“Letters from Africa: Nigeria’s Disappearing Storytellers”

The BBC this morning has a story which talks about the decline in the level of English used in Nigeria.  The article starts out talking about the fact that in 2015 the “Nigeria Prize for Literature announced that there would be no winner for 2015.”  The prize is only given for books written in English and it was reported that the entries had many errors.


(accessed on 25 October 2015 at 0600 GMT)

In this BBC article which derides the mistakes in English in Nigeria I found at least two mistakes.  I am not blaming the author for these mistakes.  I have had editors add mistakes to my writing.  I just found it fittingly ironic that the premier English language news service in an article talking about the English language mistakes made by Nigerians itself contains mistakes in English.

I have marked the first mistake in bold and underlined it.  I believe the word intended was supposed to be “at” and not “as”.

“In our series of letters from African journalists, Nigerian novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani considers if Nigerians are getting worse as writing good stories.”

Here is the second example.  There is a section which talks about the English language mistakes made by former first lady Patience Goodluck.  Please note that this is the “first lady” and not the “first lad”.  Again I have added bold and underlining.

“And when she paid a hospital visit to some victims of a Boko Haram attack in Abuja, the former first lad expressed satisfaction that “the doctors and nurses are responding well to treatment”.”

These are mistakes which I noticed on a quick first read through. I note that these are the sorts of mistakes a computer’s spell checker would not catch since each word is a correctly spelled word in English.

I read the article because I was hoping it would talk about the traditional oral storytellers in Nigeria.  I continued reading the article for the delicious irony.

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