Syntactic And Lexico-Semantic Analyses Of Selected SMS Text Messages Among The University Of Ilorin Students
Words form the basis for a Linguistic analysis at any level of language study. The aim of this essay was to identify the various Lexical and Syntactic elements that make up personal text messages among the students of the University of Ilorin. Lexical features, Lexical relations, Word-formation processes and Word Sequences were employed to unravel the Lexical and Syntactic elements contained in selected text messages. Among the findings in the work were that nouns are the most prominent lexical features in the personal text messages of the students of the University of Ilorin, while adverbs are the least used lexical features in the composition of these messages. It was also discovered that most of the words that were used in composing the messages were created through the word-formation process of derivation and that simple sentences in the most used sentence sequences in these messages. The conclusion in the essay was that effective communication through personal text messages among the University of Ilorin students can be ensued, if the receivers of the messages take into cognizance the various Lexical and Syntactic elements identified in their interpretation.
Table of Contents
- Title page
- Certification page
- Table of content
- General Introduction
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
- 1.3 The Purpose of the Study
- 1.4 Scope of the Study
- 1.5 Justification of the study
- 1.6 Methodology
- 1.7 Data Description
- 1.8 Summary
- Literature Review
- 2.1 Introduction
- 2.2 The Meaning of Lexis
- 2.3 Lexical Features
- 2.4 Lexical Relations
- 2.5 Word-formation Processes
- 2.6 The Sequence of Words
- 2.7 A Brief Examination of Semantics
- 2.8 Lexico-semantics
- 2.9 SMS Text Messaging in Nigeria
- 2.10 Summary
- Data Analysis
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Lexical Features
- 3.3 Lexical Relations
- 3.4 Word-formation Processes
- 3.5 Sequence of Words
- 4.1 Summary
- 4.2 Findings
- 4.3 Conclusion
Communication through an effective use of language is a tool that makes a good human relationship. Human beings are considered higher animals because of their ability to communicate effectively through the use of language. Language as a tool for effective communication is the most important part of a human being that makes him different from animals, Adedimeji (2005,p.1). As a result of this great role language plays in a man’s life, language is studied at five major levels in linguistics (Tomori,1977,p.21 as cited by Adedimeji,2005,p.1). These levels are Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics. Words are very essential in every level of language analysis.
A Lexeme as defined by Crystal (2008) is “a term used by some linguists to refer to the minimal distinctive unit in the semantic system of a language”. Crystal (2008) also defined Semantics as “a major branch of linguistics devoted to the study of meaning in a language”. Lexico-semantics therefore combines both the meaning of ‘Lexemes’ and ‘Semantics’. It originated from the linguistic fields of Lexicology and Semantics. Lexico-semantics as a subfield of Semantics addresses words and their meanings. It investigates the daily use of words among interactants with the aim of effective communication. Lexico-semantics deals with the relationship that exists between words, their meanings and the messages they convey.
SMS is a short message service that allows information to be passed across from one person to another, over a network at a particular rate. SMS is used as an abbreviation for all types of short text messaging in many parts of the world. SMS text messaging is one medium of communication that has found its way into the system of communication over the past few years. It is one technological device that its use is fast growing over a wide range in the whole of Africa and even the globe.
Communication through SMS is done by no other means but by the use of words. Lexemes are used to facilitate the effectiveness of this device. The effectiveness of this medium of communication depends on the appropriate combination of the words it carries, and in the combination of these words lies what is known as the message. Therefore, the relationship that exists between Lexico-semantics and SMS text messaging is effective communication, which is made possible through an appropriate combination of words into text messages.
From the foregoing, this work aims to investigate and identify the processes involved in the creation of these words, the various lexical relations and features that exist among the words that make up text messages. This will enhance a better interpretation and prevent misinterpretations among participants.
1.2 Statement Of The Research Problem
The problem which this work intends to solve is the problem of the misinterpretation of text messages as a result of a wrong choice of words or arrangement of lexemes in the composition of text messages, thereby leading to a breakdown in communication. This work intends to identify the various word-formation processes involved in the creation of new words, the lexical features and relationships that exist among words and also how these words are sequenced to build larger grammatical units. This work also intends to examine how these words contribute to the interpretation of a text message, thereby leading to better choices of words on the part of the sender and a more precise interpretation on the part of the receiver.
1.3 Purpose Of The Study
The purpose of this study is to contribute to the body of knowledge through an investigation into the combination of word and their meaning in conveying an SMS. This work seeks to examine selected personal text messages sent by the students of the University of Ilorin between the ages of 18-25 years, identify the word-formation processes, lexical features and relations that exist among the lexemes that are contained in them. Also, how the knowledge of the lexical and semantic relations contribute to the meaning of the text messages would be examined. This will help to promote a better understanding of text messages.
1.4 Scope Of The Study
This work will focus basically on the analysis of thirty personal text messages of the University of Ilorin students between the ages of 18-25 years. The analysis will be carried out through an identification of the word-formation processes, lexical features and relations and the word sequences among the words that make up these messages. The study will also take a look at the sequencing of words in the messages and how all these features contribute to the understanding of these messages.
1.5 Justification Of The Study
This work is based on an analysis of SMS text messages using a Lexico-semantic approach. Several other studies have been conducted on SMS text messages. Among these are Awonusi (2004), who did “A Sociolinguistic study of SMS text messages as a register in Nigerian English”, Egbe (2005), discussed the “Aspects of the Grammar of SMS text messages”, Alabi, (2010b), wrote on “Stylistic creativity via schemes: Tropes, Lexical cohesion and Descriptive Adjectives in SMS text messaging among Nigerian university Graduates”.
