Oxford English Dictionary Adds 29 Nigerian Words in Latest Update

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In almost any country, there is jargon that is commonplace in conversations that anyone unfamiliar with the country often cannot relate to. As renowned writer Chimamanda Adichie puts it, her relationship with the English language, like many other Nigerians, is categorically shaped by her unique Nigerian experiences. This explains why Nigerian English is something we see Adichie embrace in her work and is the frame of thinking central to the latest update to the Oxford English Dictionary that sees the dictionary accept 28 new words as part of the English language.

Words like tokunboh, buka and bukateria, which feature on the list are dominantly coined from Nigerian languages, while some others like agric and guber are shortened forms of English words. Another category that features heavily are words like sef, gist and k-leg that are mainstays in pidgin.

Other words that have some history that make the list are danfo and okada which talk about transportation systems in Nigeria.

This update shows how much of an impact Nigeria has and is a testament to how important it is to embrace our experiences as opposed to selling them out and attempting to appeal to something that is foreign to us in how we speak, what we listen to and what we live altogether.

Read the Oxford English Dictionary’s update notes below.

Release notes: Nigerian English

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