Ambassador Entwistle and Lolo 1 on Wazobia

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"Exclusive Interview at Wazobia FM 95.1FM With Lolo 1 and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria", 1/30/2014:

NPR's Weekend Edition covered this interview a couple of days ago: "U.S. Ambassador Speaks Pidgin English; Nigerians Love It", 3/15/2014.

Wazobia FM is the first Nigerian media outlet to broadcast in Pidgin English, also (according to Ethnologue) known as "Broken English, Brokin, Brokun, Nigerian Creole English, Nigerian Pidgin English", described as "A creole with native speakers; also a pidgin between Africans and Europeans, and Africans from different languages".

Ethnologue classifies it as one of five "Krio" languages of West Africa:

OLAC's list of resources doesn't have a lot of content to offer — the Wikipedia article actually does a better job,  even though many of the external links are dead. The live ones include a reference to the Pidgin English School on YouTube, and a draft of Roger Blench's Dictionary of Nigerian English.



  1. Coby Lubliner said,

    March 18, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

    While the ambassador obviously understands the Creole spoken by the interviewer (though much of it seemed to me, who doesn't know Creole, to be just Nigerian-accented English), I didn't hear him speak anything but normal North American English. Where did NPR get the idea that he was speaking pidgin?

    [(myl) There are a couple of canned phrases that he reads, e.g. "First, make I tell you say U.S. no get any candidate for mind. The only thing, the only thing wey go sweet us be say make the election dey transparent and credible." Or, in reference to a recent Nigerian anti-gay law, "U.S. government no say sanction go dey for Nigeria because of same-sex palava-o."]

  2. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 18, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

    Will a day come when our ambassador to Nigeria speaks Nigerian Pidgin?

    Just imagining, I imagine a lot of the Nigerians he meets speak standard English and don't want to speak "Brokun" to the American ambassador. Does anyone know whether that's true?

  3. Frank Y. Gladney said,

    March 18, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

    @Coby L. werites "(though much of it seemed to me, who doesn't know Creole, to be just Nigerian-accented English)"

    "who" is first person singular by agreement with "me" (cf. Our father, who art in heaven…), so we expect "to me, who don't…".

  4. George said,

    March 19, 2014 @ 4:51 am

    @Frank Y. Gladney

    I don't know about you, but I certainly 'expect' no such thing. I can see why you might think that it is what OUGHT to be said, but it simply isn't what actually IS said in most varieties (any variety?) of modern English.

  5. George said,

    March 19, 2014 @ 4:53 am

    By 'modern English' above, I obviously mean 'English-as-spoken-(and-indeed-written)-today'.

  6. richardelguru said,

    March 19, 2014 @ 5:56 am

    And anyway, isn't it considered a bit rude to 'correct' others comment usage? (Even, or maybe especially, here).

  7. GeorgeW said,

    March 19, 2014 @ 6:53 am

    A non-linguistic comment as an American who helps pay his salary: I thought he did a great job.

    And, on a linguistic note, he did seem to understand the Pidgin with no difficulty.

  8. J.W. Brewer said,

    March 19, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    But is he going to become a recording artist in the local vernacular, like this diplomat did?

  9. Kevin said,

    March 20, 2014 @ 5:31 am

    Wazobia isn't the first Nigerian media outlet to broadcast in Pidgin, Radio Nigeria was transmitting Pidgin news bulletins on Kapital FM in Abuja in 2005 (I was working for them at the time). That's a couple of years before Wazobia started. Maybe they mean the first all-Pidgin media outlet?

    The name Wazobia is interesting in itself. It's made up of the word for "come" in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo and is often used about efforts to encourage the use of the larger native language groups instead of English.

  10. Ken Brown said,

    March 23, 2014 @ 12:50 am

    At least some Sierra Leoneans do not believe that Krio is the same word as Creole, or that the language is the same as Nigerian Creoles. I don't speak any of those languages so have no basis to judge.

  11. Yuval said,

    March 26, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

    @Frank Y. Gladney
    We don't expect people to misspell "writes", either. We guess we just have to deal with what we get, then.

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