Saying X: The Pragmatics of a Nigerian Context

John Emike Acheoah


The study investigates the pragmatic motivations of linguistic choices contained in selected mobile-phone text messages written by Nigerians. As an effort towards cross-cultural pragmatics, the study examines “Nigerianisms” in the use of English. Bach and Harnish’s concept of mutual contextual beliefs (MCBs) is mainly relied upon as a theoretical framework, although insights from other scholars of pragmatics and sociolinguistics give the study a more illuminating theoretical base. The study reveals “that in saying x (producing different utterances), Nigerians may violate the norms of the English language and alienate even the native speakers who are bereaved of the social realism that underpin the Nigerian speakers’ communicative strategies. This practice is informed by the existential experiences which constitute the socio-cultural and diachronic Nigerian context.


Pragmatics; Mutual contextual beliefs; Sociolinguistics; Discourse

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