Gricean Pragmatics and the English Language in Nigeria
This paper is an aphoristic assessment of certain day-to-day, common and uncommon-place expressions in different domains in the Nigerian linguistic world. It is also a study of some cogent but differentiable pragmatic principles which may serve as the panacea for the inadequacies in Gricean pragmatics. A revision of the Gricean Cooperative Principle to foreground the strength of the theory and the observation of its weaknesses informed the mitigation of the wimpiness in it, with more entrenching approaches such as pragmatic presupposition, conversational implicature and common ground. The framework for the analysis of the twelve selected Nigerian English expressions is mainly Grice’s (1975) Cooperative Principle. The samples were randomly selected from the social media chats and other informal settings. The concluding remark urges the user of the Grice’s principle to possibly triangulate the theory with other context-dependent theories such as the Mutual Contextual Beliefs (MCB) or the Common Ground (CG) to mitigate the unidirectional approach of Grice’s theory to meaning interpretation. Without a Common Ground shared by Nigerians in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural contexture and relative affinity, accurate meaning interpretation and understanding of the English Language spoken and written by Nigerians may have been continuously unrealizable. Meaning interpretation amongst Nigerians is thus made possible because they share similar grounds of political history, culture and religion, among other ties.
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