‘Tokunbo’: Now Good English


Media Gaffes

By Ebere Wabara

THISDAY of March 28 welcomes us today: “Supreme Court insists it lacked (lacks) powers to set aside own judgment” Alternatively: the apex court insisted it lacked powers…

Super Saturday: “This is the big question begging for answer (an answer) as….”
COVID-19: “Davido’s fiancée, Chioma (another comma) tests positive”
Still on the unprecedented pandemic: “Kwara residents comply with stay at home (‘stay-at-home’) order”

“Asides (Aside) from having one of the longest movie titles in the history of Nollywood, there are other stand out (stand-out) things about….”

NATIONAL NEWS of March 30 misquoted President Buhari: “The president said the order does (did) not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related (health care-related) manufacturing and distribution.”

“Buhari said he has (had) directed Minister (the Minister) of Health to….”
“Customs kills 15 year old (15-year-old or 15 years’ old) girl, injures 2 others in Ogun”

“It is obvious that only the choice of Igbo (an Igbo) person can fly….” (Politics & Power, March 30)

“Bauchi introduces stricter measures over non compliance (sic) (non-compliance or noncompliance) to (with) market closure by citizens” (AREWA NEWS, March 30)
“…to ensure that we collectively fight this fight to finish (to the finish) and stabilise (stabilize, preferably) the economy, even after the pandemic.” (DAILY Sun Back Page, March 30)

“StarTimes gift (gifts) subscribers one-month free viewing, offers Ebonylife (sic) TV on all bouquet (bouquets)”

“Undoubtedly, almost every country in the world (where else would the country have been? Maybe ‘space’) is currently confronted with the challenges of….” ‘Currently’ here is otiose because of ‘is’, which is indicative of currency.

“People making last minutes (last-minute) purchases at….” (SOUTH EAST NEWS, April 1)
“Imo Assembly urge (urges) Uzodinma to appoint interim council chairmen”
“Edo condemns hike in food items’ price (prices)”

We continue lectures today by listing Nigerian words that were recently internationalized before returning to our didactic session. A total of 29 Nigerian words and expressions have been included in the latest January 2020 updates of Oxford English Dictionary. Some of the words and phrases included are: ‘Ember Month’, ‘Danfo’, ‘Non-indigene’, ‘Guber’, ‘Tokunbo’, ‘Mama Put’, ‘Kannywood ‘Next Tomorrow’, among others. How I wish the late language activist, Pa Bayo Oguntunase, was alive to savour
this unprecedented manifestation!

Agric, adj. and n.: “Of, relating to, or used in agriculture; = agricultural adj. Now chiefly West African”

Barbing salon, n.: “A barber’s shop.”

Buka, n.: “A roadside restaurant or street stall with a seating area, selling cooked food at low prices. Cf. bukateria n., mama put n. frequently used as a modifier…”
Bukateria, n.: “A roadside restaurant or street stall with a seating area, selling cooked food at low prices. Cf. buka n., mama put n.”

Chop, v.6, Additions: “transitive. Ghanaian English and Nigerian English. To acquire (money) quickly and easily. Frequently in negative sense: to misappropriate, extort, or…”

Chop-chop, n.2: “Bribery and corruption in public life; misappropriation or embezzlement of funds. Also as a modifier.” Additions: “Now chiefly Nigerian English and East African. To eat money: to acquire money dishonestly; to misappropriate, extort, or embezzle funds. Cf. chop v.6…”

Danfo, n.: “A yellow minibus that carries passengers for a fare as part of an informal transport system in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Also as a…”
To eat money, in eat, v.,

Ember months, n.: “The final four months of the calendar year (September to December), esp. considered together as a period of heightened or intense activity.”
Flag-off, n.: “The moment at which a race, esp. a motor race, is flagged off (see flag v.4 additions a); the start of a race. Now chiefly Indian English and…”
Flag, v.4, Additions: “to flag off. Transitive (usually in passive). To direct (a driver) to start a motor race, esp. one in which the competitors start at intervals, by…”

Flag, v.4, Additions: “to flag off. Transitive. Indian English and Nigerian English. In extended use: to start (an event or undertaking).”
Gist, n.3, Additions: “Nigerian English. Idle chat, gossip. Also: an instance of this, a rumour or piece of gossip.”

Gist, v.2: “transitive. To reduce (a text, document, etc.) to its essence or gist; to condense, summarize, or précis”

Guber, adj.: “Of or relating to a governor or governorship; = gubernatorial adj.”
Kannywood, n.: “The Nigerian Hausa-language film industry, based in Kano; Kano regarded as the centre of this industry. Cf. Nollywood n.”

K-leg, n.: “In singular and plural. A condition in which one or both of a person’s knees are turned inwards, resulting in a noticeable gap between the feet when…”
Mama put, n.: “A street vendor, typically a woman, selling cooked food at low prices from a handcart or stall. Also: a street stall or roadside restaurant run by…”

Next tomorrow, n. and adv.: “The day after tomorrow.”

“We are glad that the police has (have) recognized terrorism as a menace that calls for special training of its (their) officers.”

“Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for specialized training on terrorism for officers and men of the security agencies are not turned into avenue (an avenue) to line up (for lining up) the pockets of top officials of the agencies.” The most critical aspect of the foregoing extract: Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the need for…is (not are)….

Let us visit Vanguard of February 9: “The state, therefore, does not deserve the treatment being currently meted to it”. Fixed expression: meted out (to). And this: ‘being’ and ‘currently’ cannot co-function.

“Chief of Naval Staff advocates for increased productivity via industrialization” What a wordy head! When used as a verb, ‘advocate’ does not admit ‘for’. Let us economize words, especially in headline casting: Naval Chief advocates increased productivity.

“For the university to recommend that students should pay for the damages while they have.…” A recurring error: except in legalese, ‘damage’ cannot be pluralized. (Daily Independent, February 9)

“… rather than investigating and finding out who were involved and check against future re-occurrence: Beyond recurrence (not reoccurrence), can an event yet to take place happen in the past?

“…the university is pointing its accusing fingers in the direction of the lecturers.” Correct expression: point a/the finger.

“…the AU summiteers concentrated almost exclusive (sic) on the political independence and liberation of countries in the continent.” (Daily Trust, February 8) In the interest of African Unity: on the continent.

“Monday’s action, which started at dawn, was as a result of the break-down of series of negotiations…” An agendum: a series of.

“According to the source, the institution has a very high percentage of failure in the last academic year.” Reported speech: the institution had (not has).