This project examines the Effect of Slang on the use of English Language of undergraduates. Attempts are made to trace the advent of slang and the growth of slang usage among Nigeria. The various definitions of slang are equally examined and discussed by different linguists. A corpus of data (slangs) involving students conversation were observed, processed and analyzed. The effect of slang on English Language on undergraduates are also discussed. The study reveals the prevalence of slang usage in informal contexts and situations as well as the stretches of the use of slang or features even in formal context and formal discourse. To test the validity of this work students of Ekiti State University were observed in different faculties, which was observed by the researcher and making the students unaware, and were carefully analyzed. The data (slangs) analysed feature the slang used by the students and its effect on the English Language of undergraduates.     





This chapter presents the background to the study, purpose of the study, research hypotheses and significance of the study and scope of the terms.

1.1       Background to the Study

English had been widely used in Nigeria and in all facets of education.  This seems to be the most important functions of English in our society, and the adoption of the English Language in Nigeria is a result of the need for the Language to perform varying functions, which are: Official function, as the official language in Nigeria, English is the language used in transacting government business.  It is the language used by the judiciary, legislative and the executive arms of government.  It serves as a National Language in the sense that it would look odd to wake up one day and listen to the President of Nigeria making a national broadcast in Hausa or Yoruba for any reason at all; it is expected that the broadcast is done in English – National Language.

Despite the arguments put against the acceptance of English as the Nigerian Lingua franca, it still remains, to a large extent; the Language that has the widest coverage in Nigeria.

The medium of instruction in Nigerian schools is English, from the senior primary classes to tertiary institutions. Apart from the teaching of indigenous languages in Nigeria, teaching is largely done in Nigeria.  The language “Logo” of Nigeria in any International conference or proceedings is English.

The government of Nigeria officially relates with the international community using the English Language.  Whenever Nigeria is represented at any regional, sub-regional and international for a. the English Language is used by the representatives.

With the attainment of independence, English gradually, grew to become the major medium for inter-ethnic communication owning to the multi-cultural and multi-lingua nature of Nigeria, there is the need for the adoption of a language that acts across cultural barriers; the English Language is the language. Given the many ethnic groups that exists in Nigeria, the problem of inter-ethnic is solved with the adoption of the English. Inter-cultural communication is therefore largely done in English language.

Most major Nigerian newspapers and journals are printed in English and most news broadcasts are done in English by Nigerian radio and television stations.

English is not only a subject on the school curriculum, it is made compulsory by Nigerian Education policy maker, because a student seeking admission into any higher institution  in Nigeria is required to have a credit pass in English language as a pre-requisite for admission into any department in Nigeria tertiary institutions.

Language has been severally defined, According to (Sapir 1968:8) It is “a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desire, by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols”. Language is one of the most enduring artifacts of culture. Nigeria is richly “blessed” with a multiplicity of languages. Language is part and parcel of the social man and his many varied interests, aspiration, and activities. There is no way in which human society could exist without speech.

In every community /society; there are sub-group who are pursuing the same interest.These groups use some special language that is different from the general language of their immediate environment in communicating within themselves.

This special language is different from one group to the other so much that, if a member of a group finds himself or herself in another group, he/she will find it difficult to communicate effectively in such a new group. Such special wages are simply referred to as slangs.

Slangs are one of the special languages or ways used for communication in one group or the other. Therefore, slang are kind of language in which words and phrases are used in unconventional ways. Slangs are  words; phrase; or meanings that are flashy new and popular usually for only a short time.

According to Longmans dictionary of contemporary English it defines slang as;

“Very informal language that include new and sometimes rude words, especially words by a particular group of people such as criminals, school children or people who take – hug”

It consists of a lexicon of non-standard words and phrases in a given language. Use of these words are phrases is typically is typically associated with the subversion of a standard variety (such as standard English ) and is likely to be interpreted by listeners as implying  particular attitude on the part of the speaker.


Adams(2009) remarks that “Slang is luminal language …….it is often impossible to tell, even in context which interest and motives it serves………..slang is on the edge.

It is often difficult to differentiate slang form colloquialism and even more standard language, because slang generally becomes accepted into the standard lexicon overtime. Words such as “spurious” and “strenuous” were once slang though they are now accepted as standard even high registered words.

Statement of the Problem

There is need to study the effect of slang on the English language of undergraduates. This research will look into the reasons for using slangs and its effect on the English language of undergraduates. Some student use slangs to show that they are different to other to achieve an interesting even a startling or rather shocking effect to be brief and concise.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to find out or discover the effect of slangs on the English language of undergraduates from Ekiti State University. Also to discover the various slangs which the undergraduates are fond of using and the reasons for using such slangs. To differentiate between English language slangs, Jargons, creoles etc for they are not the same.

1.4       Research Hypothesis

The researcher intends to carry out some research which will cover the hypothesis to ensure unbiased investigation.

  1. There is a relationship between the use for slang and students academic achievement.
  2. There is a contraction between the use of slangs and students academic performance.
  • There is positive and negative effects of the use of slangs on student academic achievement/ performance.

1.5       Significance of the Study

This research will be of great importance to student, teachers, policy makers and publishers. It will be of great benefit to schools in order to improve students ability in English language both in oral and written aspect and also bring to mind the effect of slangs on the English language of student. Also to correct the expression those who are used to the usage of slangs.

1.6       Delimitation of the Study

This research will use students from Ekiti State University only. The following faculties shall be involved;

  • Education
  • Languages
  • Sciences
  • Arts and Social Sciences
  • Vocational and Technical Education

1.7       Definition of Terms

Slang: language outside of conventional usage or a specialized language of a social group.

Cant: An argot, the jargon of a particular class or sub group.

Argot: A secret language or conventional slang peculiar to thieves tramps and vagabonds.

Jargons: Language characteristic of particular group. Speech that is incomprehensible or unintelligible gibberish.

Language: A system that relates sound or gesture to meaning or a system of arbitrary symbol used for human communication.