This paper attempts to argue that Nigerian Pidgin is a fully developed language with its own rich lexico-semantics and syntax, which have evolved like any other language through contact and modification. It argues that the semantic and lexical veracity of Nigerian Pidgin cannot be vitiated in spite of its serious marginalization.This position is established based on the outcome of an empirical study carried out on the perception, use and attitudes towards Nigerian Pidgin in formal and informal settings. The data and analysis presented in this paper are based on samples of spontaneous speech collected in a formal setting, like school, and in informal settings such as market, church and private homes. The paper points out that Nigerian Pidgin is not an inferior language, nor a plague-ridden linguistic system, when compared to other well-described languages of the world. Rather, it is a second language that reflects productivity, simplicity, acceptability and understanding among Nigerians. Though highly marginalized, Nigerian Pidgin is actually a lingua franca because it is a variety that serves broad spectrum of Nigerian inhabitants, whose divergence transcends ethnic, religious and class boundaries. Given the crucial inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic communicative functions of Nigerian Pidgin in various social strata of the people’s life, the paper concludes suggestively, that Nigerian Pidgin should be accorded official recognition.
Key words: Nigerian Pidgin, lexico-semantics.
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