Sunday, 3 November 2013

Funke Akindele And The Bastardisation Of The English Language

The entertainment industry is dulling our intelligence.

The Nigerian entertainment industry, as well as the Nigerian government and society, is greatly contributing to the falling standard of education in Nigeria.

Children, just like adults, over the years, believe in the printed and electronic media and they copy, or hold so dear, whatever they see or hear on TV and read in newspapers.

Before now, entertainers like Zebrudaya Okeke alias 4:30, Jaguar, etc enlivened the industry and provoked laughter, while infesting the learning environment with wrong grammatical expressions, sounds and idioms.

For example, “More grease to your elbow” is a bastardised version of “More power to your elbow”; “Cut your coat according to your size” instead of “Cut your coat according to your cloth”; “Action speak louder than voice” instead of “Actions speak louder than words”; “The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know” instead of “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”; and “Half bread is better than none” instead of “Half a loaf is better than no bread.”

These are a few examples of English expressions that have been bastardised as a result of our contact with the entertainment industry.

From the music industry, entertainers such as Olamide, Whizkid have changed the mindset of many young Nigerians, infusing slangs – which students remember quicker than a teacher’s teaching or formals – into their songs. Such spirit kills the quality of teaching and learning.

The worst of these people in this century is Funke Akindele. She rose to stardom by her clownish behaviour and expressions. Such expressions and utterances are, in fact, killing the quality of education in Nigeria. In her movie, The Hero, Funke’s grammar was so bad that it made watching the movie very tiresome for the learned and highly lettered ones.

No one in their sane mind would sit and watch Funke’s recent movies and feel that they are watching a good movie – except if they are of the same background as Funke.

She says: “Who is you?” instead of Who are you?; “I am deading” rather than I am dying; “This womens” – These women; “Let me told you” – Let me tell you; “Foice” – Voice; “Shindren” – Children; “Sow” – Show, etc. Such comic but deadly statements are condemnable.

Such laughter provoking but academically killing grammar should be extirpated completely if Funke must make sense to million of people like me. Funke can still make her millions while speaking normal. This melodramatic and bastardised grammar is only killing our youth who watch a lot of home videos. It does not build them. And woe is he who pleases himself while giving a painless death to other people.

Every lover of success for tomorrow’s leaders should stand up and speak against the grammar abuse by our entertainers.
Although one may not blame them completely, for they are speaking to the best of their knowledge, it is expedient for them to know that a million people rely on their spoken grammar.

Entertainers such as Genevieve Nnaji, Pete Edochie and Ini Edo, made a name for themselves without abusing the rules of grammar usage.

Such grammar abuse, in my view, is a Unclad sign of half education.

Daniel Odih writes from Lokoja, Kogi State.


  1. I read this article with increasing anger and disbelief. I am a linguist who is currently studying for a PhD in England and I couldn't agree with you less, Daniel Odih. It's not logical to place the bulk of Nigerian children's correct English language acquisition on the entertainment industry. What about education in schools? You cannot also assume that the English these entertainers speak in movies is all they are capable on speaking. Can I refer you to Chomsky's theory of Competence and Performance? That "academically killing grammar"you talk about are just innovations in an English that is global. You think the phenomenon is exclusive to Nigeria? I currently live in England (whose standards you are probably referencing as a standard) and those coinages that you'd call (in your colonial mentality) errors are rife here in the entertainment industry, but do they call for an overhaul of any innovative use of the language? Certainly not. This is just an article from someone being overly dramatic, myopic and ignorant. May I also suggest you stop watching these movies you loathe so much. It will save us all the trouble of having to read your half-baked articles.

    1. Wao, well-arranged and articulated comment. That is the power of journalism -- freedom of expression and to be corrected too. Hope the writer will see this too. Thanks for your comment.

  2. A totall waste of time,misplaced assumption.


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