Most of the theories on the origins of language have all shown that
language arose of man's desire to adapt to his environment. For
instance, the cooperation and contact theories show that language
(speech) came into being out of the human instinct for survival and
One of the basic conditions that must be fulfilled before an
individual can claim membership of any society is the ability to
communicate effectively in the language of that society
(community-social group). The norms and traditions of a society are
transmitted through specific linguistic codes (language). This view is
in consonance with Hallowell's (1953) claim that:
“A necessary condition for socialization in man is the learning
And use of language and by the way, a socially conditioned
Aspect of it, to be relevant in that social group of which he is a
No matter how primitive a society is, its cultural values and beliefs
are presented in well defined linguistic forms and nuances. Among the
various functions of language in our society, specialization is perhaps
one of the greatest. It gives a distinct exclusivity and pride to a
group. This is perhaps why the military and police personale will call
those who do not understand their peculiar meta-language as "bloody,
civilians". This is echoed in Sapir's view when he noted that: "Language
is a great force of socialization probably the greatest" - Edward
Sapir: Culture Language and Personality: University of California press
(1956) page 1.
Perhaps, Bell's opinion is even more apt when he says:
“Language is a set of culturally transmitted behaviour
patterns shared by a group of individuals.
Roger Bell, sociolinguistics: Goods, Approaches and. problems:
London, B. T. Batsford Ltd (1976) P.l4. In Bell's view, language cannot
be divorced from culture and society. A member of any society who does
not know well, when and how to use the language peculiar to his society
is a social outcast". The ability to use the specialized and predominant
languages of a society enhances social mobility, way, competence,
reviewing and professionalism.
Having established that the French or language use of a group society
sensitizes members to the orderly society. It has equally been
established that language mobilized in entirety, the personalities of
members to more effectively interact with the philosophy and codes of
conduct of their societies.
In conclusion, language can be used to social solidarity and group
infirmity. That is the reason a member of a security agency would
probably not need any formal identification, when out of uniform, when
he discusses with another officer of the law in the specialized security
and police language. We will immediately experience a reality of, "he
talks as us; he is one of us"
On the strength of the above lies the basis of this essay - an
analyses of a special variety of language used by a special group in
furtherance and advancement of their set objectives; hence, the
Linguistic stylistic Analysis of Nigerian security Agencies use of
language, with emphasis on the Nigeria Police Register.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The truth, of course, is that it is precisely the multiplication of
meanings which makes language the powerful and flexible tool that it is.
The possibility of selecting adopting, standardizing of a selected set
of vocabulary and specialized intended meanings for use by a society,
the effectiveness and intelligibility of same have elicited a study in
varieties and functions of language (English).
It is pertinent at this point to stress that in as much as uniformity
in the use of language is desirable, it is not possible. Even if it
were possible, it would not be in the best interest for the growth and
effectiveness of the language; certain groups have peculiar
sensibilities and needs. These peculiar realities must by necessity be
addressed and furthered by a peculiar variety of language (English)
which might be exclusive to this selected group but at best, vaguely
intelligible to people outside the select group.
So far, we have seen that certain social factors have by no means
acted as influence on language. While some have worked for greater
clarity and efficiency, others have tampered with the adequate
functioning of language.
Basically therefore, varieties of language in our study of English
language, have emerged, distinguishing races, classes, occupations, etc.
This multiplicity of a compendium of varieties of one general
language has considerably and unconsciously provided very powerful tool
of identification uniqueness and exclusivity to certain groups in one
larger general linguistic community. In the subsequent sections, it will
examined how these specialized varieties have been able to satisfy the
peculiar needs and sensibilities of the various linguistic groups such
as the security agencies, the Nigeria Police, etc.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Language - "any language is a code"; a set of rules for generating
what generative transformational grammarian call "well-formed
sentences." A breach of the standard code could therefore result in an
"ill-formed" utterance (sentences).
Basically, many if not all social varieties of English are
derivations from the standard normative features of the language. Our
case study is the Nigeria police force's Register.
The security agencies register especially the police thrive on a long
established alterations of the syntactic" semantic and to some extent,
the phonological components of the English language. Some of such
alterations which have combined to give a unique identity to the
Nigerian Police register are:
category rule violation, linguistic foregrounding,
avoidance of technical verbiage, paradigmatic
association, semantic compounding, neutralization of
semantic opposition double extender, taboo expressions,
tedious legal verbiage, etc.
The question which immediately arises is: Does this peculiar variety
with all its peculiarities hamper the effective use of language for
communication? OR better put, what are the socio-linguistic advantages,
benefits, challenges and shortcomings of this variety?
