Technically English is the official language of Nigeria, but in a country with well over 250 other local languages, Pidgin was developed to aid communication among people from different parts of the country.
Pidgin is an English-based local dialect which is used predominantly by drivers, cooks and domestic staff in households. It is also spoken my widely within society at every level. So having an understanding of some phrases will help you navigate more effectively in Nigeria.
1. No wahala (“No problem”)
2. How Bodi? / How You Dey? – How are you doing today?
3. How Far? – Hey, Hi
4. Wetin? – What?
5. I no no – I don’t know
6. I no sabi – I don’t understand
7. I dey fine – I’m fine. I’m doing well.
8. Wetin dey happen? – What’s going on? What’s happening?
9. I wan chop – I’m hungry
10. Wétin dey? – What’s up/What’s going on?
11. Where the bathroom dey? – Where is the bathroom?
12. Make you turn left / right – Turn left / right
13. Wahala – Problem/Trouble. Example – Why you dey give me wahala? Which means why are you giving me so many problems?
14. Comot! – Get out of here!
15. Comot for road – Make way
16. Dem send you? – Have you been sent to torment me?
17. Gi mi – Give it to me.
18. K-leg – Questionable. Example – Your story get k-leg! Which means your story or gist sounds suspect or exaggerated.
19. I Wan Chop – I want to eat
20. Come chop – Come and eat
21. Abeg – Please, but usually not a repentant plea. Example – Abeg! No waste my time!; Which means Please! Don’t waste my time!
22. Vex – Upset. Example – Make you no vex me! ; Which means “Don’t upset me!”
23. I no gree – I don’t agree, I disagree
24. Abi? – Isn’t it?
25. Na so? – Is that so?
26. Wayo – Trickery. Example – That man be wayo; which means “that man is a fraud!”
27. Area boys –Street-smart young men that loiter around neighborhoods.
28. Butta my bread – Answered prayers. Example – “God don butta my bread” which means God has answered my prayers
29. Go slow – Traffic jam
30. I go land you slap – I will slap you!
31. Listen well well – Pay attention
32. You do well – Thank you
33. You dey ginger my swagger – literally, you spice up my swagger, meaning they have a happy/inspiring effect on you.
34. Shine your eye – which means be streetsmart/aware/keep your eyes open