NIGERIANS AND POLITENESS EXPRESSION IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: A STUDY OF THE NON-TEACHING STAFF OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA

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ABSTRACT


In Nigeria, the English language is the language of everyday communication, especially in work places. To support this, most employers of labour expect a high level of proficiency in the language skills, from would-be employees. However, probably because English is a second language in Nigeria, most Nigerians are yet to grasp its intricacies, they lack necessary linguistic capacity to express their feelings appropriately. Many a time, required tact and courtesy expected in social interactions during service encounters are found wanting. This often causes a setback in communication. One of such work places where the above stated is exemplified is the university community, the haven of polished people. The researcher’s focus in this study is, therefore, to show that everyday communication in the English language is to be peppered with linguistic politeness, demonstrate different ways in which communication could be face threatening and suggest how one could couch speeches and compositions with politeness strategies in order to sustain cooperative communication. The choice of the non-teaching staff of the University of Nigeria was made considering the fact that they are the service providers to students, staff and even visitors to the university community. The expositions, discoveries and suggestions of this study are worthy of note.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Abstract
Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Research Methodology
1.5       Scope of the Study
1.6       Significance of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1       Preamble
2.2       Theoretical Framework
2.3       The Politeness Theory of Brown & Levinson
2.4       Linguistic Politeness and Indirect Speech Act
2.5       Conclusion

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
3.1       Introduction
3.2       Research Design
3.3       Area of Study
3.4       Population of Study
3.5       Sample and Sampling Technique
3.6       Instrument for Data Collection
3.7       Administration of Instrument
3.8       Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.1       Presentation of Data
4.2       Data Analysis
4.2.      A Analysis and Interpretation of Section A
4.2.      B Analysis and Interpretation of Section B
4.2.      B (i) Descriptive Statistics and Interpretation
4.2.      C Analysis and Interpretation of Section C

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Introduction
5.2       Discussion of Findings
5.3       Summary of Findings
5.4       Conclusion
5.5       Implications of the Study
5.6       Recommendations for Further Research
Addendum
Works Cited
Appendix

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The gift of language is the single human trait that marks us all genetically, setting us apart from the rest of life” -- Lewis Thomas.

Language is one unique means of communication characteristic to man. This means that man has the ability to engage in and sustain interactions to a desired level. Language is also the vehicle of social interaction. Consequently, in order to function well in everyday living, one needs to be functional in the language or languages of the given speech community. The human life is, in fact, interwoven with language and communication as language is not just part of us but defines us. Moreover, speech remains the primary way humans express themselves through language (O’ Grady and Archibald 1).
In Nigeria, the English language as the recognized official language has come to stay as it is the language of instruction in educational institutions, the language of the government, the language of the mass media and the language of everyday use. It has for well over a century continued to enjoy the pride of place in the nation.


It was Ludwig Wittgenstein, a German philosopher, who taught that ‘the meaning of language depends on the context of use’. In his opinion, language as used in ordinary life constitutes a language game, which means that the users of language follow rules for accomplishing verbal acts. Examples of the ordinary uses of language include giving and obeying orders, asking and answering questions, describing places and events, giving directions and so on. It should be noted that language is primarily speech and since speaking is a productive language skill, it is generally believed that it embodies the thoughts of man.
In everyday situation, as we communicate with other people to get information, to gain knowledge about a topic or to reach a variety of goals, there is the need to be successful. In order to achieve this, one has to follow some important strategies. Besides the postulation of the language philosopher, Herbert Paul Grice, called the Cooperative Principle, there exists another concept that served when people talk. It is called the Politeness Principle, which has above all been developed by pragmaticists like Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson, Geoffrey Leech, Richard Watts to mention but a few. In this principle, the concern is not just the information in a conversation, but the effect of what is said on the hearer. This principle seeks to maintain the social equilibrium and the friendly relations, which enable us to assume that our interlocutors are being cooperative in the first place (Leech 82). In addition, from a pragmaticisits’ point of view, ‘politeness’ is the term we use to describe the relationship between how something is said to an addressee and that addressee’s judgment as to how it should be said (Grundy 202).

Since the English language is rule governed, it is expected that interactants in the language follow the rules to avoid grammatical and attitudinal errors. When and where these rules are neglected, the utterances so produced are most likely to be unacceptable conventionally. Moreover, bearing in mind that English language is the tool for education, it is expected that one who is educated should as well be cultured. Culture and communication can be said to be inseparable as the former in this context not only......

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