Aspects of variation in educated Nigerian Pidgin

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This paper presents quantitative analyses of variation in selected areas of the grammar of Nigerian Pidgin as spoken by educated speakers (who also have a good command of English, the lexifier): tense/aspect marking, copula forms and verbal negation. The background is the theory going back to work by DeCamp and Bickerton in the 1970s on Jamaica and Guyana, respectively, that a linguistic continuum inevitably develops in certain situations of contact between a pidgin/creole and its lexifier. The data presented here, however, do not indicate the existence of a pidgin-to-English continuum in Nigeria. This may be taken as evidence that the Caribbean creole continua have arisen due to specific sociohistorical circumstances and that such continua are not bound to develop elsewhere.


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