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Oxford English Dictionary Adds sef, Tokunbo, buka, danfo, Okada, Other Nigerian Coinages To Updated Edition (See Full List)

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Oxford English Dictionary Adds sef, Tokunbo, buka, danfo, Okada, Other Nigerian Coinages To Updated Edition (See Full List)

For taking ownership of English and using it as her own medium of expression, the Oxford English Dictionary has find it worthy to add some Nigeria coinages to its array of words in the updated edition.

“Nigerians have made, and are continuing to make, a unique and distinctive contribution to English as a global language. We highlight their contributions in this month’s update of the Oxford English Dictionary, as a number of Nigerian English words make it into the dictionary for the first time, ” it was stated in the information contained in the OED blog posts for January 2020 written by Danica Salazar, World English Editor of Oxford English dictionary.

The blog post noted that “majority of these new additions are either borrowings from Nigerian languages, or unique Nigerian coinages that have only begun to be used in English in the second half of the twentieth century, mostly in the 1970s and 1980s.”

The post averred that one particularly interesting set of such loanwords and coinages has to do with Nigerian street food.

“The word 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. An even more creative synonym is 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—Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka notably includes a Mama Put character in one of his works.”

Two other words that got included in the updated version of OED is the iconic daredevil Lagos ‘Danfo’ buses and the two-wheeled everyday commuters’ partner ‘okada’.

“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. Okada, on the other hand, is first attested twenty years later, and is the term for a motorcycle that passengers can use as a taxi service. It is a reference to Okada Air, an airline that operated in Nigeria from 1983 to 1997, and its reputation as a fast yet potentially dangerous form of transport, just like the motorcycle taxi.”

Below is the full list of the new Nigerian words and senses added to the OED in this update:

agric, adj. & n.

barbing salon, n.

buka, n.

bukateria, n.

chop, v./6

chop-chop, n./2

danfo, n.

to eat money, in eat, v.

ember months, n.

flag-off, n.

to flag off in flag, v.

gist, n./3

gist, v./2

guber, adj.

Kannywood, n.

K-leg, n.

mama put, n.

next tomorrow, n. & adv.

non-indigene, adj. & n.

okada, n.

to put to bed, in put, v.

qualitative, adj.

to rub minds (together) in rub, v./1

sef, adv.

send-forth, n.

severally, adv.

tokunbo, adj.

zone, v.

zoning, n.

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