The Guardian

The absolute beginners' guide to Pidgin | Kobby Graham

The launch of BBC Pidgin on the World Service is recognition that our English is not ‘broken’, but beautiful. Here’s what you need to know about it
‘Fela Kuti once sang, ‘I no be gentleman at all o’, using Pidgin to underline his defiance against being ‘civilised’.’ Photograph: David Corio/Getty Images

The launch of BBC Pidgin will come as a bit of a shock to many African parents and headmasters, and will leave many others confused as to why the world’s foremost exponent of the Queen’s English, the BBC World Service, is investing in what is often called “broken English”.

But Pidgin is so much more. It is the widely spoken (and wildly inventive) lingua franca of much of west and central, using Pidgin to underline his defiance against being “civilized”. Today, the language is a cultural force, driving everything from the lyrics of music to movies emerging from Nigeria’s Nollywood, now the world’s second-largest film industry.

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