This research investigates the features of discourse in the interaction among market women and their customers in Oba Market, Benin in Edo state. The study is restricted to the. spoken language as used by market women. This was done through the method of participant observation. The researcher was highly involved by tape-recording their voices during their business dealings. The raw data were collected in pidgin English but rendered in correct English and analyzed using Sinclair and Coulthard model of analysis developed in 1975. It was discovered that interactional talk is the bedrock behind every successful business transaction .Sales are made possible by these women through various techniques which they employed in form of clues, prompts, bids which, according to Sinclair and Coulthard, are means through which buyers are convinced to patronize their goods. Sales are eventually made possible as the end product of business transaction.

1.0 Introduction
This study investigates the features of Discourse in the interaction Among Market Women in Oba market, Benin with their customers. Language is made up essentially of written and spoken modes. There are formats and methods of analysis attached to each of the modes.

The written language has a long history of analysis while the spoken form has only recently gained attention in Linguistic analysis. Our interest in carrying out this research is to further the development of the analysis of the spoken language.

In this introductory chapter, some key concepts, sub - themes and terminologies used in the study will be presented.

1.1 Background to the Study
Many linguists describe language as the most important attribute of man.

Allenton (18) in his own view defines language as;

-----the fully developed natural human communication involved in transmitting ideas or information from person to person.

He sees language as a tool for information transfer.

Thomas and Wareing (6-9) in their book Language, Society and Power, postulate that one of the obvious ways of thinking about language is that;

It is a systematic way of combining smaller units into larger units for the purpose of communication, for instance, we combine the sound segments of our language (Phoneme) to form words(Lexical items) According to the rules of language we speak.

Language is essentially a rule-governed system of this kind, but there are other ways of thinking about how language works. James Caper as cited in Obi- Okoye (2) considered language as:

A system of communicating with one another using sounds, symbols and words in expressing meaning, ideas or thoughts.

Thus language can be used in many forms primarily through oral and written communications. Equally body language could be used to communicate thoughts and feelings.

In this work, we are interested in such questions as: What function does a given utterance do? Is it a statement, question, command or response and how do the participants know

Although, there were some linguists who saw language as a series of interrelated levels mediating, and showing relationships between context and phonetic substance as seen by Halliday etal quoted in Sinclair and Coulthard’s work titled;

Towards an Analysis of Discourse page one. It attempts to show how a given phonetic realization has a grammatical structure and meaning but there is a major difference in the concept. Firth in Sinclair and Coulthard suggests that;

The principal components of ---- Meaning is phonetic function, which I call ‘minor’ function, the major functions-lexical, morphological, syntactical---And the function of a complete location in the context of situation, The province of semantic (1-2)

Firth had observed that in conversation, we shall find the key to a better understanding of what language really is, and how it works.

Our interests were in the function of utterances and the structure of discourse. Sinclair (2) suggested examining real examples with all their performance features. He focused on questions and answers and suggested that only by examining the context in which an utterance is produced, the presuppositions behind the utterance, the intention of the speaker and respondent, and the evidence available to a decoder, can one really understand the meaning of an utterance.

This early work also stressed paragraphing in spoken discourse. Conversations are everyday examples of the fact that several participants can jointly produce coherent texts; utterances and parts of utterances relate back and forwards, place certain restriction on what can occur and affect how or succeeding items are interpreted. Sinclair (3) went on to examine the relationship between the grammatical structures of an utterance its function in discourse. Question, for instance, can have a declarative, interrogative, imperative, or modeless structure. There are often features in the situation such as relative status of participants, which will determine which form is most appropriate form will be interpreted as cheekiness, condescension, sarcasm and so on.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 65 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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