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Monday, 4 August 2014

10 Words Nigerians Commonly Misspell

1. “Goodluck.”This is probably the most misspelled word in Nigeria today. The reason is obvious: it’s the first name of Nigeria’s current president, Goodluck Jonathan. But there is no word like “goodluck”--or, its other variant,badluck-- in the English language; there is only “good luck”--and "bad luck." Good luck denotes an auspicious state resulting from favorable outcomes, a stroke of luck, or an unexpected piece of good fortune. That someone would be named “Good Luck” (which has now been rendered “Goodluck” in error) is itself evidence of insufficient familiarity with the rules and idiomatic rhythm of the English language.

2. “Defination.”There is no letter “a” in the spelling of that word. Replace the “a” with an “i” to have“definItion.”Related misspelled words are“definAtely”instead of “definitely,”“definAte,” instead of “definIte,” etc.

3. “Alot.”That is not an English word. The closest resemblance to that word in the English language is the phrase “a lot.” Since no one writes “alittle,” “afew,” “abit,” etc, it is indefensible that people write “alot.” But this is a universal spelling error in the English-speaking world; it is not limited to Nigerians. Other cousins of this spelling error are“Infact”instead of “in fact” and“inspite”instead of “in spite.”

4. “Loose/lose.”Many Nigerians use the word “loose” when they actually mean to write “lose.” Loose is commonly used as an adjective to denote the state of not being tight (as in: loose clothes). Other popular uses include the sense of being casual and unrestrained in intimate behavior (as in: loose women), lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility (as in: “Goodluck Jonathan’s loose tongue”). Although “loose” can sometimes be used as a verb, “loosen” is the preferred word to express the sense of making something less tight or strict. “Lose,” on the hand, is to cease to have, or to fail to win, or suffer the loss of a person through death, etc. A safe bet is to choose to err on the side of “lose” when you want to express an action.

5. “Priviledge.”There is no “d” in the spelling of that word. It’s spelled “privilege.”

6. “Nonchallant.”It’s actually spelled with only one “l.” Unfortunately, even news reports in Nigerian newspapers habitually spell the word with double “l.” I wonder if they’ve disabled their spell check.

7. “Grammer.”There is no “e” in the word. Replace the pesky “e” with an “a” to have “grammAr.” I’ve read posts on Nigerian Internet discussion forums and on Facebook railing against “bad grammer”! Well, if you feel sufficiently concerned about bad grammar to write about it, you’d better damn well know how to spell grammar! To be fair, this misspelling isn’t exclusively Nigerian, but its regularity in popular writing in Nigeria qualifies it as a candidate for this list. The people I have a hard time forgiving are those who attend or attended secondary schools with “grammar school” as part of their names (such as my old secondary school, which is called Baptist Grammar School) but spell “grammar” with an “e.” I see that a lot on Facebook. Such people deserve to be stripped of the certificates they got from their high schools!

8. “Proffessor.”The name for the highest ranking position for a university academic (in British usage) and any full-time or part-time member of the teaching staff of a university (in American usage) is never spelled with double “f.” It’s correctly spelled “professor.” So if “proffessor” is wrong,“proff”is equally wrong. The British and Canadian colloquial abbreviation for “professor” is “prof.”

9. “Pronounciation.” Although the verb form of this word is “pronounce,” it changes to “pronunciation” when it nominalizes, that is, when it changes into a noun. Note that there is no “o” after the first “n” in the word.

10. “Emanciated.”It should correctly be spelled “emaciated.” There is no “n” in the word. This widespread spelling error in Nigerian written English is the direct result of the way we (mis)pronounce the word. An “n” sound almost always intrudes on our pronunciation of the word, much like it does in our pronunciation of “attorney,” so that most Nigerians say “antoni-general” of the federation. A related misspelling is“expantiate.”It should be “expatiate.” There is no “n” after the first “a.”

16 SeptemberEdited
Privacy: Public
Endy Edeson
@Blessing: thanks for the insightful comment
Like1Edit17 September
Chioma Blessing Ndu
@ Duchess'morelahrah Lara Moppet, U shouldn't be 'cos we learn everyday, hence the need to be open to learning. The accurate spelling is "EMBARRASSED" i.e double "r" and double "s". Try to get a dictionary. Every speaker of the English Language needs one. It really helps. Take care.
Unlike1Delete17 September
Chioma Blessing Ndu
U're welcome, Professor Endy Edeson.
LikeDelete17 September
Akerele Oluwaseun
Prof. I comment ma reserve coz am learnin
Unlike2Delete17 September
Edobor John
The grammer here is giving me headche. Pls break it. Prof @end! Insignful or insighful
EditedUnlike2Delete17 September
Don Simonee
And there is no phrase 'as in' in English language. It could be substituted with the phrase 'in relation to.'
Like1Delete17 September
James Sinach Anuforo
When you board a taxi or bus, is wrong for you to say 'I WILL DROP OR STOP HERE' instead you say "I WILL ALIGHT HERE.
Unlike2Delete17 September
Yaji Tessy
am guilty of 3 n 6 bt nyc corectn.
Unlike1Delete17 September
LikeDelete18 September
Paschal Nnodim
@john there yew qo aqain "grammer" instead of "grammar" haba!
Like1Delete18 September

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