Nigerian Lingo

Egbe SignHere in Nigeria, more specifically Egbe, the heart of “Yagba Land” there are so many peculiar, unfamiliar, but nevertheless FUN figures of speech! Over the past fifteen months we have not only enjoyed them, but undoubtedly acquired such jargon ourselves. These days such phrases quickly roll off our tongue without a second thought. Positively, without a doubt, engrained in our heads forever. Below I have compiled a list of some of our beloved Nigerian lingo! Plus watch the video to hear some examples yourself

  1. “Snap me!”– The way of asking, please take my picture!
  2. “On it” or “Off it!”– There is no such thing as turn it on or turn it off. Rather it is, “On the light, “Off the gen”, “Off the water”, etc.
  3. “I am coming!” (“Mumbo”) – This one may not sound unusual, but here they use it when they are leaving. As to say I am coming back. However, they may not come back for an hour, a day, or even a week.
  4. “Small, Small” (“dia dia”)– this term can be used to describe a little bit of something. Ex. “How much rice remains?” The reply would be, “Only small, small rice remains.”
  5. “The upper tomorrow”– Not the day after tomorrow, but the upper tomorrow. Also, can be used as the upper week or upper month.
  6. “Foil”– When someone ask for foil. Don’t grab the aluminum foil. No, they want gas or fuel!
  7. “Just go forefront!” – When giving directions it is always the response. No matter if it’s left, right, straight or back. They just point in the direction and say, “Just go forefront!”
  8. “I met it like that!”– All things in Nigeria are personified with, “I met it.” For example if I were to say “Where did this mess come from?” The reply would be, “I don’t know, I met it like that!” Or you can make a certain item meet another item to make more.
  9. “Dash me” – Asking for a gift or present. Most of the time it is something you are currently wearing. “Dash me your watch!”
  10. “Did you sleep straight?”– No, they are not asking about your position while you slept. They are inquiring if you slept straight through the night.

    Nigerian Lingo

4 thoughts on “Nigerian Lingo

  1. Fun to read these examples of Nigerian English. Quite a few of them are used up north in Hausa territory too…”snap” “dash me” “off the light” “small, small” “foil” “I met it.” “I am coming”. In Liberia when someone was leaving a gathering, they used to say, “I’m coming to go.” I remember someone going to see a professor at the university and finding him “not on seat.” In otherwords, they “met his absence.” Thanks for the post, Patrice!

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