In all parts of the world, it is a usual thing to find pidgin language, it exist as a form of the language that develops as a less difficult means of communication and understanding between two or more groups of people who did not share a commonly understood language. Some scholars argue that since pidgins are second languages, they hold little respect in society, but in fact, they are a source of much humor and continue to serve an important function in communication, so its use and understanding is important especially as related to doing business.
Misspelling and pronunciations of words are not taken into account in pidgin; the message and meaning are crucial. Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa are the three major languages of Nigeria’s major ethnic groups and merging words from any of these with those from the Queen’s English creates the Nigerian Pidgin English spoken widely across the country. Its historic origins lie in the trading contact between the British and the local people in the 17th century.
Nigerian Pidgin English today also serves as a form of identity when speakers want to show they are Nigerians. Nigerian Pidgin English can express a belonging to Nigeria which English, the language of the ex-colonial power, cannot. It’s also a comical language and tends to be spoken with spirit, emotion and a lot of gesticulations.
Here are some of the most useful words and phrases that you may encounter when doing business in Nigeria:
abeg – please.
abeg comot for here – please leave, get out of here.
abeg go seat down – Excuse me
abeg carry first – Lead the way
Djebutter, omo butti – someone born with a silver spoon in the mouth.
(the opposite is an adjepkako)
allow him-give him a break.
alaye – a street urchin.
amebo – a busybody, a nosey person, a gossip.
ashewo/ ashi/ Olosho – a prostitute.
asko – talk to the hand. (when saying this, it is important to either shrug a shoulder or raise your palm up facing out and putting it in the other person’s face.)
Agbero/ Area boy
bad belle – full of envy and malice
bifor-bifor – a long time ago
bloody – amazing, out of this world, fantastic.
body de scratch me– I am eager to do something.
body de kampe or body de inside cloth – I’m fine or (literally translated) ‘My body is inside my cloth.’
Belgium – fairly use item, second hand
bran new – Brand New
can you hear the smell? – can you smell the aroma?
can you imagine……..?! – wonders shall never cease!
carry go – Just go on, go ahead (to dismiss someone)
charge – to lose one’s temper
coro – ghetto
chasis – something cool, beautiful, really nice.
come, come….what’s all these nonsense? –what’s going on here?
correct- perfect, spot on.
chop more – eat more
dashing – giving away something or money (a ‘dash’ is a gift or bribe)
dem no get craz/ dem never jam– they can’t do anything, I’m crazier than them
don’t try me o – don’t piss me off.
dundi, su-e-gbe, egbe, mumu, olodo, clown – fool
E don happen! – its happened!
effico – very studious, brilliant
efficy – flaunt.
baba – Father
mama – Mother.
egunje – bribe.
face ya front – look forward.
fashi! – forget it
fear catch me – I was scared.
flexing – enjoyment
free me – Let me be
galloping – potholes
God don butta my bread – God has answered my prayer.
Godwin – God is the winner
how body? – How is your body?
how far? – what’s up?
If I sound you enh – If I slapyou…
i don hammer – I had made it
I go burst you head o – I’ll break your head.
I go deshiu – I’ll put you to shame
ITK (I too know) –someone who acts like they know everything, a mister know-it-all.
I trekked all the way here – I walked down here.
I want to drink cold mineral – I want cold soft drink.
I dey hail – I am send a shout out.
Jazz – Diabolic power
JJC (Johnny Just Come) – a newcomer, first arrival of a person/ fresher, especially a Nigerian coming after a long absence – someone who’s not streetwise or has no clue of what’s hip happening,
jolly!!! – enjoy!!!
juss dey patch am – managing to survive
kwench that breeze – turn off the fan or air-conditioning.
kolomental – Crazy.
low waist – underwear
lie lie – lair
migrate from here!! – get outta here!!
mo gbo mo branch – an uninvited guest or gate crasher
Mumu – a dimwit or slow person
mugu/ maga – a fool, a victim of ‘Yahoo-Yahoo’
Na you sabi – Its left for you, your choice
Na wa oooo! – it’s unbelievable!
next tomorrow – the day after tomorrow
NFA (No Future Ambition) – Someone who has no goals or aspirations in life.
Nna, you don chop? – have you eaten?
no attempt! – don’t ever think about it!
no be sooo? Isnt it so/
no wahala – No problems (like saying, no palaver).
Nna En !!!– Wow.
no time – hasten up, there not enough time left, be wise/smart.
no long thing – nothing much to it.
nothing dey pa/nothing de para/nothing dey happen/nothing mega – nothing is happening.
open ya sense – use your brain or intelligence.
otondo – fool, a doll person.
Oboy!!! – boy
opkeake – bitch.
O.Y.O (On Your Own) – Any way you choose
on my head – on my bill.
Park well – Calm Down
pepper – trouble
pepper don reach – I am alright financially
poor sand for my gari/ spoil my show – don’t hinder me, don’t be a cog in the wheel or a bottle neck.
play me the tape – tell me the story…
pkalava – Trouble
Richard Langer – someone who times their visits to your house to concise with meal times
roger – give me mostly in the context of of a bribe
see me see trouble! – see the trouble I’ve seen!
shake bodi! – Take action, do something necessary!
she don get belle – she’s pregnant.
Sharp – Sharp – Quickly, Fast
shine ya eye – Be at alert, be on the look out
stand well-well – watch out for an ambush.
swaga – pose in style, flaunt.
taxed – i.e. ‘I got taxed’- when someone begs or asks for money and you feel obliged to pay up – however reluctantly.
that’s so dry! – That’s so boring!
turkey – gist, talk.
tidy, chuck, kerewa, chawa – offensive; to have sex
use your number six? –use your head, where’s your head?
waka about – someone who is always on the road
wan wan – one each
we go was am o! – We must celebrate!
wetin dey! – what’s up!
where ím dey – where is he/she?
where’s the toilet, I want to piss – I need to go to the men’s room/I need to powder my nose.
Who e help – Of what relevance
yawa don gas o! – there’s trouble
you cant do more than a dead rat – you are powerful as a dead rat.
you dey yan okpata – you’re talking rubbish.
your head no correct – your are crazy.
you’re CNN – you know too much, you are full of information.
you’re MI5 – you know too much.
you to like awoof – you like freebies too much.
Yahoozee – a very popular type of Nigerian originated dance
Yahoo-Yahoo – money made fraudulently from internet scams
you no get head/ you no get sense/ you no get brain – you are stupid.
yori yori– brand new,
yawa – trouble, problem.