Fri. Apr 3rd, 2020

Danfo,Tokunbo,Mama-Put, Chop, Other Nigerian Loanwords enters the Oxford English Dictionary

The last time we heard and read about a Nigerian language coinage was the ‘fufu’ in the Advanced Oxford English Dictionary which explained ‘fufu’/ˈfuːfuː/ as a smooth white food often eaten with soups or stew and made by boiling and pressing together the roots of plants such as cocoyam and cassava.

Tuesday, Oxford English Dictionary announced it has included some Nigerian language coinages and loanwords such as ‘danfo’, ‘mama-put’, ‘k-leg’, ‘tokunbo’, ‘buka’, ‘next tomorrow’, ‘chop’, ‘barbing saloon’ , ‘guber’, into its dictionary.

Buka: Borrowed from Hausa and Yoruba and first attested in 1972, refers to a roadside restaurant or street stall that sells local fare at low prices. Another term for such eating places first evidenced in 1980 is bukateria, which adds to buka the –teria ending from the word cafeteria

Tokunbo: Originally the name of a person born overseas now denotes “an imported second-hand product, especially a car.”

Mama put: from 1979, which comes from the way that customers usually order food in a buka: they say ‘Mama, put…’ to the woman running the stall, and indicate the dish they want. The word later became a generic name for the female food vendors themselves

Danfo: The informal transport systems that emerged in Nigeria’s huge, densely populated cities have also necessitated lexical invention. Danfo, a borrowing from Yoruba whose earliest use in written English is dated 1973, denotes those yellow minibuses whizzing paying passengers through the busy streets of Lagos, the country’s largest city.

K-leg: Also originating in the 19th century is K-leg, first attested in 1842 in British English, but now used mostly in Nigerian English. It is another term for the condition of knock knees, as well as a depreciative name for a person affected with this condition, whose inward-turning knees often resemble the shape of the letter K. It is of such widespread use in Nigeria that by the early 1980s, it had acquired a figurative meaning—a K-leg can now also be any sort of problem, flaw, setback, or obstacle.

Barbing salon: A few other expressions in this update would require some explanation for non-Nigerians: a barbing salon (earliest quotation dated 1979) is a barber’s shop.

Next tomorrow: The oldest of the new additions that are originally from Nigeria is next tomorrow, which is the Nigerian way of saying ‘the day after tomorrow’. It was first used in written English as a noun in 1953, and as an adverb in 1964.

Chop: Coming from pidgin contexts is the verb chop, which is a common colloquial word in Ghana and Nigeria meaning ‘to eat’. However, beginning in the 1970s, chop also developed the sense of acquiring money quickly and easily, and often dishonestly.


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