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The Contextual implementation of Discourse Markers in a Non-native Linguistic Environment Like Nigeria



1.1 Background to the Study

Levels of linguistic analysis refer to the points at which a language may be described. There are four basic levels of linguistic analysis: phonetics/phonology, morphology/syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Phonetics/phonology refers to the level of sounds, or the set of possible human sounds, and the set of system sounds used in a given human language. Morphology refers to the analysis of minimal forms in language. Any linguistic research is geared towards the examination of language, its internal structure, its external features or how both the internal and external features correlate. Language itself can be primarily described at three levels: substance, form, and context (Ayo Ogunsiji 266). Substance level is the description of the phonics or phonology of a language. Whereas phonics is peculiar to every human language because language is primarily spoken, graphs seem to be an attribute of human attempts to reduce the spoken language into a written form. Some languages, usually called vernacular languages, lack graphs. This aspect of language is not so much relevant to this study except that the researcher is considering a written text (and not a spoken one).

The second level of language, form, has to do with the internal structure of the individual words (morphology) and how these words may be arranged according to the possible rules or principles in language (syntax). The combination of these two areas is formally termed ‘grammar’ which is the study of the structure and organization of constructions. This study is formally situated within this level of language in that coordination and subordination, which have to do with how words, phrases, clauses are linked symmetrically or asymmetrically within Daily Trust, which is an English-medium newspaper, and Alàróyé, which is a Yoruba-medium newspaper, are the primary focus of this research.

The third level of language description is context. This looks at the meaning of output of the combination of a stretch of language units either with recourse to what the combination means (semantics) or what the speaker means by the combination (pragmatics). If language is used for a particular purpose, then the hallmark of any language use is the meaning or the function it performs in a context. Hence, syntax cannot be fully examined out of context. It is against this claim that this study will attempt a syntactic examination of coordination and subordination of English-medium and Yoruba-medium texts with emphasis on the functions they perform within their various contexts.
In essence, the newspaper texts selected for this study will require complex messages which may be made possible, among others, through the techniques of coordination and subordination.

Syntactic examination can take various forms since syntax, as a branch of study, is a wide terrain of research. However, the focus of this present study is on the techniques and technicalities of coordination and subordination in English-medium and Yoruba-medium newspapers. The back page columns of Daily Trust (representing the English-medium) newspaper and Alàróyé (representing the Yoruba-medium) newspaper have been selected for study.

This dissertation deals with the analysis of the kinds of coordinators and subordinators prominent in planned and edited formal texts such as the above-mentioned. Attempts are made to unravel the functions of conjoins and the semantic implications of coordinators in the case of coordination and the implications of subordinating an idea, a phrase, or a clause unto another in the case of subordination. Above all, the general implication(s) of coordination and subordination within their sentential frameworks will also be revealed.

1.2 Historical Background of the Yoruba People

The Yoruba are one of the biggest ethnic gatherings in south of the Sahara (Bascom, cited in Olanike Orie, 117-118). Any language like Yoruba spoken by a large number of people shows the inclination to have many dialects which may vary from each other. Larger part of Yoruba speakers of are in the South-western part of Nigeria. Beside Nigeria, Yoruba is spoken in nations like Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote D’ivoire and Sierra-Leone. An extraordinary number of Yoruba speakers may also be found in Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, America and UK (Abimbola 2; Hunt 51; Lasebikan 352; Turner 45; Watkins 380). Oyo dialect has been in use for literary purposes since 1843 (Orie 118). It is the obvious choice for standardization since its adoption in Bible translation and because of the political prominence of the old Oyo kingdom. It is the Oyo dialect that is often referred to as Standard Yoruba (SY), which could be regarded as a part of the Yoruba, and not the Yoruba language. Among other Yoruba dialects are Awori, Ekiti, Ife, Ijesa, Ijumu, Ilaje, Iyagba, Ondo, Oyo-Ibadan. Others Yoruba dialects not mentioned above include Eko, Egbado, Osun, Igbomina, Egba, Ijebu, Owo, Ikare. Oyo dialect is the dialect used in Alàróyé, and, therefore, the findings of this research are statements about the grammar of the dialect in particular.

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