My tutorial mentor, David Jowitt, who has died aged 82, made an infinite contribution to Nigerian English scholarship and spent greater than 50 years educating in faculties, faculties and universities in Nigeria.
His devotion to the nation led him to take a eager curiosity within the methods by which Nigerian folks communicate and write English, and his observations on that topic gave delivery to a e-book, Nigerian English Utilization, revealed in 1991.
He additionally wrote many analysis articles on facets of Nigerian English and have become a worldwide determine within the topic. As well as, his e-book Widespread Errors in English was a lot in demand inside secondary faculties in Nigeria from the Eighties.
David was born in Hackney, east London, to James, a supply driver, and Catherine (nee Kitt), a seamstress and milliner. Raised in Wooden Inexperienced, he was educated on the Stationers’ Firm’s faculty (1952-59), earlier than gaining a historical past diploma at Magdalene Faculty, Cambridge.
Pushed by a need to discover the world, he arrived in Nigeria in 1962 at a time when, following Nigeria’s independence in 1960, many British expatriates had been heading again to the UK.
His first educating place, in 1963, was on the Anglican grammar faculty in Ubulu-Uku, the place he taught a variety of topics, together with English, historical past, Latin, French and advantageous artwork. After two years there he returned to the UK to review for a postgraduate educating course (1965-66).
Determined to return to Nigeria, he then took up a job at Dennis Memorial grammar faculty in Onitsha, the place he taught historical past and English.
Shortly afterwards the Nigerian civil warfare broke out, and after a brief spell again within the UK he taught English in Libya (1971-73). Going again to Nigeria after the warfare, he started educating English on the Federal Faculty of Training in Okene earlier than turning into a senior lecturer at Bayero College in 1987. Rising to the rank of professor in 1998, he taught there till transferring in 2005 to the College of Jos as a professor of English, remaining in that publish till his loss of life.
Through the years David produced a lot academic materials for Nigerian faculties, particularly textbooks, together with Gateway to English for Junior Secondary Faculties (2005). I used to be a beneficiary of David’s good-heartedness, having stayed below his mental tutelage since 2008 after I first met him.
A speaker of 4 Nigerian languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Ebira – he formally turned a Nigerian citizen earlier this yr.
He stated to me that one of many causes he remained in Nigeria was that he had change into too “Nigerianised” to suit again into British tradition. He particularly beloved the Nigerians’ means to chortle, regardless of the numerous issues they face inside their nation.
He’s survived by his sister Audrey.