin English affects students’ English language learning.
The impact of pidgin English on the use of the English language
The human brain’s function in language acquisition.
It will investigate the history of Pidgin English, particularly how it became so popular, as well as the importance of first language (LI) in the acquisition of other languages. These will be discussed with the previously mentioned secondary school.


It is getting increasingly difficult to determine whether a certain pupil actually went to school or was well educated in the fundamentals of English. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that the majority of kids are unable to construct simple, straightforward, and error-free phrases in English.

This has been ascribed to pupils’ frequent usage of pidgin in communication at home, school, and in their neighbourhood, either through code switching or code mixing.

Despite the fact that Pidgin English is growing increasingly popular as a language, English remains the only official language of communication in Nigeria.

As a result, when youngsters first learn Pidgin English, it causes them problems later in life. They will struggle to distinguish between pidgin and Standard English in both spoken and written form.

Again, the use of pidgin hampered proper communication in the sense that children in a country like ours have limited language as a means of communication. When a child arrives at school, he or she cannot comprehend the teacher since the only language he or she understands is pidgin English.

1.2 AIM

The purpose of this research is to determine the impact of pidgin English on students’ language learning abilities.


The purpose of this research is to determine the effects of Pidgin English on students’ learning abilities in English, their performance in English, and possible solutions to this problem.


The outcomes of this study are likely to assist students and teachers, the government, parents, authors, and publishers of English textbooks. The study will benefit students because they will realise that pidgin has some limits. They cannot, for example, use pidgin to write internal examinations.

They cannot communicate their views using pidgin in the presence of sophisticated individuals. This study will assist them in beginning to use English in order to become fluent in it while also meeting their academic requirements. This study will benefit instructors by encouraging them to utilise basic and proper English in their classrooms rather than Pidgin English.

This study will also aid the school administration board since it will help them understand the causes of failure in English in senior school certificate examinations and other unified English examinations. Authors of textbooks at all levels of education are among those who benefit.

This research will help them realise that utilising pidgin English to communicate themselves will not help them construct the students they are attempting to build.


This section of the paper discusses the methodology that the researcher will use. Using surveys, the work will sample the opinions of students from the previously stated schools.


Sixty surveys will be delivered to the schools being studied. The questionnaire items are appropriately prepared to accomplish the work’s stated goals. The surveys will be distributed at random to pupils and collected for computing and analysis.


Does the use of Pidgin as a code-switching tool affect fluency in the English language?
Is Pidgin use associated with improved English comprehension?
Does the mother tongue influence subsequent language acquisition or help students broaden their horizons for future language acquisition?
Is Pidgin affecting students’ English reading ability?
Is Pidgin affecting students’ English writing skills?
Is Pidgin affecting students’ English listening skills?
Is the attitude of students in the ss1 class different from that of students in the ss3 class towards the use of English?
Can a student’s subject choice influence their attitude towards the use of Pidgin English?


The study was limited to three schools in the Shasha district of Lagos state. The reason for this is that the researcher has taught and continues to teach in some of the schools in the study areas and has discovered that most students express themselves primarily in Pidgin English, despite the efforts made by most teachers to improve their performance in the English language. The schools under consideration are:

Obtain Admission to Universal College
Pacific Comprehensive University
High School of the State


The following terms are defined in this section based on their context usage:

Pidgin English is an informal language used by persons from many ethnic groups who already speak their mother tongue before learning English.

Nigeria English (NE): This refers to the variant of world English spoken by Nigerians, with Nigerian idiosyncrasies and worldviews fully portrayed.

Standard English: this is the British language that is widely acknowledged and used as an official language in Nigeria.

Mother tongue: the first language that a person learns to speak before learning any other language. It is also referred to as first language. (LI)

British English is the variation of English used and spoken in the United Kingdom.

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