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Urban linguistics in Nigeria: A Case of Language Use in Lagos Metropolis

Author(s): Harrison Adeniyi | Rachael Bello

Journal: Iranian Journal of Language Studies
ISSN 1735-7047

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 119;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: Urban Linguistics | Nigeria | Lagos University

The rate at which languages come into contact these days informs this research. In time past, the study of languages in contact are linked with situations that arise from war, colonization and or conquest. Today, however, languages come in contact to be alive or keep their users alive. Lagos, for instance, being a commercial neutral ground as conceived by some, does not only provide comfort for residents but also allows for growth, linguistic growth, inclusive. Lagos was the former capital of Nigeria and the state, being one of the thirty-six states in the country, although some Nigerians refer to it as ‘no man’s land’. In this paper, we examine how true it is to claim that Lagos belongs to nobody given the speech group in particular. To do this, we investigate the use of Yoruba in a number of domains to see whether or not it justifies the inclusion of Lagos as one of the Yoruba speaking cities. Some of the domains examined are homes, offices/companies, religious functions, in education (schools) and in radio and television. This paper is the outcome of a study that has been on for close to three years running. The major methodology adopted is participatory observation. Other methods used include the administration of questionnaires and the interview. The work is anchored on community practice. Our findings show that other speech communities other than the Yoruba community try to create a place for themselves in the state. In spite of this, however, our findings show that they do not only agitate to identify with the larger group, the Yoruba group, but are also expected by the mainstream, the Yoruba, to be Yoruba literate.
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