AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF SOCIO-POLITICAL COLUMNS IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS

AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF SOCIO-POLITICAL COLUMNS IN SELECTED NIGERIAN NEWSPAPERS 

ABSTRACT

The Ethnography of a linguistic text is a sociolinguistic approach to determine the communicative competence of the text. A lot of speech events have been studied using Dell Hymes Act of SPEAKING. However, there is a dearth of such studies on the socio-political columns of Nigerian Newspaper especially using the ethnographic theory to determine the level of communicative competence in it. Therefore this research applied the level of communicative competence of the socio-political columns in Nigerian newspapers using the ethnographic communication theory, in order to demonstrate the extent to which ethnography of communication can be used to determine effective communication.

The data for this study are limited to five newspaper columns in five major national newspapers namely: ‘Return of Austerity’ by Steve Nwosu in the Column “Frank Talk” of Daily Sun (2014); ‘The Republic of Deception’ by Tony Afejuku in the column “In and Out” of Nigerian Tribune (2016); ‘Father and Son’ by Sam Omatseye in the Column “In Touch” of The Nation (2016); ‘On the Matter of the dog named Buhari’by Abimbola Adelakun in the column “Thursday with Abimbola Adelakun of The Punch (2016); and ‘The Mark Zuckerberg Visit’ by Reuben Abati in The Guardian (2016). Thus, the speech community for this work is the columnist and their readers.

The ethnographic studies of the various columns have been undertaken with respect to the four components of communicative competence. The analyses revealed that although the selected columnists employed different styles and approaches to communicating their ideas, they all shared some common traits. Some of the traits include the use of rhetorical questions, coinages, code switching and code mixing. Grammatical competence in terms of the use of tenses, repetitions, use of conjunctions, sentence construction, punctuation marks, choice of words; Sociolinguistics competence in terms of codes-witching and code-mixing, coinages; Strategic competence in terms of the use of humor, personification, lengthy paragraph, rhetorical questions, use of allusion, socio-cultural contexts and Discourse competence in terms of consistency in italicizing, cohesion and coherence.

The study finally concluded that the socio-political columns of the five Nigerian Newspapers reflect the various features that constitute the four components of communicative competence. The overall contribution of the study to scholarship is underscored by various forms of interpretation into the communicative traits and competence of the speech community. Further studies in the area of economic, religious columns of other newspaper source.

Keywords:    Socio-political, Ethnography, Columnist, Grammatical competence, Speech community