One of the official languages in Nigeria is English. That sounds reassuring, but don’t be fooled. Most Nigerians speak pidgin English which sometimes is very different from the English you know.


  • “I don’t know” is “I no know”.
  • “I know” is “I know now”.

Add the Nigerian accent and this can be very confusing. Other difficulties are “don’t” and “done” which sound alike in Nigeria. Remember that Nigerians prefer “no” where you would expect “don’t”.

Like in many African countries, they don’t use polite phrases. It sounds very direct and rude, but can be meant politely. “Could you please hand me the hammer” will be “bring hammer” or even “bring hammer now”. Nigerians tend to say numbers twice. Ten Naira would be: “ten ten Naira”.

The general rule is: it sounds like English, but make sure you know what they mean.

Remember that your English is as difficult to understand to them as theirs is to you. (source: Wikitravel)


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