BBC launches Pidgin language service for Africa

The BBC's Pidgin stories.
The BBC's Pidgin stories. Photo credit: BBC

Venerable news provider and protector of the English language, the BBC, has launched a new news service - this time in Pidgin.

The digital service will provide West and Central Africans with online content.

"Dis new service go dey on top digital platforms and go use Pidgin wey dem dey speak for West and Central Africa as dem language," the BBC says.

Current headlines include "Yemen: Suffer-suffer too much for children" and "Guinea: Na 10 die as mountain of dirty collapse".

Pidgin is the popular language for the continent, which began in the late 17th and 18th centuries as a combination of basic English and local ethnic languages as a way of helping trade.

Stripped of complicated grammar and with few rules, it has become an easy to understand lingua franca - and wildly popular. More people across anglophone west and central Africa are fluent in Pidgin than in English.

"Pidgin na informal language wey dey unite people for West and Central Africa," BBC editorial lead Bilkisu Labaran says.

The launch is part of the BBC's World Service's biggest expansion since the 1940s, which will see Pidgin joined by another 10 new services across Africa and Asia.

It will provide a mixture of local and international news, aimed at digitally focused youths.

"BBC World Service don talk say di new language service wey dem aim at younger audiences wey dey use smart phones and computers go report news, women mata, culture, entertainment, science, technology, health, sport including di English Premiership wey people dey enjoy well, well," the BBC says.

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