Tag Archives: Social variables

Linguistic Politeness Forms in English among Igbo Bilinguals in Nigeria: The Case of Reprimand (Published)

The study examined Igbo perception and expression of reprimand speech act in line with politeness as a conversation strategy in the conversational English of Igbo native speakers which is unexplored. Through a purposive sampling process, 3 000 questionnaires in the form of Discourse Completion Task depicting ten scenarios of imagined role-play between interlocutors written in English were distributed to undergraduates of Igbo extraction at seven universities systematically selected from  South-East and South-South zones in Nigeria. Results showed that reprimands were conversational norms of Igbo bilinguals and were evident in their English language conversations as participants engaged in reprimanding occasioned by forms of misconduct. Findings also revealed that to achieve the conversational demands of reprimand speech act across horizontal, vertical and diagonal relationships as the case may be, the Igbo culture reflected observance of context, social status, social distance and severity of offence variables a consideration of which at the instance of a conversation underlies the choice/use of a particular strategy or another. The study concluded that speech act is culture-bound hence the need to incorporate pragmatics in language teaching

Keywords: : linguistic politeness, Culture, Igbo bilinguals, Nigeria, Social variables, reprimand


This paper presents an examination of linguistic change among students of the English Department of University of Ghana in their use of the velar nasal. Working with the Labovian paradigm of sociolinguistic investigations, this paper focuses on the use of the velar nasal /ŋ/ and any of its variants /ŋg/, /n/ or /ng/ in the readings of the students as influenced by social variables like sex, social status and ethnicity. The paper’s special interest in the use of the velar nasal among the Ghanaian students is premised on the fact that scholarly works on Ghanaian English suggest the nasal velar is hardly realized in Ghanaian English hence the familiarization of students to the sound will elicit linguistic change. The investigation is carried out by analyzing the recordings of readings of the students. This paper establishes three claims in its findings: females use higher frequency of standard forms than their male counterparts at all levels of attention because their attitude towards the use of the prestigious variant; though the higher class (Class 1) use the prestigious variant in casual speech, the lower class tend to respond to linguistic change faster and higher to show overt prestige especially when being observed; and ethnicity largely influence the use of a prestigious form as an ethnic group may engage in a linguistic change to a prestigious code to assert their superiority above their others

Keywords: Ghanaian English, Linguistic change, Social variables, Sociolinguistic