It’s the latest nod for Nigerian English as a variant of its own. Last year, Google introduced a “Nigerian English” option on its Maps service, complete with a Nigerian voice and accent. “It’s a variant of English that has come to stay and is as valid as others,” says Kola Tubosun, linguist and 2016 Quartz Africa Innovator honoree who led the team that developed the Nigerian accent and voice for Google. With updates happening quarterly, there’s a chance more Nigerian English words may yet be added to the dictionary as they gain more currency, Tubosun says.

The rapid global rise of Nigerian pop culture across music, film and literature over the last two decades with Afrobeats, Nollywood and writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has meant the Nigerian use of English has more listeners and readers than ever before.

Nigerian English isn’t alone in being recognized for offering new word additions to English globally though: over 900 words and phrases that are distinctive to Indian English have also been added to the Oxford Dictionary. Last December, 24 South African English words were also added to the dictionary including Shackland, defined as slums where people live without official permission, and Howzit, a casual greeting and shorter version of “how’s it going?”

As it turns out, several words and phrases that make up Nigerian English originate from yet another variant of English that’s popular in the country: Pidgin English. A mix of English, words from local languages and a range of street slang, Pidgin English is believed to have developed as a way for foreign merchants to communicate with locals in West Africa during the trans-Atlantic slave trade era. And the informal language has proven durable as it is now spoken by millions in Nigeria—and across West Africa—as an alternative to English. It has also become the language of choice for international media looking to boost their reach in the region.

But despite growing international recognition, Nigerian English still faces some acceptance hurdles back home. For instance, Tubosun believes teachers in Nigerian schools will likely frown at students incorporating Nigerian English phrases in examinations despite using those same words during teaching lessons.

The hope however is that the inclusions in OED might signal a shift. “We need an educational system that is responsive to this,” Tubosun says.  “You don’t have to keep depending on the old standard because the language has evolved and changed.”

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