One of the most exciting reports this week is the official addition of some common Nigerian words like “Okada”, “Tokunbo”, “Danfo” to the latest Oxford English Dictionary update for January 2020. These words have become part of the Nigerian culture especially in the transportation industry but mostly viewed as informal in the past. Now, about 29 of them have successfully been added as formal words that can be found in the latest Oxford English Dictionary.
Nigerian slangs like Tokunbo, Danfo, and Okada, commonly used in the transport industry are now present in the Oxford English dictionary
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Danica Salazar, a World English Editor for the Oxford English Dictionary stated in a blog post available on the OED website that some of these newly added words are coinages while others are borrowed words. An excerpt of the blog post reads thus;
“The 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,”
In case you are wondering how the meaning of these words was explained in the latest OED update, see them below;
okada, n.: “In Nigeria: a motorcycle which passengers can use as a taxi service.”
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…”
tokunbo, adj.: “Denoting an imported second-hand product, esp. a car.
The next OED update will be released in March 2020 as only 4 updates are usually released every year.
We do hope that some other common words like Keke NAPEP, Marwa, Korope, Soole, and the likes will eventually make it to the OED soon.