GRAPHO-SYNTACTIC ERRORS IN THE LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISING IN NIGERIA

GRAPHO-SYNTACTIC ERRORS IN THE LANGUAGE OF ADVERTISING IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

This study was carried out to investigate grapho-syntactic errors in the language of advertising in Nigeria. The purpose was to find out the nature, types, and causes of these errors of writing, which included spelling, punctuation, agreement, omissions and wrong tense usage that occur in the advertisements in the electronic and print media in Nigeria. The advertising materials used were inscriptions on hoardings, posters, newspapers, magazines and motor vehicles. Public announcements on television were also used. The data were collected from the major cities of Anambra State i.e. Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi, which represent the major commercial centres that habour more abundantly sources of these data. Different national newspapers and magazines were selected on daily bases for a period of three weeks and used for the study. Unstructured interviews were administered to artisans who had incidences of such errors on their hoardings. Questionnaire was also administered to professional advertisers to find out whether they were aware of such errors and whether these errors served any specific purposes. The findings revealed, among other things, that grapho-syntactic errors were mostly due to the incomplete mastery of the English language which is the language of the media in Nigeria; that the level of education of advertisers correlated with the quantity and nature of the errors; that some of these errors were caused by interference from the first language of the advertisers; that some of these forms were regarded as aspects of Nigerian English; that some advertisers intentionally used erroneous but popular forms to draw attention of the potential clients. Finally, teaching of spelling and calligraphy well in, especially, the early formal education, encouragement of the use of the dictionary, and proper teaching and learning of grammar had been recommended for the reduction of these errors.