A Pragmatic Analysis Of Selected Cartoons From Nigerian Dailies The ‘Guardian, The Punch, And The Nation’

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

A Pragmatic Analysis Of Selected Cartoons From Nigerian Dailies The ‘Guardian, The Punch, And The Nation’


This work investigates how meaning is derived in an utterance through cartoons. It aimed at a pragmatic analysis of selected cartoons from these Nigerian dailies: The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation, in order to know the different functions of language in relation to context using Participants, Implicature, Inference, Presupposition, Intention, World Knowledge, Mutual Contextual Beliefs. The cartoons were chosen randomly for the analysis. It is found out that utterances are not uttered but for a purpose. At the end of the analysis we have been able to have understanding of how language is used to pass across some intended message.

Table of Contents

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One:


  • General introduction
  • Background to the study
  • Purpose of the study
  • Justification of the study
  • Scope of the study
  • Research methodology
  • Data description

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • Introduction
  • Pragmatics a conceptualization
  • Theories of pragmatics
  • Elements of pragmatics
  • Participants
  • World knowledge
  • Presupposition
  • Implicature
  • Inference
  • Context
  • Intention
  • Message
  • Mutual contextual beliefs

Chapter Three:

Data Analysis

  • Introduction
  • Analysis

Chapter Four:

Summary, Finding And Conclusion

  • Introduction
  • Summary
  • Findings
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

Chapter One

General Introduction

1.0 Introduction

This chapter begins by giving the general background to the study. It then gives the purpose, the justification, the scope of the study, research methodology, data description and finally, it includes by giving a summary of a pragmatic analysis of selected cartoons from Nigerian dailies.” The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation”

1.1 Background to the Study

The power of language makes man so distinct and different from all other creatures. Language allows man to communicate since the effective communication means the appropriate use of language in a relevant content. This work intends to investigate how communication is achieved among interlocutors and language has been used as a means of conversation.

In everyday interactions, we use language to communicate with other people either in oral or within form. It has been observed that many newspaper readers do not show interest in cartoons reading as the way they do to other part, of the Newspaper. Meanwhile, there are many things to pass across to the readers through the cartoons. It is entertaining and informative.

Therefore, the main focus of this work is to look at the pragmatic features in a cartoon text, some selected cartoons from Nigerian dailies “The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation will be analyzed using features of pragmatics analysis.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the pragmatic features of cartoon from Nigerian dailies. The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation 2010. It also investigates how communication is achieved among the participant, how meaning is derived and the pragmatic features employed by cartoon writers to pass across their intended messages to readers.

1.3 Justification of the Study

Interaction gives the meaning of certain word when an utterance is uttered. There is a need for a research work on this study to pay attention to on cartoons. By doing this, the pragmatic features and element will be identified. This will assist students and readers to read cartoons at their leisure time.

1.4 Scope of the Study

This study is being carried out using cartoons as a data from Nigerian dailies The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation. The cartoon chosen are twelve in all, these cartoons will cover three (3) months editions 2010 i.e August, September and October 2010. Some chosen features of pragmatic analysis include Context, Participants, Mutual Contextual Beliefs (MCBs), Intention, Message, Inference, Pre-supposition, Implicature, Reference and World Knowledge.

1.5 Research Methodology

The data for this study are cartoons selected from Nigerian dailies “The Guardian, The Punch, The Nation. This research work will cover three months edition of newspapers published in the month of August, September and October 2010. The cartoons are twelve in all. Examples of the pragmatic features used will be identified in the conversation of characters in the text.

