Nigerian Pidgin

With over 75 million speakers, Nigerian Pidgin has become by far the most widely spoken and fastest growing language in Nigeria today. Nigerian Pidgin is the first language, or one of the first languages, learned by tens of millions of people across southern Nigeria and in urban areas throughout the entire country. For those who do not learn Nigerian Pidgin as one of their first languages, it is learned informally as a second language in one or a number of venues for interethnic contact, including marketplaces, workplaces, schools, universities, military and police barracks, etc. Many of those who learn Nigerian Pidgin as one of their first languages, as well as a considerable number of those who learn Nigerian Pidgin as a second language, eventually end up using it as their main language of day-to-day communication. Proficiency in Nigerian Pidgin ranges from the ‘deep’ varieties spoken by those who have learned it as their mother tongue for generations in Warri and Sapele, to varieties heavily influenced by other ancestral Nigerian languages spoken by those who have learned Nigerian Pidgin as a second language and who use it only for trading in the marketplace, to varieties heavily influenced by Standard English spoken by those who have learned Nigerian Pidgin as a second language and who use it only with classmates at university, etc. Unless otherwise specified, the lect of Nigerian Pidgin utilized for the descriptions and examples of features, lexical items, and constructions provided in this work (default lect) is that used by the millions of people who have learned Nigerian Pidgin as a first language and who use it as one of their main languages of daily communication in the metropolitan area of the city of Port Harcourt at the mouth of the delta of the Niger River in the southeast of Nigeria.

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No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

labialized voiceless velar plosive - Exists (as a major allophone)
mbprenasalized voiced bilabial plosive - Exists only as a minor allophone

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source