Sexisms in Nigerian Pidgin and (Nigerian) English: ‘Wetin Man Go Do’ About No ‘Goddess’, No ‘Spinster of Arts’ and ‘Mistress Of Science’


  • Omowumi Olabode Steven Ekundayo Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, Benin City
  • Agore Bridget Okoh Department of Linguistics Studies, University of Benin, Benin City


Sexism, Nigerian Pidgin, Nigerian English, gender-sensitive language, sex and gender


Since the late 1990s and the turn of this millennium, sexism has gained attention in Nigerian English and Literature. Educated Nigerians are becoming more and more sensitive to the use of gender-inclusive and gender-biased expressions. This paper sets out to identify common sexist expressions in Nigerian English and Naija (Nigerian Pidgin and critically interpret them against the backdrop of the Nigerian sociolinguistic milieu. The paper is a sociolinguistic documentation and critique of the use of sexist expressions in the two codes. Data were collected from different sources such as students’ papers, scripts, books, the social media, the Internet and live language events, which the researchers either participated in or listened keenly to and jotted down sexist expressions in the researchers’ diaries. The data thus gathered were numbered and consecutively presented and interpreted. Using Glick and Fiske’s (2001) propositions and Rikki Rogers’ (2014) typology of sexism, the paper established that ‘exclusive’, ‘benevolent’ and ‘hostile’ sexisms are banal in Nigerian English and Nigerian Pidgin, and that such sexist expressions and concepts stoke and sustain concrete acts of sexism in the political, educational, economic, cultural and social spheres of our collective and personal existence. The paper recommends that the educated elite should cultivate the habit of using gender-sensitive language and that sexism should be taught in the General Studies Use of English in tertiary institutions.

Author Biographies

Omowumi Olabode Steven Ekundayo, Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, Benin City, 

Agore Bridget Okoh, Department of Linguistics Studies, University of Benin, Benin City




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How to Cite

Olabode Steven Ekundayo, O., & Bridget Okoh, A. . (2020). Sexisms in Nigerian Pidgin and (Nigerian) English: ‘Wetin Man Go Do’ About No ‘Goddess’, No ‘Spinster of Arts’ and ‘Mistress Of Science’. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 23(1), 242–262. Retrieved from