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Due to the ethnic make-up of the country, communication styles vary.In the southwest, where the people are from the Yoruba tribe, people’s communication employs proverbs, sayings and even songs to enrich the meaning of what they say.It is common to gaze at the forehead or shoulders of someone they do not know well.Very direct eye contact may be interpreted as being intrusive unless there is a longstanding personal relationship.Individuals turn to members of the extended family for financial aid and guidance, and the family is expected to provide for the welfare of every member. Age is believed to confer wisdom so older people are granted respect.Although the role of the extended family is diminishing somewhat in urban areas, there remains a strong tradition of mutual caring and responsibility among the members. The oldest person in a group is revered and honoured.At the same time, there are some Nigerians who are extremely direct communicators and have no difficulty stating what is on their minds.
Communication commences with polite inquiries into the welfare of the person and his family. Therefore, foreigners who take the time to get to know the Nigerian as a person are considered friends and welcomed into a Nigerian’s inner circle of family and close friends.
The official language of Nigeria, English, was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country post-colonization by the British.
The major native languages spoken in Nigeria represent three major families of African languages - the majority are Niger-Congo languages, such as Yoruba, Ibo, the Hausa language is Afro-Asiatic; and Kanuri, spoken in the northeast, primarily Borno State, is a member of the Nilo-Saharan family.
At the same time, a harsh tone is considered unwelcoming and even hostile.
Nigerians prefer facial expressions that imply empathy and believe an indifferent facial expression indicates that a person is ignorant or obnoxious.
You may also find their tone slightly louder than elsewhere.