A Pragmatic Analysis Of Features Of Nigerian English In The Subtitles Of Selected Nigerian Home Videos

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

A Pragmatic Analysis Of Features Of Nigerian English In The Subtitles Of Selected Nigerian Home Videos


Several theories have been developed by linguists all over the world in explaining pragmatics as a sub-field of linguistics. What is central in the contributions of the scholars is identification of „invisible‟ meanings from what is said or written by the intended listeners as intentionally meant by speakers/writers of such utterances that have been made or written. In this study, efforts have been made to identify the pragmatic use of Nigerian English in relation to subtitles of selected Nigerian home videos.

This is undergone to find out the effects of the Nigerians pragmatic use of the language on other world users of English and the aspect of Nigerian English that are beyond international intelligibility. Out of the total number of seventy five (75) sentence-utterances selected from the subtitles of six selected Nigerian language based home videos, only twenty five of them were chosen for both direct and indirect speech acts analysis in relation to different categories of contexts and competencies as identified in Lawal‟s (1997) Aspects of a Pragmatic Theory.

The analysis in connection with religious, economic,political/power, socio-cultural, ideological and creativity themes is presented here. The result of the analysis mainly shows that in spite of the efforts of the video producers to satisfy their wider audience, other speakers of English who rely solely on the subtitles while viewing Nigerian home videos have been much more confounded because the use of language in the subtitles comprises both direct and indirect illocutionary forces and this group of viewers do not have adequate knowledge and competencies to derive the indirect illocutionary forces (i.e. producers‟ intended meanings) from their direct illocutionary provisions.

The study therefore concludes that the ability of other users of English to understand meaningfully features of Nigerian English in the utterances presented in Nigerian home videos subtitles is basically dependent on degrees of experience, background information, ability to identify necessary speech acts and contextual competences about Nigerian socio-cultural setting shared by other users of English who rely on subtitles while viewing Nigerian home videos and the film owners who produce the subtitles.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

One of the countries of the world where English language has become part of individuals‟ life after leaving the shores of England is Nigeria. According to history, the English language originated from the languages of the Germanic peoples (the Angles, Saxons, Frisii and Jutes) who migrated to Britain and later formed England. Subsequently, the language began to move from England to different countries of the world through exploration, trade, missionary activities and colonisation. As there had been languages in use in those places before the arrival of English, the contact of English language with the indigenous languages spoken in the countries, within a considerable time, brought about forms of English slightly different from the variety of English spoken in England. This eventually gave rise to other world varieties of English such as American English, Canadian English, Australian English, Indian English, South African English and of course Nigerian English.

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