In summary, it has been established that the tenets of socio
linguistics accepts that the peculiarities of every linguistic group
present a varitable ground for the growth of distinct register. Now, the
Nigerian Police has a recognizable and identifiable official variety of
English. How effective it is in the advancement of the organization,
its intelligibility and grammaticality are basically the problem this
essay will address.
1.3 PURPOSE OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to carry out a stylistic analysis
(basically semantic and syntactic), towards identifying the components
of the Nigerian Police register. This analysis will be the background
the emergence of the register, its linguistic and communicative
effectiveness and overall, why and how this peculiar variety is suitable
and has advanced the collective vision of the Nigerian police.
In summary, the objective of this study will be a comparative
analysis of the intelligibility of the police register to members of the
force vis-a-vis the civilians and the basic/standard deviations of the
police register from standard formal English language expressions.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Our exhaustive analysis will reveal the mutual interaction that takes
place between some of the structural components or standard everyday
English language and the specialized if you like, close aspect (police
register) of the language.
The study will furthermore open vistas on the extent and influence of
sociolinguistic factors that come to play when a group of people
develop and standardize a suitable English language diction that will
reflect the syntax and semantics appropriate to their peculiar
realities, while yet retaining the basic elements of the language
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the research will not extend beyond the analyses of
isolated expressions which contain linguistic elements that could be
designated the Police register. Some of such peculiarities have combined
to acquire the description - Police register are repetitions lexical
items in a structure, Linguistic foregrounding, semantic compounding,
taboo expressions, tedious legal verbiage, etc.
The project will also examine the semantic components that consist of the use of martial and specialized scientific expressions.
However the phonological components of the police register which is the least affected will however not be examined in details.
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Our data will be gathered from primary reference texts such as
standard books on Linguistics, Socio-linguistics, Syntax and Semantics.
Materials for analyses will be sourced from the Nigerian Police manuals,
operational correspondencies and the documented everyday expressions of
Police officers in their offices and on the field.
The information gathered from the police manuals and interactions
will be analysed and standardized, using appropriate reference texts. An
establishment of the peculiarities of the police register coupled with a
rigorous analysis will reveal the linguistic and stylistic
effectiveness of same and help to appreciate the existence of peculiar
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Language: This is the act of speaking, writing or
signing, in a given situation; often referred to by the French
term, parole (2) The Diagnostic system underlying a person's use of
speech writing or sign (often refereed to as competence); more
generally, the system underlying the shared spoken, written or sign
behavior of a whole community often referred to by the French term
language (3) The biological faculty enabling individuals to learn and
use speech, writing or sign - a defining feature of human behavior. (4) A
particular variety or level of speech writing or sign - as encountered
in such phrases as religious language and gutter language" (5) An
artificially constricted system used to expound a conceptual are a (e.g.
computer language) or to facilitate communication (as artificial
language/), in this sense, the term contrasts with a natural language.
Syntax: The study of the rules governing the way
words are combined to form sentences and other constructions in a
language. In this use, syntax is opposed to morphology, the study of,
structure. More generally it is the study of the interrelationships
between all elements of sentences structure (including morphemes), and
of the rules governing the arrangement of sentences in sequences. In
"generative grammar" the syntactic component contains rules for the
generation of syntactic structures.
Semantics: A branch of linguistics related to the
study of meaning in languages. In particular, the approach called
structural semantics applies all the principles of structural
linguistics to the study of meaning through the notion of semantic
relations between lexical items (such as synonymy and antonym). In
"generative grammar", the semantic component is a major area of the
semantic representation to a sentence and analyses lexical times in
terms of semantic features.
Sociolinguistics: To start with, linguistics is the
scientific study of language. Several approaches can be distinguished,
according to the linguistics focus, range and interest.
Socio-linguistics is a study of the influence of one's society on his
use of language whether his first language (mother tongue) second
language or foreign language
Register(s): Variety according to the subject matter
or social group involved in a speech act (in this case English language
speech act) is known as the register of that Linguistic group. The
presumption is that it is possible that an individual or a group can
adopt one distinct variety peculiar to them as their permanent form of
English. But the same speaker(s) has/have a repertoire of varieties and
habitually switches to the appropriate one as occasion arises. Most
typically, perhaps, the switch involves nothing more than turning to the
particular set of lexical items habitually used for handling the
subject and situation in question.
Metalanguage: A higher level language devised in
order to talk about an object of study or discussion (the object
language). Linguistic metalanguage includes all terminology,
nomenclature and special expressions which have been introduced to talk
about the human language in its use in various aspects of life.