Pidgin english dictionary

Nigeria 's Complex Ethnic Geography

The latest, available list, of Nigerian languages by Keir Hansford, and others, published in Studies in Nigerian Languages, no: 5 of 1976, lists 394 languages and over one hundred dialects. But in the list published in Savannah of December 1976, they only listed 125 dialects of some of these languages. They list eight languages, which are said to be extinct. But, it is clear from a more recent work, The Niger-Congo Languages, edited by John-Bendor Samuel, and published in 1989, that a number of the languages listed, without indicating their dialects, have many dialects, meaning that the 125 is too small.

As the study of the Niger-Congo languages reveal, and as the listing of these 394 languages indicates, the diversity is not only immense, complex, but also multi-lateral and fluid. This is obscured for most of the Nigerian elite because of the prominence given to the written and standard forms of some of the major languages in religious evangelisation, in schools and in the print and electronic media.

The intermixing, and intermeshing of dialects, and of languages, which has gone on for millennia in this country, has made it obvious that any attempt to use ethnicity as a basis for political representation will not only be economically retrogressive, but also be a recipe for a complete political disaster. This is further confirmed by the pattern of settlement and of migration, which do not conform with the picture of Nigeria as being constituted by separate blocks of monolithic ethnic groups, each with its own language, identity, separate territory and its own leaders, and spokesmen.