LANGUAGE EMPOWERMENT AS STRATEGY FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION: AN INVESTIGATION OF MONOLINGUAL TRADING IN A MULTILINGUAL BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN NIGERIA
This study investigated the effect of monolingualism on trading involving female traders in the ancient town of Ile-Oluji, Nigeria. The aim was to determine whether (or not) the traders’ inability to speak an additional language in a multilingual community had effect on their businesses. Ten monolingual indigenous traders were selected for the study. Their trading transactions were observed and recorded for five consecutive market days each. Using Conversation Analysis, the focus of analysis was turn and transaction initiations, incomplete turns, negotiation move initiation and success or failure of transactions. It was found that when buyers and sellers spoke the same (indigenous) language, transactions and turns were largely initiated by the (monolingual) sellers as against when both sellers and buyers spoke different languages. In the same-language scenarios, sellers and buyers flowed smoothly in bargaining; transactions were largely successful and items of bargaining were sold at selling prices. In different language scenarios, however, transactions were largely unsuccessful; bargainings were not smooth, and items of bargaining were sold above selling prices. It was concluded that language had impact on sales, and the more languages sellers could speak, the more their sales and profit in a multilingual business environment.