Nigerian Letter

Herbert Stahlke hstahlke at WORLDNET.ATT.NET
Tue Jun 24 02:10:04 UTC 2003

It's probably not possible to identify the native languages of the writers.
There are a levels of Nigerian English, just as there is a creole continuum.
At the top end is the formal writing found in the better newspapers,
novelists, etc.  At the other end is the very distinctive language of
writers like Amos Tutuola, whose English prose does at times reflect his
native Yoruba.  However, the more likely explanation for the seemingly
unidiomatic English in these letters is their roots in Nigerian Creole
English, often called Nigerian Pidgin or Wes Cos.

Herb Stahlke

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
Of Dan Goodman
Sent: Monday, June 23, 2003 2:34 PM
Subject: Nigerian Letter

It's obvious that most variations of  the Nigerian Letter are written by
people whose knowledge of English is shaky.   Is it possible to tell
what their native languages are?   For example:

Dear sir/Madam,
    I am Mr Emma Savimbi, please i need your help
since after the incidence that lead to the death of my  father
MR.JONAS M.SAVIMBI of unita of Angola.

I know we have not met before, but I am contacting you with due
sense of humanity responsibility, and the few awareness that
you will give it a mutual understanding.

Dan Goodman dsgood at
Whatever you wish for me, may you have twice as much.

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