CAN ARSENAL DELIVER THE ULTIMATE INSULT TO TOTTENHAM? Tottenham Hotspur were held to a 2-2 draw away to Chelsea on Monday night which handed the Premier League title to Leicester City, and now Arsenal have a chance to pile misery onto the suffering Londoners by pipping them to the runners-up spot.

Arsenal are breathing down the necks of their North London rivals, and stand a real chance of maintaining their long-standing record of having finished above them in the Premier League table. Currently third with 67 points from 36 games, the Gunners are just three points adrift of Tottenham with two games still to play, and have been in better in recent weeks.

Arsene Wenger’s man have amassed two more points in the last three games than Spurs, who have drawn their last two outings, and now Arsenal have real motivation to end the season strongly. A trip to face Manchester City precedes a home clash against already-relegated Aston Villa, so there’s a chance Arsenal can at least pick up one win.

Tottenham have a strong Southampton side and then travel to face a relegation-threatened Newcastle outfit in good form, so have a real challenge to get their Premier League campaign back on track. The Spurs players suffered real indiscipline against Chelsea, and could well be without one more player through retrospective suspension.

As a result, they could crumble in their two remaining games, while an in-form Arsenal may flourish. Arsenal are 11/2 to finish in the top-two, but can they deliver?



When Bobo Omotayo wrote and published London Life, Lagos Living — a collection of short stories predominately based on the author’s life experiences in Lagos — in November 2011, he did not expect that it would make a grand entrance into the literary circle.

But it did. The book launched the author-cum-public relations practitioner into literary fame as he also toured major cities across the country delivering speeches on several youth platforms. Also, that same year, he was one of the two young people selected by MTV Networks Africa to be panellists at the launch press conference for the MTV Base Meets, a pan-African multimedia campaign designed to inspire African youth by connecting them with some of the world’s most influential personalities.

“The overwhelming public support for the book is testament that its subject matters resonated with tens of thousands of Nigerians at home and abroad. London Life, Lagos Living, is a collection of short-Lagos life observations turned ‘stories’. The stories were not particularly peculiar to me; they were tales of many Lagosians and subsequently Nigerians,” Omotayo told Arts Dome recently.

Omotayo, who had his early secondary and higher education in Scotland and England respectively, however said the unique lifestyle in Nigeria’s commercial capital city remains unchanged since he published the book. “Lagos remains the same and is still as fascinating a subject as ever; I’m a people watcher, observing people in my favourite city is a treasured pastime,” he noted.

Omotayo has since gone on to write his second book, Honourable, which he described as an ambitious part-fiction novel following the organisation of a 2011 political campaign.

He said, “Honourable is a different type of literature from London Life, Lagos Living. It opened new doors for me as a writer. The story follows the trials of the campaign management team tasked to organise the lead character’s election into the Ogun State House of Assembly. The team has to overcome the challenge of having an inexperienced candidate, as well as inevitable logistical difficulties, smear campaigns and troublesome financiers.”

What is his inspiration, despite his nine-to-five job as a public relations practitioner? “I’m fascinated by three things; the Lagos elite, the political class, and domestic employees. I have written about two of these subject matters,” said the author.

Copyright PUNCH.


TOP 10 WORDS NIGERIANS COMMONLY MISSPELLEnglish is a notoriously aphonetic language. That is, there is often a vast disconnect between its orthography (i.e., its method of representing sounds by written or printed symbols) and its sound system. No one captured this peculiarity more colorfully than George Bernard Shaw, one of England’s most imaginative writers of all time, who once quipped that it is entirely probable that the word “ghoti” could be pronounced “fish” if you followed some of English’s quirky spelling conventions, by which he meant “gh” could be “f” as it is in the word “tough,” “o” could be “i” as it is in the word “women,” and “ti” could be “sh” as it is in the word “nation.”

Although what follows is a list of common spelling errors in Nigerian written English, it needs to be pointed out that native speakers of the English language are just as awful with spellings as the rest of us non-native speakers of the language—if not more so. This fact is further proof of the sociolinguistic axiom that there are no native writers of any language, since writing is a deliberate, learned activity; there are only native speakers of languages because speech can be—and often is—acquired effortlessly.

But English has got to be the most “misspelled language” in the world, and this is ironically demonstrated by the fact that even the word “misspell” is itself one of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language!

Other commonly misspelled words in the English-speaking (or should say English-writing) world are “truely” (instead of “truly”), “arguement” (instead of “argument”), “playright” (instead of “playwright”), “strenght” (instead of “strength”), “hypocrasy” (instead of “hypocrisy”), etc. With the advent of textese (i.e., the distinctive language and spelling conventions of cellphone text messages) English spelling is taking an even worse turn than previously thought.

