A Pragmatic Analysis Of Political Interviews In A Selected Daily Newspaper (The Punch)

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A Pragmatic Analysis Of Political Interviews In A Selected Daily Newspaper (The Punch)


Chapter One


General Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

Language is an instrument of thought or concept which gives clear and vivid meaning of human expression for the purpose of human interaction. In any speech community, if there must be interaction, language must be in use. Human language is said to be communicative when language users are able to use words as appropriate to context. Quirk (1962, P.42) sees language as a “human instrument of expression through sounds as released by vocal chord’s

Language then can be seen as a phenomenon that makes other human activities possible. Again, language could be seen as a tangible manifestation of human thoughts, an outward expression of man’s feelings and ideas, etc. These form the basis of interaction in a speech community which aids communication. So, the desire to achieve communicative competence in a language or the quest for how language functions meaningfully prompted the evolution of pragmatic analysis.

Interactionally, language helps to establish and sustain social ties. Man does not only have to keep his relationship with other men alive for the survival of the social system, but he has to use language in achieving this desire. Conversation is one of the ways of doing this. It is thus important to study conversation because it is so central to human interaction. One approach to study conversation is the pragmatic approach.

Pragmatics deals with meaning in utterances and the interpretation of conversation to bring out the meanings that are not decoded by hearers. To fully understand meaning in utterances, we use the pragmatic approach. This approach allows the total context of a discourse to be understood and therefore enhances meaning decoding and an identification of the intention of a speaker.

Interviews are a form of conversation. To understand interview, especially political interviews, it will be interesting to bring in pragmatic in the analysis for better understanding. Interviews are regarded as a journalistic art and pragmatic analysis which focuses on the way we produce and understand language in context of a speech situation, reveals for example, that interviewers construct their questions carefully to place politicians in a dangerous position in such a way that they tend to dodge or give indirect answers to the questions.

In this research work, pragmatic analysis will be used to examine some of these interviews.


1.2 Purpose Of The Study

The purpose of this research work is to find out how interviews can be understood more effectively and how encoded information can be decoded by readers using the pragmatic approach. Interviews are sometimes interpreted wrongly and the consequence is communication breakdown as each person tries to give a different interpretation to the same interview. A pragmatic analysis is expected to solve this problem.


1.3 Justification

The researcher sees the pragmatic approach as an approach that is capable of decoding particular factors that are peculiar in political interviews and this is why the researcher finds it imperative to use pragmatic theory and its elements in the analysis of political interviews. This will bring out decoded facts from utterances and it will help those who intend to research on political interviews using pragmatic theory to have more understanding about the research work.


1.4 Scope Of The Study

The Study is embarked on to account for how an utterance coveys meaning in context. However, the researcher has limited the study to The Punch newspaper because of time and space constraints. Also, only eight (8) interviews will be used for the analysis, because this is the much that will be conveniently accommodated by this kind of research.


1.5 Research Methodology

In this essay we will carryout a selective analysis of four (4) political interviews treating different political issues. In these interviews, two (2) interviews will be chosen from each newspaper making a total of eight (8) interviews. Normally political interviews in this selected newspaper are published weekly. Therefore, the research work will make use of interviews published in four consecutive weeks, those published on the 3rd, 10th, 17th , 27th July, 2010. These data will be analyzed using pragmatic approach and elements. The concern of this work shall be how language is used for communication in the interviews selected.


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