Nigerian English; -ate back-formed verbs

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Tue Mar 4 22:57:18 UTC 2008

"To orientate" and "to orient" are interchangeable though, historically,
Brits tend to use orientate more and Yanks tend to use orient more. Oh, and,
by the way, anyone who insists "decimate" must only mean reducing by
one-tenth would surely follow suit and insist that "orient" (or "orientate")
must only mean knowing which way is east...

Re the Nigerian English article: I got the impression that the writer of
that article was (a) young and (b) not very familiar with world English. A
lot of what he quoted as Nigerian English in terms of being something
sinister (or at least unfortunate) that may be isolating Nigerians from
world English, was really just kind of cute. And, certainly, it seems odd to
me that he would pick up words like urchin, miscreant and rascal to point
out. Though these might not be exactly current in everyday non-African
journalistic English, they are certainly understandable and would not, I
think, cause a Nigerian to lose a job opportunity or the like. I suspect one
could find more (or at least as much) variation in Southern US or Bronx
English or whatever. Why is "Sorry-O" going to hinder a Nigerian's
professional or scholastic progress when "Cheerio" would not? It's just
cute, that's all. I think the AP writer committed molehill orogeny.


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 6:00 PM
Subject: Re: Nigerian English; -ate back-formed verbs

But, orientate is old (OED, 1848) and ecclesiastical.  It seems to
pre-date what I would think of as Nigerian English.

David Barnhart

barnhart at

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list