On Nigerian and Indian Toponyms: Socio-Cultural Divergence and Development
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In onomastic studies, toponyms are defined as place-names or names given to geographical locations which include towns, streets, and tourist centres. It is pertinent to note that India and Nigeria were both British colonies. Thus, English is placed as the official language of business and politics in both countries. However, Indians were quick to understand the power of language, due to the philosophical influence of Mahatma Gandhi, which enabled them to embrace Hindi language early, as a second official language. Deploying onomastics, semiotics, interpretative approach to translation, text analysis and cultural studies, we have selected one hundred (100) toponyms from different parts of India and Nigeria and analysed them in order to show the development of place-names in both countries in the new millennium. In Nigeria, the influence of British English is everywhere in the names of cities, towns, villages, streets, tourist centres, rivers, including ‘Douglas Road’, ‘Wetheral Road’, ‘Owerri’ instead of ‘Owere’, ‘Awka’ instead of ‘Oka’, ‘Warri instead of ‘Wori,’ among others. In India, however, we see indigenized naming forms such as ‘Tilak Nagar’, ‘Mahavir Nagar’, ‘Rama Krishna Ashram Marg’ and ‘Rajiv Chowk’. English language in India is fast dying, while in Nigeria, the reverse is the case. The conclusion reached is that while India is making serious efforts towards a complete linguistic independence, through the development of place-names, Nigeria is promoting anglicised place- names, which is detrimental to the development of indigenous Nigerian languages.
- Visiting Professor of English Linguistics, Noida International University, Greater Noida, Utter Pradesh, India
- South-East Asian Studies, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, (IGNCA), New Delhi, India
- Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria
- Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Faculty of Arts, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria
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