It was this realization that persuaded a university lecturer by the name of Ken Smith who teaches in Britain’s Bucks New University to suggest that we should begin to accept frequently misspelled words as legitimate variants. For starters, he says, we should admit the following frequent misspellings into the pantheon of English spelling variants: “ignor,” [ignore] “occured,” [occurred] “thier,” [their] “truely,” [truly] “speach,” [speech] “twelth” [twelfth], “mispelt,” [misspelt], and “varient” [variant].

But it’s easy to see that Smith’s suggestion is a recipe for orthographic anarchy. Plus, to dignify clear spelling errors as “variants” amounts to rewarding laziness and sloppiness And, more importantly, where should it stop once it starts? Who gets to determine what deviations should be rewarded with admission into the pantheon of variants? Should non-native English speakers like Nigerians and Indians normalize their own spelling errors as legitimate variants as well?

Well, I have identified below the 10 commonest misspellings I’ve encountered in Nigerian written English.

1. “Goodluck.” This is probably the most misspelled word in Nigeria today. The reason is obvious: it’s the first name of Nigeria’s current president, Goodluck Jonathan. But there is no word like “goodluck”–or, its other variant, badluck– in the English language; there is only “good luck”–and “bad luck.” Good luck denotes an auspicious state resulting from favorable outcomes, a stroke of luck, or an unexpected piece of good fortune. That someone would be named “Good Luck” (which has now been rendered “Goodluck” in error) is itself evidence of insufficient familiarity with the rules and idiomatic rhythm of the English language.

2. “Defination.” There is no letter “a” in the spelling of that word. Replace the “a” with an “i” to have “definItion.” Related misspelled words are “definAtely” instead of “definitely,” “definAte,” instead of “definIte,” etc.

3. “Alot.” That is not an English word. The closest resemblance to that word in the English language is the phrase “a lot.” Since no one writes “alittle,” “afew,” “abit,” etc, it is indefensible that people write “alot.” But this is a universal spelling error in the English-speaking world; it is not limited to Nigerians. Other cousins of this spelling error are “Infact” instead of “in fact” and “inspite” instead of “in spite.”

4. “Loose/lose.” Many Nigerians use the word “loose” when they actually mean to write “lose.” Loose is commonly used as an adjective to denote the state of not being tight (as in: loose clothes). Other popular uses include the sense of being casual and unrestrained in sexual behavior (as in: loose women), lacking a sense of restraint or responsibility (as in: “Goodluck Jonathan’s loose tongue”). Although “loose” can sometimes be used as a verb, “loosen” is the preferred word to express the sense of making something less tight or strict. “Lose,” on the hand, is to cease to have, or to fail to win, or suffer the loss of a person through death, etc. A safe bet is to choose to err on the side of “lose” when you want to express an action.

5. “Priviledge.” There is no “d” in the spelling of that word. It’s spelled “privilege.”

6. “Nonchallant.” It’s actually spelled with only one “l.” Unfortunately, even news reports in Nigerian newspapers habitually spell the word with double “l.” I wonder if they’ve disabled their spell check.

7. “Grammer.” There is no “e” in the word. Replace the pesky “e” with an “a” to have “grammAr.” I’ve read posts on Nigerian Internet discussion forums and on Facebook railing against “bad grammer”! Well, if you feel sufficiently concerned about bad grammar to write about it, you’d better damn well know how to spell grammar! To be fair, this misspelling isn’t exclusively Nigerian, but its regularity in popular writing in Nigeria qualifies it as a candidate for this list. The people I have a hard time forgiving are those who attend or attended secondary schools with “grammar school” as part of their names (such as my old secondary school, which is called Baptist Grammar School) but spell “grammar” with an “e.” I see that a lot on Facebook. Such people deserve to be stripped of the certificates they got from their high schools!

8. “Proffessor.” The name for the highest ranking position for a university academic (in British usage) and any full-time or part-time member of the teaching staff of a university (in American usage) is never spelled with double “f.” It’s correctly spelled “professor.” So if “proffessor” is wrong, “proff” is equally wrong. The British and Canadian colloquial abbreviation for “professor” is “prof.”

9. “Pronounciation.” Although the verb form of this word is “pronounce,” it changes to “pronunciation” when it nominalizes, that is, when it changes into a noun. Note that there is no “o” after the first “n” in the word.

10. “Emanciated.” It should correctly be spelled “emaciated.” There is no “n” in the word. This widespread spelling error in Nigerian written English is the direct result of the way we (mis)pronounce the word. An “n” sound almost always intrudes on our pronunciation of the word, much like it does in our pronunciation of “attorney,” so that most Nigerians say “antoni-general” of the federation. A related misspelling is “expantiate.” It should be “expatiate.” There is no “n” after the first “a.”

By Farooq A. Kperogi