Linguicism: The Anglicisation of Catholic Worship in the Archdiocese of Lagos

  • Carol Anyagwa Department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria
Keywords: Linguicism, Liturgy, Latin, Vernacular, Lagos Archdiocese


Language has always been known to be central to religious worship to the point that particular religions tend to hold on to particular languages as sacred or official. This study, using data from a questionnaire administered on Catholics selected from seven out of the fifteen deaneries in the Archdiocese of Lagos, Nigeria, investigates the dominant linguistic pattern of Catholic liturgy in the archdiocese. It reveals a case of unconscious linguicism resulting in a tendency towards monolingualism and the domination of English over Latin (the language of liturgy and of most sacred and official documents of the Church) and indigenous Nigerian languages. By extension, the study traces the root of the threatening extinction of the mother tongue to the place of worship, taking into cognizance the contributions of the home and school.