A Pragmatic Analysis Of Political Interviews In A Selected Daily Newspaper. The Punch

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A Pragmatic Analysis Of Political Interviews In A Selected Daily Newspaper. The Punch


Language is an integral part of our socio-cultural heritage that serves as the primary medium of communication for mankind. Pragmatics evolved to drill out meanings and to give interpretations to utterances beyond what is literarily said. This research work was carried out in order to give light to political interviews and to bring out meanings that are embedded in utterances made by politicians. One of the Nigerian daily newspapers was used, THE PUNCH, and 8 interviews were selected from this newspaper. From the data analysis presented in the research work, it has been discovered that politicians present their interviews or responses in a way that will make the masses to give their responses different meanings. The study shows that the application of pragmatic approach has really account for the meaning of utterances in context, especially in interviews.

Language is an instrument of thought or concept which gives clear and vivid meaning of human expression for the purpose of human interaction. In any speech community, if there must be interaction, language must be in use. Human language is said to be communicative when language users are able to use words as appropriate to context. Quirk (1962, P.42) sees language as a “human instrument of expression through sounds as released by vocal chord’s
Language then can be seen as a phenomenon that makes other human activities possible. Again, language could be seen as a tangible manifestation of human thoughts, an outward expression of man’s feelings and ideas, etc. These form the basis of interaction in a speech community which aids communication. So, the desire to achieve communicative competence in a language or the quest for how language functions meaningfully prompted the evolution of pragmatic analysis.
Interactionally, language helps to establish and sustain social ties. Man does not only have to keep his relationship with other men alive for the survival of the social system, but he has to use language in achieving this desire. Conversation is one of the ways of doing this. It is thus important to study conversation because it is so central to human interaction. One approach to study conversation is the pragmatic approach.
Pragmatics deals with meaning in utterances and the interpretation of conversation to bring out the meanings that are not decoded by hearers. To fully understand meaning in utterances, we use the pragmatic approach. This approach allows the total context of a discourse to be understood and therefore enhances meaning decoding and an identification of the intention of a speaker.
Interviews are a form of conversation. To understand interview, especially political interviews, it will be interesting to bring in pragmatic in the analysis for better understanding. Interviews are regarded as a journalistic art and pragmatic analysis which focuses on the way we produce and understand language in context of a speech situation, reveals for example, that interviewers construct their questions carefully to place politicians in a dangerous position in such a way that they tend to dodge or give indirect answers to the questions.
In this research work, pragmatic analysis will be used to examine some of these interviews.

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