Latest Gist: Nigerian English Phrases Added to Oxford English Dictionary

The globalisation of West African culture continues as western culture moves from adopting West African music to acknowledging West African lexicon, with the first-ever addition of Nigerian English phrases and words to the Oxford English Dictionary.

“By taking ownership of English and using it as their medium of expression, Nigerians have made, and are continuing to make, a unique and distinctive contribution to English as a global language,” the dictionary said in notes accompanying its latest update this month.

Common colloquial terms such as chop, meaning ‘to eat’, next tomorrow, meaning ‘the day after tomorrow’, and sef, meaning ‘self’, all got the nod as a total of 29 entries were made and are now officially part of the English language.

The Nigerian author TJ Benson feels that it has not been easy for Nigerian English words to get recognised for inclusion, admitting that his favourite Nigerian term making into this year’s dictionary is “severally,” meaning “repeatedly.”

“When it (Nigerian English) is being suppressed, or we are being told that there is a better way (of saying something), or this is what is correct, and then this is what is not correct, I think it affects us, and it also demeans us,” he said.

“I think this (recognition) is empowering for lots of us writers and everyday people because, at the end of the day, it ties back to identity and how we perceive ourselves and how we express ourselves.”

Here is the full list:

– agric, adj. & n.

– barbing salon, n.

– buka, n.

– bukateria, n.

– chop, v./6

– chop-chop, n./2

– danfo, n.

– to eat money, in eat, v.

– ember months, n.

– flag-off, n.

– to flag off in flag, v.

– gist, n./3

– gist, v./2

– guber, adj.

– Kannywood, n.

– K-leg, n.

– mama put, n.

– next tomorrow, n. & adv.

– non-indigene, adj. & n.

– okada, n.

– to put to bed, in put, v.

– qualitative, adj.

– to rub minds (together) in rub, v./1

– sef, adv.

– send-forth, n.

– severally, adv.

– tokunbo, adj.

– zone, v.

– zoning, n.

So you can now refer people to the dictionary if they are unclear about what you mean by catching gist at the barbing salon about the latest celebrity to put to bed.

Pretty cool.