A Linguistics Analysis Of Television Talk Show

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

A Linguistics Analysis Of Television Talk Show


This study seeks to make a linguistic analysis of television talk show, a case study of NTA Kaduna with the aim of describing the nature of its dialogue, providing an assessment of it, and exposing the peculiarities therein. It brings to the fore features that have otherwise not been observed in talk show. The usual assumption by discourse analysts is that language used in institutionalized or formal settings is structured and follow the tenets of discourse analysis. As a result, there is a disparity in language use in spontaneous and institutionalized settings.

  • Chapter one focuses on the background to the study. It also presents a brief insight into the case study. It also examines the research problem, aim, scope and limitation as well as the significance of the study.
  • Chapter two looks at literature review, conceptualization of television talk show, history of breakfast talk show and format of breakfast talk show.
  • Chapter three is the data presentation and analysis of the study.
  • Chapter four takes us to a pragmatic insight which forms the basis for arrival at our conclusion.

This study observes that language use within the talk show is not fashioned in the usual manner of language use in institutionalized settings. It recommends that language use in other institutionalized settings should be analyzed as well for their flexibility as it pertains to spontaneity and also of the use of other theoretical genres of Linguistics for the analysis of dialogue as discourse should be considered.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Television is an important medium of communication in the 21st century (Obono and Madu, 2012). It is used for several reasons including information, education, entertainment and persuasion. Unlike other media structures, television has the advantage of utilizing vision for mass communication (Obono and Madu, 2012). This is because it provides the avenue for programming which remains a key instrument for attracting audience and determining the viability of a station and for changing a society (Obono and Madu, 2012).

Television technology is developing rapidly and impacting on diverse strata of the population. It is a socializing agent as information transmitted can easily affect people’s (audience) worldview, perception and behavior. It exposes people to opinions that challenge their traditional ethos (Mary, 2010). Television has thus, become a major source of information acquisition, companionship and a relaxation tool as it provides millions with free leisure strategies and opportunities. The advent of television technology has further accelerated the establishment of television stations and programmers in both the developed and less developed countries.

The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is one of those television stations established to professionally disseminate information about the sociopolitical and economic development of the Nigerian state and indeed beyond. NTA is owned by the Federal Government. It has the widest reach with stations in all states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (Folarin, 2005). It is from this angle that NTA Kaduna operates a breakfast talk show which is equally a phone- in-talk show. The NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show is believed to be playing a very important role in engaging the public in constructive debate on various issues such as politics, health, economics, and peace building among others. Such a programme with topical issues affecting the society requires an examination of its operations. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show while focusing on its achievements, prospects and challenges.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Television talk shows are unique as they are not like daily news journalism which pursues facts and balances statements against each other, seeking a clear record of events. A talk show can consist of invited guest insisting on their facts and positions and arguing about the truth. Or it can consist of the presenter encouraging random callers to express themselves on what they have heard on the programme, or on a particular issue; often talk shows are a mixture of both formats (Brian, 2010).

Unlike other television talk shows, breakfast talk shows are programmes mostly carried out in the morning between 4:00 and 10:00am (Bruce, 2003). Breakfast talk shows express different opinions and in most cases they might be in consonance especially when the goal is to address a problem in the society.

But it is the impact of the programme on the listeners that matters most, not the guests or the personality of the presenter. What is important is how the listeners are affected by what they hear through quality presentation of both the programme and issues. If viewers are engaged and become interested and even excited by what they hear and see, it becomes a measure of success for the programme.

Like other talk shows in the third world, NTA Kaduna breakfast talk shows operates with success while facing a complex and frantic exercise in a network of technical challenges coupled with logic and intellectual presentation of issues and unpredictable human emotions which motivate guests and callers. In between these, the breakfast talk show has to be presented to an audience in an easily understood way and in a short space of time.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. How is NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show being operational and administered?
  2. What is the media content of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show?
  3. To what extent does NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show provide quality and accessible programme to people of Kaduna state?

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of the study is to examine the operational function of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show by focusing on its achievements, prospects, and challenges. A specific objective of the study includes:

  1. To examine how NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show is being operated and administered.
  2. To examine the media content of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show,
  3. To examine the extent NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show provides quality and accessible programme to people of Kaduna state,

1.5 Significance of the Study

Many studies have been conducted on television and or breakfast talk show, but not much has been written on NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show. Earlier studies focused on the choice of language used in talk shows. These studies analyzed the verbal and non-verbal features of language and the additional meanings they give to the verbal features. Yet, others focused their attention on the function and analysis of the different contributions of participants and the techniques of monitoring a talk show. This study assumed a different dimension.

