LET us refresh our minds this New Year—lest we forget—by listing Nigerian words that were recently internationalized before returning to our didactic session. A total of 29 Nigerian words and expressions have been included in the latest January 2020 updates of Oxford English Dictionary. Some of the words included are: ‘Ember Month’, ‘Danfo’, ‘Non-indigene’, ‘Guber’, ‘Tokunbo’, ‘Mama Put’, ‘Kannywood’ and ‘Next Tomorrow’, among others. How I wish the late language activist, Pa Bayo Oguntunase, was alive to savour this unprecedented manifestation!

THE FULL LIST FOLLOWS: Agric, adj. and n.: “Of, relating to, or used in agriculture; = agricultural adj. Now chiefly West African”

Barbing salon, n.: “A barber’s shop.”

Buka, n.: “A roadside restaurant or street stall with a seating area, selling cooked food at low prices. Cf. bukateria n., mama put n. frequently used as a modifier…”

Bukateria, n.: “A roadside restaurant or street stall with a seating area, selling cooked food at low prices. Cf. buka n., mama put n.”

Chop, v.6, Additions: “transitive. Ghanaian English and Nigerian English. To acquire (money) quickly and easily. Frequently in negative sense: to misappropriate, extort, or…”

Chop-chop, n.2: “Bribery and corruption in public life; misappropriation or embezzlement of funds. Also as a modifier.” Additions: “Now chiefly Nigerian English and East African. To eat money: to acquire money dishonestly; to misappropriate, extort, or embezzle funds. Cf. chop v.6…”

Danfo, n.: “A yellow minibus that carries passengers for a fare as part of an informal transport system in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Also as a…”

To eat money, in eat, v.,

Ember months, n.: “The final four months of the calendar year (September to December), esp. considered together as a period of heightened or intense activity.”

Flag-off, n.: “The moment at which a race, esp. a motor race, is flagged off (see flag v.4 additions a); the start of a race. Now chiefly Indian English and…”

Flag, v.4, Additions: “to flag off. Transitive (usually in passive). To direct (a driver) to start a motor race, esp. one in which the competitors start at intervals, by…”

Flag, v.4, Additions: “to flag off. Transitive. Indian English and Nigerian English. In extended use: to start (an event or undertaking).”

Gist, n.3, Additions: “Nigerian English. Idle chat, gossip. Also: an instance of this, a rumour or piece of gossip.”

Gist, v.2: “transitive. To reduce (a text, document, etc.) to its essence or gist; to condense, summarize, or précis.”

Guber, adj.: “Of or relating to a governor or governorship; = gubernatorial adj.”

Kannywood, n.: “The Nigerian Hausa-language film industry, based in Kano; Kano regarded as the centre of this industry. Cf. Nollywood n.”

K-leg, n.: “In singular and plural. A condition in which one or both of a person’s knees are turned inwards, resulting in a noticeable gap between the feet when…”

Mama put, n.: “A street vendor, typically a woman, selling cooked food at low prices from a handcart or stall. Also: a street stall or roadside restaurant run by…”

Related News

Next tomorrow, n. and adv.: “The day after tomorrow.”

BACK TO OUR LANGUAGE CLINIC: “The Dozzy Foundation on Health is yet another testament of (to) your selfless service to humanity.”

“The Foundation speaks volume (volumes) of your passion for the health and well being (well-being) of the downtrodden.”

“We pray that God in his (His) infinite goodness will grant you many more years and good health.”

“As we look forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it is good for us to focus in (on) areas we have competitive advantage.”

“For the fast-approaching Tokyo games, which would commence in (on) July 24, it is doubtful that our fate would be much different.”

“…both our male and female teams failed woefully (abysmally) to qualify….”

Finally, we take the last entry from the Editorial under review: “That is why smart nations do everything possible to maximize their potentials (potential or potentialities) in sports.” ‘Potential’ is uncountable, unlike ‘potentiality’

“…the Supreme Court put to rest every other discussions.” (Politics & Power, January 9) Either every other discussion or all other discussions, depending on context

Wrong: “people-oriented government” Poser: is there any government that is beast-oriented or object-oriented? All governments—bad and good—are people-oriented.

“Incorporating ESG principles into job-creating businesses ensure (ensures) sustainable business operations….”   

Some media professionals ignorantly use the phrase ‘armed bandits’ almost on a daily basis: “The Zamfara State Government’s effort towards finding lasting solution to armed banditry and cattle rustlings suffered a setback as…” The dictionary defines a bandit as “a member of an armed gang that robs people”. It means a bandit is usually armed; therefore the word “armed” to qualify him is out of place. On the contrary, a robber is someone who “takes property from a person or place illegally”. A robber may or may not bear arms. If he does, he is an armed robber liable to the death penalty upon conviction. As we can see, the distinction between a robber (armed or unarmed) and a bandit is clear.

The nation’s premier independent radio station, RayPower, reported in the business segment of its Nigeria Today newscast on Thursday, January 4, 2024, that the country “SLIDED into recession…” Its editors and correspondents, and indeed media professionals, should note that SLID is both the past tense and past participle of SLIDE. It is not in the same word class as GLIDE and GLIDED.

“Police arraign alleged fake lawyer in court” Where else would they have arraigned the buffoon? Yank away ‘in court’!

“2 jailed 4 years over (for) rape”

“The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your (our) children.”

“We rejoice with you on your 65 (65th) birthday….”

“Not only do we rejoice with the celebrant (celebrator) for partaking in abundant grace….”

“He will grant you strenght (strength), good health and wisdom.”

“…as you strive to contribute your quota in (to) building a more vibrant democracy for the benefit of our dear country.”

“With people (a person) like you working with our dear president and other patriotic Nigerians….”