To Pidgin or not to Pidgin? That is the question. I’ve been having this debate with the guys in the studio, Bino and Fino fans and others for over a year now. Do we do a pidgin English version of the show? I know for some, the immediate answer is ‘NO!’. I understand that response and I also felt the same way to be honest. However some of the arguments for the ’YES’ camp have been really compelling and have made me think.
So to settle this once and for all we decided to produce an animated segment that had two versions. One in standard English and the other in pidgin English. In the segment we have Bino from the cartoon learning about the colour red. That way people can have a taste of it and have a debate based on something they have seen.
Those who are for the idea are not saying that pidgin should be taught in schools. It’s more about inclusion. Many parts of the population in Nigeria have pidgin English either as a first ’language’ or a strong second. That’s the current state today. Now do you exclude those children who fall under that bracket? When adverts or public health /service campaigns need to have maximum reach and efficiency they always produce pidgin versions of their content within the respective media campaigns. Whether it’s AIDS awareness, malaria, or just selling milk. Can’t the pidgin version be used to also educate children and form a bridge between them and standard English? Some teachers have told me that in some schools to help pidgin English speaking children learn standard English they have to speak in pidgin English. And of course some argue that English itself was a broken form of Latin with borrowed words from Greek and a host of other languages.
I believe in inclusion and I want Bino and Fino to be accessible to as many children as possible. That’s the long term goal. Would creating a pidgin English version be a proper way of doing that? That’s the question.
Watch both versions and join the debate.