School project topic A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF COMPLIMENTS IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS « School Project Topics

A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF COMPLIMENTS IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS

ABSTRACT

This study is a pragmatic analysis of the use of compliments in selected Nigerian newspapers. Compliments sourced from the feature article sections of the selected newspapersform the data collected for analysis. The selected compliments are analysed highlighting the contexts in which they were used, while applying the Speech Act theory as propounded by Austin (1962)and the Gricean Maxims which are sub-principles of the Cooperative Principle. The analyses of the different types of compliments revealed that the social compliments aremore recurrently employed by writers than the other types of compliments. It recorded a 36.20% use as against the gender compliments that have the least occurrence at 10.34%. It is significant to note that the achieved and ascribed compliments recorded 21.65% which was close to the political compliments that recorded 19.83% application. The expressive speech act performance is at 44.06% while the representative and assertive speech acts performed at the almost the same level with both occurring at 13.55% and 11.88% respectively. The compliments performed the declarative speech act at the least level as it occurred at 8.48%. In a related manner, the study revealed that maxims are sometimes flouted for a number of reasons. The analysis of the data shows that the maxim of quality had the highest incidence of violation at 21.51% while the maxim of relation was not violated at all.It is observed that the maxim of quality was violated more than the others due to the fact that some expressions arenot truthful while in other cases the use of metaphors also contributed to the violation of quality. The use of ambiguous expressions is one of the reasons why the maxim of manner was violated. This can be attributed to the fact that some writers were too eager to portray their subjects in a positive light and areconsequentlyinclined to be effusive in their choice of words. It is noteworthy that 69.62% of the compliments adhere to the maxims,although a few are flouted on some occasions. The study concludes that the use of complimentsin Nigerian newspaper feature articles have pragmatic implications as they communicate more than what is said. This is largely due to the context within which the complimentsare used. Some compliments are better interpreted when the context of their use are known. The compliment, „Adekanye has to his credit a harvest of books‟ would have been vague without the context just as the compliment, „referred to as the elegant stallion, Onyeka…‟ would have been ambiguous without context. The study recommends that writers of newspaper feature articles should consider the social and linguistic background of readers when writing in order to avoid controversies that may likely arise.

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