Tokunbo, Mama put, Danfo, enter English dictionary

Tokunbo, Mama put, Danfo, enter English dictionary


Oxford English Dictionary has announced the addition of uniquely Nigerian words in its dictionary and among them are Tokunbo, danfo, buka and k-leg, guber and mama put.

OED explained why the additions were made:

“By taking ownership of English and using it as their own medium of expression, Nigerians have made, and are continuing to make, a unique and distinctive contribution to English as a global language. We highlight their contributions in this month’s update of the Oxford English Dictionary, as a number of Nigerian English words make it into the dictionary for the first time.

“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.

“One particularly interesting set of such loanwords and coinages has to do with Nigerian street food. The word buka, borrowed from Hausa and Yoruba and first attested in 1972, refers to a roadside restaurant or street stall that sells local fare at low prices. Another term for such eating places first evidenced in 1980 is bukateria, which adds to buka the –teria ending from the word cafeteria. An even more creative synonym is mama put, from 1979, which comes from the way that customers usually order food in a buka: they say ‘Mama, put…’ to the woman running the stall, and indicate the dish they want. The word later became a generic name for the female food vendors themselves—Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka notably includes a Mama Put character in one of his works”.

Now according to the Oxford dictionary, Tokunbo, originally the name of a person born overseas now denotes “an imported second-hand product, esp. a car.”

“By focusing on contemporary language in this update, and adding words and phrases that form part of the everyday vocabulary of today’s Nigerians, we hope to give a flavour of English-speaking which, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it, is rooted in a Nigerian experience”, OED said.

Here is the list of the Nigerian words in Oxford English dictionary:

agric, adj. & n.

barbing salon, n .

buka, n.

bukateria, n.

chop, v./6

chop-chop, n./2

danfo, n.

to eat money, in eat, v.

ember months, n.

flag-off, n.

to flag off in flag, v.

gist, n./3

gist, v./2

guber, adj.

Kannywood, n.

K-leg, n.

mama put, n.

next tomorrow, n. & adv.

non-indigene, adj. & n.

okada, n.

to put to bed, in put, v.

qualitative, adj.

to rub minds (together) in rub, v./1

sef, adv.

send-forth, n.

severally, adv.

tokunbo, adj.

zone, v.

zoning, n.

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