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The research is a sociolinguistic analysis of the use of Nigerian Pidgin for transactions in Ibadan Markets. Pidgins are contact vernacular normally not the native language of any speaker in the situation requiring communication between persons who do not speak each other’s native language. It is characterized by a limited vocabulary and an elimination of many grammatical devices such as number and gender. This research investigates the extent to which buyers and sellers make use of pidgins along with other languages such as Yoruba and other varieties of English which are widely spoken in Dugbe andAgbeni markets. It also investigates whether there is any significant impact of switching and mixing codes and Nigerian Pidgin for interactions in the selected markets. The study uses “ethnography of communication” as its theoretical framework, drawing on Hymes’ (1974) anthropological methodology. This study’s data collection methodology included audiotape recording and a questionnaire. The demographic for this study consists of some shop owners and buyers who frequent the Dugbe and Agbeni markets in Ibadan. Ten (10) transaction sessions were recorded, and four hundred and sixty-eight (468) copies of the questionnaire were distributed to buyers and sellers in both markets via direct contact.The acquired data were examined using arithmetic calculation and the Kejrice and Morgan (1970) approach, respectively. The investigation indicated how widely Nigerian Pidgin is utilized in the market and concluded that it is a language for effective market communication. Furthermore, the data indicate that native speakers of Yoruba and other indigenous languages communicate in Nigerian Pidgin through code-switching and code-mixing.









Background to the Study

This study focuses on the use of Nigerian Pidgin as a form of communication at the Dugbe andAgbeni  market places. The investigation was driven by the fact that Nigerian Pidgin is widely used in both markets in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. However, it is important to highlight that Nigerian Pidgin is not the only language spoken in the marketplaces. Other indigenous languages (Igbo, Yoruba, etc.) as well as Standard English, Broken English, and Yoruba, the local language, are spoken there. However, the employment of Nigerian Pidgin in these markets is critical since people from all linguistic origins frequent the market and must communicate effectively. Interaction is often performed by code-mixing and code-switching languages in order to grow and improve sales.

Nigerian Pidgin connection between people in a society is extremely important, thus people in a society relate and communicate with one another through the language. The universality and diversity of speech have led to the conclusion that language is an extremely ancient heritage of the human race, regardless of whether all forms of speech are historical outgrowths of a single pristine form. People who speak the same language can communicate because they share a common language (Rajend et al.2000). person’s use of language enhances their ability to convey their complicated communicative demands, allowing for understanding among persons who share the same linguistic identity. According to Edward Sapir (1921:6), language is a human-created method of transmitting ideas, emotions, and desires using symbols. Sapir emphasizes that language is the institution whereby humans convey thoughts, feelings, and wants, as well as engage with one another, using habitual oral auditory and arbitrary symbols. When people from various backgrounds are compelled to contact with one another, they develop a reduced language formed from two or more languages, which is known as a pidgin. Pidgins are simplified languages composed of components from two or more languages that are used as a communication tool amongst speakers who do not share a common language and serve to maintain community interaction.

Labov (1936), a pioneer in sociolinguistics, observes that code-switching occurs in individual utterances and that speakers develop and establish a pidgin language when two or more speakers do not speak the same language. Communication in speech communities such as Ibadan Dugbe and Agbeni market occurs in a unique fashion through code-switching and code-mixing between speakers of two or more languages, and Nigerian Pidgin is utilized mostly by traders to assist commercial and business transactions. As a result, traders frequently employ this type of language in the market to facilitate communication and increase sales. Pidgin has a high sociolinguistic value in Nigeria since it is spoken in the market by buyers and sellers to facilitate trade. It also acts as a language of broader communication between persons of different ethnic groups, as seen in a market context. This is why pidgins are gaining popularity due to the socioeconomic benefits they provide to both educated and uneducated people in the country.

There is emerging evidence that Nigerian Pidgin plays a vital role in social contact and business transactions with persons who speak different languages. Despite the historic condemnation of pidgins, they continue to thrive in economic and social activities where people of different ethnicities come together to conduct transactions. The importance of Nigerian Pidgin in the success of economic transactions at these markets (Dugbe andAgbeni markets), where individuals from all linguistic origins come together to purchase or sell, makes the use of pidgins essential. From this perspective, the current study intends to examine the prevalence of Nigerian Pidgin, together with other languages, in both Dugbe andAgbeni marketplaces verbal interactions of purchasing and selling.

