Artists, especially, cartoonists have
made vigorous effort to portray the society by familiarizing people with
the on-going events in such society. This work aimed at investigating
how pragmatic elements could be deployed to properly interpret the ways
in which cartoons and their utterances depict and satirize
socio-political realities in Nigeria. In this regard, sixteen “pocket
cartoons” were selected from Vanguard editions between June and
Sep., 2010 and they were analysed using pragmatic elements such as
speech acts, contexts, presupposition world knowledge, implicature,
inference and deixis. It was discovered that utterances used in these
cartoons were mainly “assertives” and ‘directives’ meaning that they
(those utterances) signified the state of socio-political affairs in the
country. We also found out that an utterance can have more than one
‘illocution’ and ‘perlocution’ and the perlocutions may vary with regard
to the addresses. Indeed, it was noted that context and world knowledge
were essential indices of understanding and interpreting cartoons.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Purpose of the study
1.3 Scope and limitation
1.4 Research methodology
1.5.0 Nigerian Newspapers
1.5.1 Vanguard-A Nigerian Newspaper
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. An Overview of Pragmatics
2.2.0 Goals of Pragmatics
2.3.0 Theories of Pragmatics
2.3.1 Speech Acts Theory
2.3.2 Implicature Theory
2.3.3 Intention and Inference Theory
2.3.4 Contextual Theory
2.4.0 Pragmatic Elements
2.4.2 World Knowledge
2.4.4 Non-verbal Language
2.5.0 Cartoons – Meaning and Brief History
2.5.1 Forms of Cartoons
2.5.2 Functions of Cartoons
CHAPTER THREE: DATA ANALYSIS
CHAPTER FOUR: SUMMARY, SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION.
4.1 Summary of findings
Pragmatics is a shift from strict grammatical rules to a situational
language use.It is a linguistic theory that studies meaning from the
perspectives of language users, communication code and socio-cultural
conventions. Hence, Mey (2007:6) asserts that “Pragmatics Studies the
use of language in human communication as determined by the conditions
Cartoons are “Comic strips”. They create humour by portraying
“observable characters in a society” (Bitner, 2003:306). Cartoons serve
as a medium through which people are informed, educated and entertained
by presenting societal happenings in hillarious manner. They are found
in newspapers, magazines and newsletters.
Vanguard is a Nigeria Newspaper that centres on politics, education,
sports, local and national news etc. It has a section named “pocket
cartoon” which portrays socio-political events in the country.
With a view to studying pragmatics, Babatunde and Odepidan (2009)
carry out a “Pragama- rhetorical strategies in selected speeches of
President Olusegun Obasanjo (Former Nigeria President).Adetunji (2009)
also conducts analysis of selected acts. However, they did not focus
on non-verbal aspects of language.
This work is therefore, borne out of a desire to study the workings
of pragmatics (including non-verbal language) in selected pocket
cartoons from editions of Vanguard so as to discover how utterances used in these cartoons reflect Nigerian socio-political realities.
1.1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This work aims at examining the role of contexts in the interpretation
of utterances contained in the selected cartoons. It equally wants to
investigate how messages are encoded in and can be decoded from
cartoons. The functions and effects of utterances in these cartoons will
also be accounted for. Finally, the essay also aims at capturing the
essence of world knowledge in the interpretation of utterances.
It is no gain-saying that non-linguistic
features such as objects, persons and things are very pivotal in
generating meaning from linguistic items.In this regard, cartoons
exhibit non-linguistic features which pragmatics as a theory takes care
of. So, it is believed that this work will be of great benefit to
students of English and literature, researchers and linguists that are
interested in pragmatics.
1.3 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
Pragmatics is a theory that contains a
number of theories. Thus, this project will be restricted to pragmatic
theories such as ‘speech acts,’ ‘implicature,’ ‘intention and inference’
and ‘context’ as well as pragmatic elements such as ‘presupposition,’ ‘
world knowledge,’ ‘ deixis,’ ‘ inference’ and ‘non-verbal language.’
Sixteen ‘pocket cartoons’ will be selected from Vanguard’s editions as our data.
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This essay will use sixteen “pocket cartoons” (both single panel and panel cartoons) in a Nigerian newspaper- Vanguard
published between June and September 2010. Stratified systematic
sampling technique is adopted to select the samples because of
inconsistency in the pocket cartoons publications. For instance, some
editions of the newspaper do not contain pocket cartoons while some
(editions) repeat previous “Panels.” As a result of these, four pocket
cartons are sourced from each month’s editions of Vanguard. These
editions are: vol. 25: No. 61123, vol. 25: No. 61129, vol. 25:
No.61130, Vol. 25 No.61135 (June), Vol. 25: No. 61146, Vol. 25: No.
61150, Vol. 25: No. 61158, Vol. 25: No. 61162 (July), Vol. 25: No.
61167, Vol. 25: No. 61174, Vol. 25: No. 61175, Vol. 25: No. 61182,
(August), Vol. 25: No. 61189, Vol. 25: No. 61196, Vol. 25:No. 61194,
Vol. 25:No. 61204 (September).
The data will be analysed using pragmatic approach. The elements to
be explored are:locution, illocution, and perlocution (speech acts),
contexts, implicature, presupposition, inference, world knowledge
and deixis. Illocutions and perlocutions will be presented in tabular
form. Also, non-verbal language as an element will be subsumed under
physical context (a sub-element) because the latter houses the features
of the former.
1.5.0 NIGERIAN NEWSPAPER
A Nigerian newspaper covers local issues
politics, business, major events, celebrations and life styles of
Nigerians. According to Aina (2002: 244-248) “over one hundred national
and local newspaper operate in Nigeria:. While some of them are owned by
the State government, some are owned by private bodies.
Aliagan (2006:13-14) discloses that the first printing press came
into existence in Nigeria in 1846 through Presbyterian mission. He
further notes that “Iwe Iroyin fun Awon Ara Egba ati Yoruba” was the
first newspaper in the country and was founded in 1859.This was followed
by Robert Campbell’s newspapers in 1863 in Lagos colony. Other
newspapers of colonial period are “The Daily Times” (Founded in 1926)
“African Messenger” (Founded in 1921), “Lagos Daily News (Founded in
Newspaper publishing bloomed after independence as both the
government and private companies invested more in it. Some of the post
colonial newspapers are “The Nation” “The Punch” “Vanguard” “The
1.5.1 VANGUARD NEWSPAPER
Vanguard newspaper was established in
Nigeria in 1983 but began operation in 1984. It was initially a Sunday
newspaper and later became daily newspaper. Vanguard covers “general
national news, politics, business, sports and the Niger Delta region
(www.vanguardngr.com)”. It is “a famous newspaper” and now has
distribution centres in many state capitals in the country. It has its
headquarters in Lagos (http://nigeriandailynewspaper.com/vanguard).
This chapter has given a general
introduction to the topic of this essay. The purpose and significance of
the work were also discussed followed by its scope and limitation.
Method of data collection and analysis were also disclosed and brief
notes were given on Nigerian newpapers and Nigerian Vanguard. In the
next chapter, we shall review the relevant literature to this topic.