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ENG00364 - A PRAGMATIC ANALYSIS OF SELECTED NEWSPAPER CARTOONS


CHAPTER ONE

1.0       The Introductory part

            This opening part of the project examines the general background to the study of pragmatic Analysis,  problem of the  research,  the purpose of the study, followed by research question , justification of the study, research methodology, scope of the study, Data analysis and finally summary.

1.1       Background to the Study

            Language is a tool, an instrument, which human beings and currently, even artificial intelligence (computer), use for the purpose of conveying specific intentions to a targeted audience. Such intentions can range from making idle conversation to injecting humour into serious conversational advertisements, reports on accidents as well as for the purpose of sharing compassion as shown through obituaries.

            Language is an abstract system of symbols and meanings. In processing language, speakers must share agreement on sounds, rules of organisation, and meaning. Language is a means of communication, and its development has made human communication powerful and relevant to human existence. Babatunde (2009, p.100), 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.

            Communication is an important aspect of humanlife.  Man has been known to communicate with himself, his environment and his fellow beings from time immemorial. Communication is the passing of information from one organism to other using signals, Non-verbal communication cues are part of the total communication process. These cues include Paralanguage, Proxemics, and skin sensitivity, among others.

            According to Yule (1996), Pragmatics as an aspect of language study is concerned with the study of meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener (or reader) within particular contexts. It has, consequently, more to do with the analysis of what people mean by their utterances than what words or phrases in those utterances might mean by themselves. Thus, pragmatics studies the speaker's meaning.

            Cartooning as an art form is a medium of communication. Meanings,which needs to be accessed, are embedded in cartoons. Cartoon is a medium through which people are informed , educated and entertained by presenting societal deeds in a hilarious manner. Since pragmatics is also concerned with meaning, a pragmatic analysis of any art form is a veritable method of getting meaning out any communication.

            Therefore, a pragmatic examination of some selected cartoons from the Nigerian dailies,the punch and vanguard will be examined in this study by using theories and elements of pragmatics to analyze the special ways in which language has been used in a particular context to entertain and pass across message(s) to the people or readers.  


 

1.2       Statement of ResearchProblem

            The problem which this study seeks to solve is that of misinterpretation of newspaper's cartoon meaning resulting into breakdown in the medium of communication. This study intends to solve this problem by analyzing how meanings are engendered in the cartoon using speech act theory by Searle's theory and pragmatic tools. It seeks to investigate the uses of context, implicature, intention, inference, presupposition and speech act that exist among in the cartoon and how they contributing to engendering meaning.

1.3       Aims and Objectives of the study

            The study has the following objectives :

  1. to investigate meaning as engendered n newspaper's cartoon;
  2. to investigate the pragmatic features employed in engendering meaning in newspaper's cartoon;
  3. to interpret the meaning engendered in newspaper's cartoon.

1.4       Research Questions

         Specifically, the study attempts to answer the following questions ;

  1. how is meaning engendered in newspaper's cartoon;
  2. why are the pragmatic features employed in engendering meaning in newspaper's cartoon ;
  3. How is the meaning engendered in newspaper's cartoon interpreted.

1.5       Justification of the study

            Understandably, many writers and authors have written many works in this field called pragmatics. In facts many writers have exercised arduous task in making this field simpler to learners and professional of pragmatics. Notably, among them are Leech (1987), Yule (1996) and Watson (1993), and that is why i would be able to do a thorough literature review in this study. More so, very few research works have attempted to analyzed cartoon strips using a pragmatic approach. However, none, to the knowledge of this researcher, has attempted to examine the issue of speech act, context, intention, presupposition, implicature, and inference.  This study is unique and different from other works because its analysis of these selected cartoons is explicitly done using  elements of  pragmaticsabove.

1.6       Scope and Limitation

            In this study, we shall limit our operations to the basic theories and elements of pragmatics that are essential and applicable to the analysis of the selected cartoons to be used as our data. Even though pragmatics is a theory that contains a number of constituents or sub-theories, however, this study is restricted to pragmatic tools or elements such as; Speech Acts theory of John Searle ,  implicature  Context , Intention  Inference,  and presupposition.


 

1.7       Research Methodology

This study will do a pragmatic analysis of ten cartoons which are taken from two of the Nigerian dailies; The Punch and Vanguard. The study is going to be based on editions of these newspapers published between the months of December 2017 -January 2018. Due to the size of the target population, the researcher made use of the stratified sampling technique in arriving at the sample to be researched on. However, one cartoon is randomly selected every ten days of month published. Therefore, threecartoons are selected per month for each Nigeria dailies.   We adopted this sampling technique because of the irregularity and inconsistency in the publications of these editorial and pocket cartoons. However, three cartoons each are selected from The Punch and vanguard newspaper every month for two months (December, 2017 -  January, 2018), making twelve cartoon in total but ten cartoons  are purposively selected for this study .

            The data will be analysed using the pragmatic approach which is the framework for this study. The pragmatic tools or elements to be used for this analysis are: Speech Act of J. Searle's theory, Implicature,  Intention, Inference, Context, and Presuppositions . The data will be also be numbered and attached to the research work.

1.8       Data Description

            The cartoons of the above named newspaper are analyzed with speech act theory proposed by J. Searl’s theory. The long essay uses illocutionary act and pragmatic features such as implicature, intention, inference, and context for its investigation. The cartoons are analyzed in statement and individual words. Therefore, a conclusion as a basis formed from the findings of the study, is drawn on how meaning is used in communication theory in the various cartoons.

1.9       Summary

            This chapter has given a general introduction to the research work. The purpose and justification of the work will be also talked about, followed by its scope and limitation. The means of data collection and analysis have been also made known. In the next chapter, we shall review the literature that will be important for this.