10 Essential Pidgin Phrases You’ll Need in Nigeria As A Foreigner Coming In For The First Time

Pidgin is an English-based creole language and Nigeria’s genuine most widely used language. English may be the official language, yet in a nation with well more than 250 other local dialects, Pidgin was created to help smoothen the way Nigerians Communicate between each other and even when foreigners come into the country.

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How far (“Hello/How is everything?”)

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This regular welcome signifies ‘How is everything?’. A marker of fellowship between Nigerians, it is a straightforward, casual welcome that is best used with people you know well, or in casual settings. The action word toward the end is frequently dropped, so be careful: in the event that somebody asks you How far?, they aren’t alluding to your journey to meet them.

Wétin dey? (“‘What’s up/What’s going on?”)

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This is another very casual welcome – one to experiment with a cab driver or market seller, for example. If anything, this one is much more casual than how far. It can likewise be used forcefully in the feeling of ‘what’s your concern?’. Dropping the dey and asking somebody wétin just is a decent method for instructing them to back off. Back it up with your best frown.

You do well (“Thank you”)

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The good thing about pidgin is that it most of it is easy to get your head around. ”You do well” simply means “Thank you”. For example, in an informal setting with a friend, you can say ”My friend you do well”.

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No wahala (“No problem”)

”No wahala” is the pidgin expression used for confirmation or approval. When someone says “No wahala”, it could mean “Yes” or “No problem”. When you want to say “No” then this word alone will do. “Wahala” on its own means ‘”trouble”, similar to the way the word bacchanal is used in the Caribbean. It can also refer to stress.

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Where the bathroom dey? (“Where is the bathroom?”)

Knowing how to ask where the bathroom is in pidgin is an obvious essential.

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Make you turn left / right (“Turn left / right”)

This is pretty easy, as it is all English — it’s just the manner in which it is spoken. Giving a Taxi directions in pidgin is always helpful – as long as you know where you’re going, of course.

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E don do (“Stop”)

”E don do” or “Stop” as a sign or an instruction is a word you cannot go without while travelling through Nigeria’s big cities.

At the restaurant / bar

This food sweet well well (“Delicious”)

Perhaps you just had one of Nigeria’s tasty traditional dishes and you want to express your pleasure and congratulate the chef. ”This food sweet well well” is the best way to give thanks and impress your hosts.

I wan chop (“I’m hungry”)

A definite must-use phrase in a country renowned for its amazing food, ”I wan chop” means you’re hungry and want to eat.

Water (“Water”)

Not to worry, if you’re dying of thirst anyone around you will know what you mean when you ask for water as it’s the same in pidgin English.

Making friends

Make we go shayo (“Let’s grab a drink”)

”Shayo” can refer to beer, red wine, vodka or whatever else you might fancy on a night out in one Nigeria’s bars. “Make we go shayo” is definitely a great way to make new acquaintances and lasting friendships.

Bobo you too fine (“You are handsome / beautiful”)

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Paying compliments is one of the easiest ways to make friends. ”Bobo you too fine” means that a man is handsome, while ”Babe you too fine” would be used to compliment a woman.


Culled From theculturetrip