In its own dynamics, this study provides a paradigmatic shift of attention; it focuses on NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show by providing an impact assessment. To this end, the study will serve both descriptive and prescriptive ends as it will bring to the limelight the operational achievements, prospects and challenges of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show. This way, the study will have a practical effect on the producer and editors of the programme.

In essence however, the study would contribute in forming a body of literature on breakfast television talk shows in Nigeria. It will provide insights to any person and indeed students of languages; theatre arts, mass communication and even sociology who wish to understand the contextual dynamics and operations of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show and its impact on social development in Kaduna state.

More significantly, the study is expected to provoke more future studies on breakfast television talk shows among students and scholars of film, culture, language and literature.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study specifically focused on the NTA Kaduna Breakfast Talk show: achievements, prospects and challenges. Moreover, other areas and issues relevant to the study would be covered in order to crystallize them in their proper dimension.

However, the study is confronted with a number of limitations which have tended to affect the organization of the study. Theoretically, not much has been written on NTA Kaduna breakfast television talk show. This made the researchers to rely much on the interview method. A study like this requires resources to carryout multiple interviews, focus and group discussions; but not much resource was at the disposal of the researchers. It is equally pertinent to note that a study like this requires time but was not at the disposal of the researchers.

1.7 Methods and Theoretical Framework

In substantiating this study, the qualitative approach was employed because it provides the avenue to collect and interpret data meaningfully in ways that reflect contextual reality. In the light of this, the interview method (as a primary method) and the documentary method were used as techniques in the collection of data.

However, a total of sixty (60) interviewees were interviewed in Kaduna metropolis. Twenty (20) were staff of NTA Kaduna who provided useful information about the operational achievements, prospects and challenges of the breakfast talk show. The remaining forty (40) were drawn out of the audience; some were students, civil servants, police officers and housewives. With regards to the sampling method, the study relied on the random sampling mode given the commonality of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show among the populace of Kaduna.

Moreover, the documentary method employed by the investigator, provided the avenue through which secondary data were collected from textbooks, newspapers, magazines, Journals and the internet. The content method served as the method of analysis in this study.

However, the theory that guides the study is the “social learning theory”. This theory as propounded by Albert Bandura (1960) argues that, learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation of behavior; learning also occurs through the observation of reward, and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. The theory expands on traditional behavioral theories, in which behavior is governed solely by reinforcements, roles of various internal processes in the learning individual. Within this context, Bandura (1960) posits that, learning processes occur in interpersonal contexts.

The theory of social learning is thus, relevant in creating social change through the media. Entertainment-education in the form of breakfast talk shows or soap opera can help viewers learn socially desired behaviours in a positive way from models portrayed in these programmes. The breakfast talk show format allows the creators to incorporate elements that can bring a desired response which can bring forth new ways of thinking and behaving. In the preceding ways, the social learning theory is relevant in understanding NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show.

Chapter Four

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

4.1 Summary

In this research, we focused on the analysis of the linguistic analysis of television talk show. The main aim of the study is to analyze NTA talk show, and to what extent NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show provides quality and accessible program to people of Kaduna state and also what are the management and operational problems affecting the success of NTA Kaduna breakfast talk show.

The researchers have therefore deduced from this flexibility that there is a point at which NTA talk show comes together with conversational analysis to show a relativity that cannot be ignored. This is due to the peculiar nature of talk show. It is similar to language used in informal contexts and this fact, is the main attraction to the study.
This study also observed that the nature of a newsroom discourse gives the Manager discussion of data, while chapter four is the summary, conclusion and recommendations.

4.2 Conclusion

This research has attempted to describe analysis of television talk show as a naturally occurring speech event. We have described talk show as a discourse structure comparable, and related, to other speech events.

Based on the findings of the study. The following conclusion was reached;

  1. Respondents believed that NTA actually determines the pattern, shape and pace of economic development in the country.
  2. From relevant literature reviewed, it was discovered that there are some problems militating against NTA performance of these self-assigned roles. Some agree while some do not agree.
  3. In Nigeria, there is yet to be a well set out communication policy to guide the practice of journalism. This is the method of accepting communication as the overall head of development effects.
  4. Observations made discovered that development planners in Nigeria have never given communication its rightful place in development processes.

4.3. Recommendations

The work did not carry out a comparative analysis or conversational analysis and newsroom discourse since they have some similar features. There is therefore the need to embark on a comparative study in that area to determine their similarities and differences. The researchers also recommend that other unexplored aspects of discourse known for flexibility can be assessed for the possibility of spontaneity and subsequent study.

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