1.6 Data Description

The data chosen for this research work are cartoons selected from Nigerian dailies “The Guardian, The Punch and The Nation. Cartoons are interaction between two or more people, these people are usually sketched with a box pointing towards each of them. It contains their various utterances, some are political others are not .e.g Adult, Children and Government etc. The cartoonists of the selected cartoons are Femora, Neearo, Prasad Golla, Edun, Didi Onu, Obe ESS, Mayowa Adetula, Tayo Olujimi, Chukky, Stanley and Azeez Sanni.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

Metaphoric expressions in‘d’ i-v’ above cannot be understood in isolation. The reader has to go beyond the surface structure of the utterances into the deeper structure to decipher the exact or intended meaning of the speaker. This is where the application of the theoretical frame comes into play. For example ‘i’ is a biblical metaphor taken from 2 King 12:16. As the incumbent president returns the key of his administration to the newly elected president, he advised his political cohorts on what to do as the new president may not accept them and their associated characters (corruption, impunity, lawbreakers and subsidy thieves) into his cabinet. This biblically returned statement or advice is presently playing in the ongoing investigation, arrest and harassing members of the ‘O-Israel group’.

5.2 Conclusion

From the analysis of these — cartoons suffice it to conclude that cartoon communication has become an important tool used by Nigerian newspapers to pass serious messages to their readers. It is also highlighting the fact that within every cartoon you see is an embedding of a serious message meant for the reading population of that paper. The cartoons used here are political hence are carrying serious political messages. Although these serious messages are hedged, the educated or the elites and even language experts still understand what the cartoon is all about. There is often need to recourse to the semiotic constituents of the cartoon rather than seeing it as a mere something funny. Loosing the semiotic content of cartoon would also mean loss of meaning and intelligibility. When meaning is lost, communication also would be obstructed. Readers of cartoons share and interpret them from overt linguistic and sociological point of view.

From the above analysis it has been established that the pragmatic and discursive features of cartoon in political discourse are many so the interpreter needs to look critically to arrive at the real meaning of the cartoon. Pragmatic analysis of cartoon is a vital way of communicating to the readers, therefore there is need to look beyond the cartoon to arrive at the hedged meaning. Cartoon communication most often carries more messages than the spoken and written language. The visual mode of communication in cartoon is given more prominence at the expenses of the verbal, non-verbal and the written mode of communication.

5.3 Findings

In line with our set objectives of the study, the corpus presented and analyzed show that the pattern of communication are similar in all the selected newspapers and cartoons. All the cartoons used words and pictorial illustrations to transmit their content of information to the audience. The only area of differences is in the number of pans used in presenting their illustrations and utterances. While The Guardian uses 3 pans for adequate illustrations, The Daily Sun and the Punch use 2 pans, respectively.

In terms of linguistic features employed, the presented and analysed corpus show that lots of imperative sentences dominates during the pre-election period. Such sentences exhibit abuses, blames, prayers, pleas, promises. Elliptical and rhetorical phrases were employed during these periods as well. In the election period proper skeptical and statement of indifference dominated these period as nobody was too certain of what the outcome of the election will be like. More pictorial illustrations were used than written words. This was a period of suspense and uncertainty, which nobody knows who actually would emerge as the winner of 2015 election. The post-election period witnesses factual utterances, threats and commands. Other linguistic features adopted by the cartoonist were ellipses, phrases, contracted words, various sentence structures and functional types of sentences, idiomatic / metaphorical expressions. Grammatical errors were spotted in some of the cartoons which is a glare fact that though these cartoons appear on the editorial pages, little attention had been given to its editing as compared to the major content of the editorial pages which are the most grammatically thoroughly screened page.

5.4 Recommendations and Suggestion for Further Studies

On the basis of our findings, it is recommended that adequate attention be paid to the editing of cartoons. Secondly, training and workshops should be scheduled for the cartoonist regularly on ethics of the profession and adequate use of language and pictorials so that they can meet up with the dynamic nature of language and information technology. The researcher in the course of gathering corpus for this work tumbled into a social media arts work, where pictures of politicians were cloned or photo-shopped (see NE Cartoon), research into this area of pictorials/artistry presentation of political communication needs to be research into as this may overtake the present artwork of cartoonist in the nearest future.

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