From what I can tell, the only nontrivial difference between Nigerian Standard English and the catalog of commonly referenced dialects of English is that Nigerian Standard English has a different prosody, as it is syllable-timed as opposed to stress-timed.

I'm having a difficult time finding examples of dialects of a language with differing prosodic qualities. Given this, is Nigerian Standard English categorized as a discrete language, a dialect of English, or does it fall under some other category?

  • 4
    Alo and Mesthrie 'Nigerian English: morphology and syntax' (in 'A Handbook of Varieties of English') list quite a few nontrivial features of Nigerian English that make it different from other varieties. Commented Aug 12, 2012 at 23:43
  • Thank you, I'll give that a read (and my professor a good shaking).
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 2:03
  • Gaston, I'm not sure the book talks about Nigerian Standard English. Unless I'm missing something, all I can find is the entry on Nigerian Pidgin.
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 2:15
  • 2
    Alo and Mesthrie's article discussing the morphology and syntax of Nigerian English is at pp 813--827 of that book. The article that follows (pp. 828ff) discusses Nigerian Pidgin English. Also possibly of interest is this paper by Ulrike Gut which explores the many differences Nigerian English and in British English in the area of prosody. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 3:00
  • And re your professor: there is great variation in Nigerian English, from a variety termed a pidgin through to a variety that is very similar to British English. It may well be that prosody is a difference from British English that is shared by all varieties of Nigerian English. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


To the question

Is Nigerian Standard English categorized as a discrete language, a dialect of English, or does it fall under some other category?

the answer is: It is classified as a variety of English like British English, American English, or Australian English. All varieties of English have regional dialects and other kinds of lects and slangs.


According to R. Hickey ( Legacies of Colonial English. Studies in Transported Dialect.), the Nigerian English, as most other African Englishes, should be classified as a part of common meta-cluster merged together with South-Eastern Asian Englishes (pp. 510-522).

On the other hand, if we pay closer attention to Kachru's Asian Englishes; Beyond the Canon( e. g. at p.14 of the 2005's copy) we can easily notice that the issue of classification for world Englishes is still open.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.