Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lilia P. Savova, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Thomas J. Slater, Ph.D.


This study examines biases against the use of Nigerian Pidgin English in social settings. It also compares the usage between those who speak the preferred Standard English versus those who speak the Nonstandard English, Nigerian Pidgin English by analyzing the conversations between the two parental couples in the "Nollywood" film Wise In-Laws. Also, this study examines the subtle conversational structures that prevent or enable Nigerian Pidgin English speakers from being successful or unsuccessful in arguments and in confrontations with their Standard English speaking interlocutors. In order to find answers to my research questions, I used a mixed method design which entailed the use of Conversation Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, and Speech Acts Theory to analyze the conversations in the film Wise In-Laws. The research data collected was based on the conversations between the two parental families from the film. A set of criteria based on the Jeffersonian Notation Transcription was used to transcribe the conversations in the film Wise In-Laws. Following that process, Leeuwen's recontextualization through legitimation approach was used to place the conversations into sections based on the four categories of legitimation. Speech Acts Theory was utilized to determine which speech acts occurred in the film. The findings from the study suggest that Nigerian Pidgin English speakers were successful in their rebuttal against accusations made against them in the film; however, because of their socioeconomic status and use of Nigerian Pidgin English, they were labeled as "barbaric" and "uneducated" throughout the film.