The Pragmatics of Phatic Utterances and Pleasantries in Nigerian Students Unionism
Phatic Utterances in Nigerian Students Unionism
Keywords:Greeting, Pragmatics, Phatic Communion, Pleasantries, Students Unionism, Nigerian Universities
The apex body of students in any tertiary institution in Nigeria is student union which is led by students and for the students. Over the years, a unique pattern of greeting has evolved in Students Unionism. Student leaders tend to exhibit various phatic communions to develop and maintain social relationship. Extant studies on student union in the Nigerian context have largely addressed the phenomenon from the sociological and political perspectives with little attention paid to it from a linguistic perspective. This study, therefore, investigates the pragmatic functions of phatic utterances and pleasantries among student leaders in selected Nigerian tertiary institutions. Data was gathered from six tertiary institutions in the south-western part of Nigeria through observation and interview methods. Using Mey’s Pragmatic Act theory as the analytical tool, it was revealed that seven major functions are achieved with the phatic communion in Students Unionism. These include disclosure of political position, prayer invocation, placement by hierarchical status, assertion of loyalty and support, incitation of special recognition, issuance of warning and unveiling personality traits of student leaders. These are achieved through the deployment of pragmatic tools such as used are speech acts, physical acts and prosody in the activity part and in the textual part, reference (REF), inference (INF), metaphor (MPH) and Shared Social/Situation Knowledge (SSK) are deployed. These phatic communions are intentionally and uniquely used in the domain of Students Unionism to communicate a lot of messages in the achievement of their desired goal
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