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Jun 15, 2019

The Reason Why “In all ramifications” Does Not Mean “In all aspects” Except in Metaphorical Sense

The Reason Why “In all ramifications” Does Not Mean “In all aspects” Except in Metaphorical Sense
Nigerian English speakers say "in all ramifications" to mean "in all aspects," or "in all dimensions." However, "ramifications" (note that it's often pluralized) is widely understood among native English speakers to mean an "unwelcome consequence," as in, "The murder of the soldier is bound to have grave ramifications for the community."

"Ramification" is a derivative of "ramify," which literally means to grow branches. So, ramification can mean branches, an arrangement of branching parts, units of a complex structure, etc. as in, "he broke off one of the ramifications." I think when Nigerian English speakers say "in all ramifications" to mean "in all aspects," or "in all dimensions," they are metaphorically extending the literal meaning of ramification (i.e., the branches of a tree). Although the usage is unidiomatic and nonstandard, I think it is legitimate. Unfortunately, native English speakers are unlikely to understand this peculiarly Nigerian usage of the term.

© Prof. Farooq A. Kperogi

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