WEST AFRICAN ENGLISH

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WEST AFRICAN ENGLISH, short forms WAfrE, WAE. English as used in West Africa the official language of NIGERIA, GHANA, SIERRA LEONE, GAMBIA, and CAMEROON. It is typically acquired as a second, third, or fourth language, and the line between English as used by a small élite and the more general WEST AFRICAN PIDGIN ENGLISH is difficult to draw. Speakers in the five countries generally understand each other well, but there are differences inside and between countries. WAE is non-rhotic, and /r/ is often trilled. Intonation is influenced by the tonal systems of West African languages, and because there is a tendency towards syllable-timing, the schwa in unstressed syllables is usually replaced by a full vowel, as in ‘stu-dent’ and ‘quiet-ness’ for student and quietness. The consonants /θ,ð/ are generally realized as /t, d/, three of these being pronounced ‘tree of dese’. Such words as gush and fur sound like gosh and for, and the vowel sounds of bake and toe are commonly the single vowels /e, o/, not diphthongs as in RP. Grammar is generally the same as standard BrE, but such constructions occur as a country where you have never been there and He is an important somebody. Regional vocabulary includes: loans from local languages, such as buka a food stand (from Hausa), and danfo a minibus (from Yoruba); compounds of English and vernacular words, such as akara ball a bean cake, and juju music a kind of music; loan translations and adaptations of local usages, such as bush meat game meat, and father and mother used for relatives, as in He is staying with his fathers (He is staying with relatives of his father); and local extensions of general English words, such as corner a curve in a road, go slow a traffic jam, to wet plants to water plants. See AFRICAN ENGLISH, AFRICAN LANGUAGES, CARIBBEAN ENGLISH, LIBERIA.

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WEST AFRICAN ENGLISH

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