However, going by the above, it can be observed that SMS text messages have been studied from various fields of linguistics ranging from Sociolinguistics, to Grammar, to Stylistics, etc. This study is however adding to the knowledge and analysis of SMS text messages in the Lexico-semantic field. This work will be of great relevance and a reference point to students of communication studies, users of SMS text messaging as a medium of communication and students of English language and literature.
The selection of data for analysis in this study has been done randomly. The sources for the data for analysis in this study are text messages sent by the University of Ilorin students between the ages of 18-25 years. Out of these text messages, this work will focus on personal text messages (Chiluwa,2007, p.98 as cited by Alabi,2010b,p.1). Thirty personal text messages have been selected for analysis in this work. These messages represent the whole body of personal text messages and are considered suitable for the purpose for which this work is conducted. The analysis ofthese messages will be done through an identification of various elements that characterize lexemes i.e. word-formation processes, lexical relations and features and word sequencing in contributing to the messages they pass across as a result of their co-occurrence in an expression.
1.7 Data Description
SMS was first used in December 1992 by a 22-year-old named Neil Papworth. The concept of SMS was developed by Friedhelm Hillebrand, Bernard Ghillebaert and Oculy Silaban in 1984, in the Franco-German GSM cooperation. However, following the inception of the Global System of Mobile communication (GSM) in Nigeria, in the year 2001, Alabi, (2010b), SMS text messaging has become a major medium of passing across information from one person to another irrespective of the distance between the ‘sender’ an ‘receiver’. MTN, which happened to be the first GSM Company in Nigeria, commenced its commercial services in August 2001. This commencement brought the Short Message Service (SMS) to limelight in the Nigerian communication system. Ever since then, text messaging has taken different turns.
The data for analysis in this study are personal text messages, as described by Chiluwa (2007) as “well wishing messages and messages that are used to express emotions”. Thirty of these messages have been selected for analysis using certain tools that will be discussed in the next chapter.
So far in this chapter, an insight into the variables of the topic of this study has been created, the purpose, scope, justification and methodology for this study have been discussed. A more extensive and detailed discussion of the approach to the study and its elements is hoped to be discussed in the next chapter, which is the literature review.
Summary, Findings and Conclusion
This study analyzed personal text messages in order to bring out the various lexical and grammatical devices that characterize them. Twenty-seven of these devices were identified for the analysis of thirty personal text messages, composed and sent by the University of Ilorin students between the year 2008 and 2010. These devices were grouped into lexical features or word classes, lexical relations, word-formation processes and word sequences.
After the analysis of the text messages it was discovered that among the word classes, the most frequently occurring element is the noun with 39.22%. It was discovered that all the text messages had noun elements in them. These elements were used for reference, comparative and expressive purposes by senders in conveying their messages to the receivers. The noun was followed by the verb with 28.04%.Verbs were used as a life wire to complete the meaning of the text messages. As mentioned in chapter two, that without verbs, expressions including text messages will be meaningless. After the verb came pronoun with 13.2% and was used to avoid a repetition of nouns. Following the pronoun was preposition with 8.63%, used to give precise descriptions of places, time and mode of particular actions. Thereafter came adjectives with 5.5%, which were used to create accurate pictures of actions and things to the receiver. Closely after adjective was conjunction with 5.3%. Conjunctions were used to perform a linking function of joining words, phrases and clauses. Adverbs had the least frequency with 0.19%. There were no interjections in the data.
A number of lexical relations were found in the text messages. Antonymy rated the highest with 2.4%. Antonyms were used to create contrasts in order to create meaning. Meronymy comes next with 1%, used to make known what the component parts of objects or human beings signify in relation to the expression of certain human feelings and emotions. Coming after meronymy is hyponymy with 0.8%, then Ambiguity with 0.6%, then synonymy with 0.2%, homonymy with 0.2% and polysemy with 0.2% as well. The use of polysemy and homonymy show other possible meanings of a particular word, object, idea or phenomenon in passing across a message. The use of these other possible meanings however resulted in ambiguity.
Furthermore, most of the words that were used in the composition of the messages were created through derivation, which had 4.12%. Following it was compounding with 1.6% and conversion with 1.2%. Coinages had 0.2%, clipping had 0.2% and acronyms also had 0.2%. Borrowings, blends and back-formations where not found in our data.
The most prominent word sequence was the clause which had 20.5%. This was as a result of the use of very short expressions that are not sentences and they contained finite verbs, which did not make them phrases either. Next to the clause came phrases with 10.2% and then sentences with 5.9%. Most of the sentences used were simple sentences or dependent clauses, while other sentences were products of a combination of main and subordinate clauses.
The attempt of this essay was a Syntactic and a Lexico-semantic analysis of the personal text messages of the students of the University of Ilorin. As a result of the findings, it can therefore be concluded that, if an effective communication through personal text messages should be achieved, receivers should take note of all the lexical and syntactic features identified, for an appropriate interpretation.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best topics for SMS research?
Topics addressed in SMS were quite heterogeneous; diabetes management studies were the most advanced Conduct research in developing countries and include theoretical rationales, more rigorous study designs, cost-benefit analysis, and combinations of text message factors Yes.
Is SMS a useful tool for diabetes management research?
Topics addressed in SMS were quite heterogeneous; diabetes management studies were the most advanced Conduct research in developing countries and include theoretical rationales, more rigorous study designs, cost-benefit analysis, and combinations of text message factors.
What is Short Message Service (SMS)?
Among the most frequently utilized interpersonal mobile communication channels is called short message service (SMS), or text messages, involving the creation and real-time exchange of alphanumeric messages of 160 characters or fewer.
Can we conduct research in developing countries with text messages?
Conduct research in developing countries and include theoretical rationales, more rigorous study designs, cost-benefit analysis, and combinations of text message factors.