Where did they pick up English words? For the traders, it is simply part of their trading strategies. Most Nigerian traders who come from Nigeria to shop in the market don’t speak any word of French so the Beninese Yorubas had to learn some English words for dealing with Nigerian traders. Other Beninese Yoruba speakers told me that they picked up English words from Nigerian Yoruba movies. More power to Nollywood, non?
It is always interesting to speak Yoruba with Beninese Yoruba speakers. I – like most Nigerian Yoruba speakers – don’t speak Yoruba without code-mixing, and the other language in the mélange is almost always English. Therefore, when I am speaking with a Beninese Yoruba speaker, I am very careful not to add in English words. But since I cannot speak straight Yoruba without having to pause to think about how to express certain thoughts in Yoruba I find myself code-mixing with French. I end up adding words like eglise, ecole, l’argent, nettoyer etc. But then, the Beninese, knowing that I am a Nigerian, (even when they know that I understand French) add English words. The confusion is always interesting; while I say l’argent they say money, and while I say Lundi they say Monday.