International Journal of English Research

International Journal of English Research


International Journal of English Research
International Journal of English Research
Vol. 3, Issue 3 (2017)

The effect of the rising tone on the meaning of “Now” and “Ehen” in Nigerian Spoken English


Ado A Jacob

Nigerian English is one among the numerous existing varieties of English around the world. It has been observed to possess specific peculiarities in the use of intonation, and in other aspects of English Language like semantics and grammar. It differs significantly from the RP variety with the obvious disparity in the use of the rising tone and the meanings associated with it. This is a study to show the connection between tone use and semantics. English words may have the same or slightly different meanings all around the world but it is obvious that meanings could vary even with the choice of tone - rising or falling. In this study, spontaneous speeches of thirty Nigerians were collected over a period of five years. The subjects included those who have completed their secondary school, university graduates, lecturers and professionals from various fields. Part of the data was collected from the statements of actors on Nigerian movies. The speeches of few elementary school students who are believed to come from well-to-do homes, have educated parents and attend good schools were also analysed. At the end of the study, the result shows that “now” has different meanings in Nigerian Spoken English. When it is said with a rising tone, the meaning does not always indicate time. ‘Ehen’ is not an English word but when said with a rising tone, its meaning is close to that of the rising ‘now’ (when not indication time). Sometimes, the two words co-occur in the same sentence.
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How to cite this article:
Ado A Jacob. The effect of the rising tone on the meaning of “Now” and “Ehen” in Nigerian Spoken English. International Journal of English Research, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2017, Pages 57-61
International Journal of English Research