Statement of Problem

Language is used to facilitate communication between persons. When there is no common language, communication becomes difficult. This study attempts to contribute to the existing literature on Nigerian Pidgin in line with many researchers such as Adeyanju (1989), Todd (1974), and Gani-Ikilama (2005), who observe that Nigerian Pidgin is spoken in market places, barracks, campuses, and other places, and that this variety of Nigerian Pidgin is primarily a market language used in buying and selling transactions. Very little research has been conducted on the extent to which pidgin is used for commercial or business transactions in Ibadan markets, particularly since it is utilized alongside other languages such as Yoruba, Standard English, Broken English, and non-indigenous languages spoken in the study region. The cosmopolitan nature of the Dugbe and Agbeni markets has resulted in Nigerian Pidgin being an additional language of business dealings. Buyers and vendors clearly communicate, although Nigerian Pidgin is not the only language spoken in the Dugbe and Agbeni markets place. Other languages spoken in addition to Pidgin include Standard English, Broken English, the language of the nearby environment (Yoruba), and other indigenous languages. However, Nigerian Pidgin is regarded as vital for meeting the communicative demands of persons in the Dugbe and Agbeni markets. This study explores the extent to which consumers and sellers use Nigerian Pidgin, as well as other languages such as Yoruba and Standard English, which are extensively spoken at the Dugbe and Agbeni markets. The subject addressed by this study is whether switching and mixing codes, as well as the degree of use of Nigerian Pidgin, have a substantial impact on commercial transactions in the market under consideration.

  • Research Questions

In the light of the observations, the research hopes to answer the following research questions;


  1. In what contexts do buyers use Nigerian Pidgin as a language of communication in both Dugbe and Agbeni markets?
  2. To what extent do age, sex and occupation determine the use of Nigerian Pidgin by buyers and sellers facilitating commercial transactions in the markets?
  3. To what extent do the native speakers of indigenous and non-indigenous languages communicate in Nigerian Pidginin Dugbe and Agbeni markets?

Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to carry out a sociolinguistic analysis of the use of Nigerian Pidgin in Dugbe and Agbeni markets buying and selling interactions.

The specific objectives this research hopes to achieve are to:


  1. Investigate the contexts within which buyers use Nigerian Pidgin in communication in Dugbe and Agbeni markets.
  2. Analyze the extent to which age, sex and occupation determine the use of Nigerian Pidgin by buyers and sellers in facilitating commercial transactions in the markets.
  • Examine the extent to which the native speakers of indigenous and non- indigenous languages communicate in Nigerian Pidgin in Dugbe and Agbeni markets.

Significance for the Study

When pidgins are discussed, many individuals get revulsion and unease. This is because the pidgin language is typically regarded as a degraded and inferior language that should be ignored. However, several pidgins academics have continued to urge examination of its utility as a tool for interpersonal communication. The relevance of this study is that it will allow other linguistics researchers to continue to recognize how effective Nigerian Pidgin is in buying and selling interactions. Furthermore, the study will allow researchers to determine the amount to which Nigerian Pidgin is utilized in Dugbe and Agbeni markets place, as well as Standard English, Broken English, and the language of the immediate area (Yoruba). That is, researchers will investigate the efficacy of Nigerian Pidgin in communication.

Scope and Delimitation

The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which Nigerian Pidgin is used in market places, using data from the Dugbe and Agbeni markets places in Ibadan, Oyo State. The researcher chose these two markets using the purposive sample technique because they are both easily accessible. This study analyzes Nigerian Pidgin in Dugbe and Agbeni markets through audio-tape recordings of buyer-seller interactions. In addition, four hundred and sixty eight (468) copies of the questionnaires were randomly delivered to consumers and sellers in both markets. The buyers received 312 questionnaires, while vendors received 156 questionnaires. The research is based on Hymes’s (1974) theoretical framework, which focuses on the anthropological approach. Hymes proposes a “ethnography of communications” theory which focuses on societal rules and constraints, that the use of language in an environment such as a market conforms to that environment (market), and that societal appropriateness in language use is more essential than grammatical accuracy. The study focuses on the Pidgin English syntax and vocabulary of both buyers and sellers.