“Moslem,”“Jour­ney Mer­cies,”“Stay blessed”: Q and A on Nige­rian Re­li­gious English and more

Is it “Moslem” or “Mus­lim”? Are the ex­pres­sions “re­main blessed” or “stay blessed” uniquely Nige­rian? Can “guys” be used to re­fer to both men and women? Is “ma­jorly” a le­git­i­mate word? You will find an­swers to these and many other ques­tions in this week’s

Sunday Trust - - DISCOURSE - [Twit­ter: fa­rooqkper­ogi@gmail.com @fa­rooqkper­ogi <https://twit­ter.com/fa­rooqkper­ogi> with

AQues­tion: Mus­lim friend of mine took of­fence when I spelled Mus­lim as “Moslem.” I told him Moslem is the ac­cepted English spell­ing and that Mus­lim is the Ara­bic ren­di­tion. Since I am speak­ing or writ­ing English I thought I should use the ac­cepted English spell­ing. Can you help me ed­u­cate my friend?

An­swer: Your friend may be a lit­tle too thin-skinned for his own good if he takes of­fense at the mere (mis) spell­ing of a word, but his ob­jec­tion to the spell­ing of “Mus­lim” as “Moslem” has ba­sis in mod­ern English. Most mod­ern dic­tio­nar­ies and style guides now pre­fer “Mus­lim” to “Moslem.” The Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary, for in­stance, says “Mus­lim is the pre­ferred spell­ing for a ‘fol­lower of Is­lam’…. The ar­chaic term Muham­madan (or Mo­hammedan) …should be avoided.”

The 2017 edi­tion of the As­so­ci­ated Press Style­book, Amer­ica’s most pres­ti­gious jour­nal­is­tic style guide, also writes: “Mus­lims [is] the pre­ferred term to de­scribe ad­her­ents of Is­lam.” Fi­nally, in their book Long­man Guide to English Us­age, Pro­fes­sors Sid­ney Green­baum and Janet Whit­cut, two of Britain’s most cel­e­brated gram­mar­i­ans, wrote: “The ad­her­ents of Is­lam are now usu­ally re­ferred to as Mus­lims, rather than the older form Moslems.”

So, in essence, many ed­u­cated na­tive speak­ers of the English lan­guage no longer spell Mus­lim as “Moslem.” This change is a re­sponse to the pref­er­ence of Mus­lims. Re­lated spellings that have changed over the years are Qur’an (in­stead of the now ar­chaic “Ko­ran”) and Muham­mad (in­stead of “Mo­hammed” or the older, more ar­chaic “Ma­homet”). The changes are also a re­sponse to the preferences of Mus­lims, although many Mus­lims still spell Muham­mad as “Mo­hammed” even in the Mid­dle East, the birth­place of Is­lam.

Ques­tion: I have a ques­tion for your col­umn. “Stay blessed” and “re­main blessed,” are these Nige­rian ex­pres­sions? What are about “jour­ney mer­cies”?

An­swer: “Stay blessed” or “re­main blessed” (some­times in­cor­rectly writ­ten as “stay bless” or “re­main bless”) are not ex­actly uniquely Nige­rian English ex­pres­sions, but Nige­ri­ans use them way more fre­quently than na­tive English speak­ers do. These ex­pres­sions, which are of­ten used to sign off let­ters and emails, are scarcely used by the gen­eral pop­u­la­tions in Amer­ica and Britain. Only very re­li­gious, com­pul­sively church­go­ing peo­ple in Amer­ica, and per­haps Britain, use them. The gen­eral pop­u­la­tions in Amer­ica and Britain end their emails with ex­pres­sions like “kind re­gards,” “best,” “best wishes,” “take care,” etc.

The ex­pres­sion “I wish you jour­ney mer­cies” is also church lingo in Amer­ica. The gen­eral pop­u­la­tion says “I wish you a safe trip” or just “have a safe trip.” Be­fore writ­ing this re­sponse, I asked a num­ber of Amer­i­cans if they would un­der­stand me if I said “jour­ney mer­cies” to them. Of the 10 or so peo­ple I asked, only one had any clue what the ex­pres­sion meant, and that one per­son is a church­goer who said she would never use the ex­pres­sion in every­day set­tings.

But Nige­ri­ans are overtly, some would say overly, re­li­gious peo­ple, and this re­flects in their lan­guage use.

Ques­tion: I have two ques­tions. First, is there a word like “ma­jorly”? I have been un­able to find it in any of the dic­tio­nar­ies avail­able to me. Sec­ond, does one move the adop­tion of the min­utes of a meet­ing or move for the adop­tion?

An­swer: Yes, “ma­jorly” is a le­git­i­mate word. It means ex­tremely, mainly, chiefly, etc. Ex­am­ples of the

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