A Professor of English, Professor Godwin Emezue has advocated for the use of communicative English among Nigerian users of English language.
Professor Emezue made the advocacy while delivering the 55th inaugural lecture of Abia State University Uturu on the topic “ENGLISH? YES , BUT NOT QUITE: THE IGBO-ENGLISH BILINGUAL PARADIGM” held at the University Auditorium.
Prof. Emezue called for the acceptance of wrong use of English in terms of diction, in Nigeria, as long as communication is effective, saying that English is no longer the exclusive language to the native owners. His words “… the main essence of language is to communicate; to transfer meaning from one human mind to another mind. So, let me reiterate that I do not see these Nigerian usages as ‘bad English’, or errors, or mistakes. They are quite communicative.
Why should I tell someone to get me a dust pan instead of calling it a packer?”
The 55th inaugural Lecturer advised users of the Nigerian brand of English not to feel inferior while calling on Examination Bodies such as WAEC, NECO, JAMB, JUPEB not to treat choice of Nigerian words or expressions as incorrect.
He requested Chief Executives and Monarchs to use English in the mould Chinua Achebe did in his book “Things Fall Apart”, saying that “this will help accord respect and acceptability to our English.
Doing this will enhance the much needed ethno-cultural consciousness and enhance our patriotic zeal.”
According to him, no language comes in contact with another language and remains the same, hence, English is faced with contractions among Nigerian and Igbo users.
He explained that “we as native speakers of Igbo have the tendency to duplicate words for emphasis sake. It is our speech mannerism that does not do any harm to inter personal communication and co-operation.”
He , however, encouraged users of English in Nigeria to ensure meaning is achieved each time they speak English, even if it does not correspond with the manners of usage by the native owners of English.
Professor Emezue equally said research should be intensified for the appropriate codification and standardization of Nigerian English because of its importance in communication among the people and maintained that no language is inferior to another.
In his speech earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor ABSU, Professor Maxwell Ogbulu described the Inaugural lecture as historic as it is the first to take place after the lock down occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as the first to be hosted by him as a newly appointed Vice Chancellor.
He urged the public to always come to the University to acquire knowledge every third Wednesday of the month and congratulated the 55th Inaugural Lecturer, Professor Godwin Emezue on his lecture.
In a vote of thanks, the Dean, Faculty of Humanities , Professor Roseline Ndimele commended Professor Emezue for delivering a knowledge-filled lecture to join the College of distinguished Professors and thanked all who graced the occasion.
The Inaugural lecture attracted many dignitaries including the former Vice Chancellor of ABSU, Prof. Mkpa Agu Mkpa, Professors from many academic fields, members of the Clergy, Traditional Rulers, the Umuọkpara Community, Christian Organizations, Friends and Well-Wishers among others.