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Nigerian Words Mama Put, Okada, Danfo, Etc Added To Oxford Dictionary

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Nigerian Words Mama Put, Okada, Danfo, Etc Added To Oxford Dictionary

Nigerian Words Mama Put, Okada, Danfo, Etc Added To Oxford Dictionary
Danfo is one of the new Nigerian words Oxford has added to its dictionary

In a very welcome development, Oxford English Dictionary has added 29 Nigerian words and expressions in the January updates to the dictionary.

“The majority of these new additions are either borrowings from Nigerian languages, or unique Nigerian coinages that have only begun to be used in English in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s,” OED’s World English editor Danica Salazar said in a statement.

‘Next tomorrow,’ is one of the new entries into the dictionary. The expression is regarded as the oldest among the over 25 uniquely Nigerian words/expressions. According to Salazar, ‘next tomorrrow’ was first used in written English as a noun in 1953, and as an adverb in 1964.

‘He could have given you reduced rent in one of his properties, even a free flat sef.’

Nigerian Pidgin is another rich source of new words for Nigerian English, the dictionary writes. ‘Sef,’ first evidenced in Nigerian author Ben Okri’s novel Flowers and Shadows, published in 1980, is an adverb borrowed from Pidgin, which itself could have been an adverbial use of either the English adjective safe or the pronoun self. It is an emphatic marker added to the end of statements or rhetorical questions, often to express irritation or impatience, as in this quotation from Adichie’s 2013 novel Americanah:

‘He could have given you reduced rent in one of his properties, even a free flat sef.’

Danfo  is another interesting word that has been added to the Oxford dictionary. The word, a borrowing from Yoruba whose earliest use in written English is dated 1973, denotes those yellow minibuses whizzing paying passengers through the busy streets of Lagos, the country’s largest city. Okadaon the other hand, is first attested twenty years later, and is the term for a motorcycle that passengers can use as a taxi service. It is a reference to Okada Air, an airline that operated in Nigeria from 1983 to 1997, and its reputation as a fast yet potentially dangerous form of transport, just like the motorcycle taxi.

Kannywood, which refers to the film industry in northern Nigeria, is deemed the youngest among the lot.

Others such as ‘buka,’ ‘bukateria’ and ‘severally’ also made the dictionary.

The full list of the new entries is below:

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