A Pragmatic Study Of Newspaper Comic Strips: An Example Of “efe And Jude”

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In this study, we undertook a pragmatic study of newspaper comic strips, using “Efe and Jude” as an example. Pragmatics deals mainly with the use of language by a speaker and how the meaning can be interpreted by the hearer. The aim of this research work was to examine the use of language used by Efe and Jude and to explain what was not said by the participants. This research used the random sampling technique to select data from The Punch newspaper between the months of January 2010 and July 2010. We also applied the principles of pragmatics such as Austin’s theory of speech act, Grice’s theory of implicature, Bayo Lawal’s theory of context and Bach and Harnish’s theory of Mutual Contextual Beliefs. The use of the elements of pragmatics such as presupposition, participants, context, MCBs, Inference, Intention and Implicature help in decoding the message (s) that are encoded in Efe and Jude. At the end of this study, we discovered that directives are largely used by Efe to show her superiority over Jude. We also found out that the cartoonist made use of Efe and Jude to make the public aware that the reversal of roles between couple in the family is a threat to the society.

Title page i
Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgements iv
Abstract vi
Table of Contents vii

1.1 Introduction 1
1.2. Purpose of the study 2
1.3. Justification of the study 3
1.4. Scope of the study 3
1.5. Methodology of the study 4
1.6. Data Description 4
1.7. Summary of the chapter 5

2.1. Introduction 7
2.2. Definitions of Pragmatics 7
2.3. Theories of Pragmatics 8
2.3.1. Austin’s theory 8
2.3.2. John Searle’s theory 10
2.3.3. Bach and Harnish theory 11
2.3.4. Bayo Lawal’s theory 11
2.3.5. Grice’s theory 12
2.4 Elements of Pragmatics 13
2.4.1. Presupposition 13
2.4.2. Contextual Beliefs 14
2.4.3. Inference 14
2.4.4. Implicature 15
2.4.5. Intention 15
2.4.6. Participants 15
2.4.7. Speech acts 16
2.4.8. Context 16
2.5. Summary of the chapter 18

3.1. Introduction 19
3.2. Analysis 19
3.3. Discussion 52
3.4. Summary of the chapter 63

4.1. Introduction 64
4.2. Summary 64
4.3. Findings 65
4.4. Conclusions 66

Communication is an important aspect of human life. Man has been known to communicate with himself, his environment and his fellow being from time immemorial. Language is the means of communication through which man communicates and its development has made human communication powerful and relevant to human existence. Babatunde (2009, p100), asserts that communication is the chief purpose of language and the ability to use language for meaningful and purposeful interaction by man is one great edge man has over every other living thing. 
Lehman (1976, p4), sees language as a system for the communication of meaning through sounds. Through language, we generate meaning and information which can be exchanged between interlocutors to generate communication because without communication, there will hardly be survival in the society. Language is an art that is made up of an arbitrary code in which intra and inter personal communication takes place. 
However, human’s thoughts and perceptions are passed as a message to the receiver who will store, process and change it into meanings. Language is important in decoding meaning and the aspect of linguistics that specializes in this act of meaning decoding is pragmatics. Yule (1996, p127) defines pragmatics as “the invisible meaning or how meaning is recognized even when it is not said or written”. He further explained that for invisible meaning to be recognized, speakers must be able to depend on a lot of shared assumptions and expectations.
Comics are any piece of entertainment that is funny. Therefore comic strips according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2000, p222) are “series of drawings inside boxes (panels) that tell a story and are often printed in newspapers”. It has been discovered that many readers of comic strips widely known as cartoons read it because of its funny nature without having a deeper understanding of the non-literal aspect of the utterances.
 Hence, the researcher will do a pragmatic examination of the drawings and utterances by using the elements of pragmatics to analyze the special ways in which language has been used to entertain and pass across message(s) to the people or readers since pragmatics according to Levinson (1983, p6) is “the study of those relations between language and context that is grammaticalized or encoded in the structure of a language”.

The purpose of this study was to examine and reveal what is not said by the participants in “Efe and Jude” and to examine the use of language of this comic strip. This study was aimed at using the pragmatic elements to examine the special ways in which language has been used in “Efe and Jude” so that at the end of this study people will not just read the comic strip for entertainment alone but have a fuller and deeper knowledge of what the comic strip is trying to convey.

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