ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE USE AMONG MEMBERS OF THE NIGERIA POLICE

ABSTRACT

The Nigeria Police is an agency of the government. It is charged with the responsibility of protection of life and properties, detection and prevention of crime, and maintenance of law and order. Due to the fact that language use differs from one speech community to the other, it is expected that language use among the Nigeria Police as a speech community will also be different from other agencies of government. So this topic “Aspects of language use among members of the Nigeria Police” is set to unveil some special terms used among Nigeria Police officers, their meanings, the contexts and situations in which such terms are used. The use of Nigerian Pidgin, acronyms, code-switching and code-mixing are the aspects of language use of the Nigeria Police explored in this project.

 

 

        CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION 

1.0         INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………                              1

1.1        BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY ……………………………………………………….                  8

1.2        STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ………………………………………………………                   9

1.3        AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY…………………………………………….                   9

1.4        SCOPE AND LIMITATION…………………………………………………………………..               9

1.5        RESEARCH METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………..               9

1.5.1     INSTRUMENTATION…………………………………………………………………………             10

1.5.2     METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION………………………………………………………                 10

1.5.3     METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS…………………………………………………………..                 10

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.0        INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………                    11

2.1        THE NIGERIA POLICE………………………………………………………………………....                      11

2.2        HISTORY………………………………..……………………………………………………………                 11

2.3        AUTHORITY…………………….…………………………………………………………………….               12

2.4        ORAGANIZATION…..…………..………………………………………………………………….                 13

2.5        LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION………………….…………………………………..            14

2.5.1     LANGUAGE AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION……………….……………………                 15

2.6        THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE AS A SPEECH COMMUNITY………………………                   15

2.7        CODE-SWITCHING………………………….………………………………………………………                16

2.8        COMMUNICATION ACCOMMODATION THEORY…………………………………….                 17

2.9        PRAGMATICS………………………………………………………………………………………..                 18

2.9.1     AREAS OF INTEREST………………………………………………………………………………                 19

2.9.2     REFERENTIAL USE OF LANGUAGE………………………………………………………….                      20

2.10      THE SIX FACTOR OF AN EFFECTIVE VERBAL COMMUNICATION AND THEIR

CORRESPONDING COMMUNICATION FUNCTIONS ……………………………………………..             23

2.11      THE PRINCIPLES OF VERBAL COMMUNICATION …………………..………………..               24

2.12      THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA: ITS USE IN THE NIGERIA POLICE…..                    26

            CHAPTER THREE: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

3.0        INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………              28

3.1        RANKS IN THE NIGERIA POLICE ……………………………………………………………..                     28

3.1.1     POLICE OFFICER’S RANKS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS………………………………….              28

3.2        TERMS USED AMONG NIGERIA POLICE OFFICERS……………………………………              29

3.3        LANGUAGE OF CRIME AND MEANING……………………………………………..…….                        31

3.4        OTHER TERMS WHICH ARE USED AMONG NIGERIA POLICE OFFICERS…….                      33

3.5        NIGERIA POLICE OFFICERS AND THE USE OF ACRONYMS………………………                   34

3.6        CODE-SWITCHING- ENGLISH TO IGBO …………………………………………………              36

           

3.7        CODE-MIXING AMONG NIGERIA POLICE OFFICERS-ENGLISH

AND HAUSA ………………………………………………………………………………………...... 42

CHAPTER FOUR: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

4.0 INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………….         46

4.1 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS…………………………………………………………………………………. 46

4.2 CONCLUSION……………………………………………………………………………………………………       47

4.3 RECOMMENDATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………….           47

REFERENCE

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.0 Introduction

Human beings use language as a means of communication and communication becomes meaningful and effective especially when it comes from the same speech community. In fact, language is very significant because it is a tool for identifying people, their origin, culture or even social status.

Thompson (2008), defines language as a “system of communication using sounds or symbols that enables us to express our feelings, thoughts, ideas and experiences”. Language is a method of human communication that is either spoken or written. It is the system of communication used by a particular community or country. As a medium of communication, language does not exist in a vacuum, but operates in different contexts. These contexts determine the variation of language.

Language is very crucial for human survival because it is the most important and most effective instrument for communication. It is the bond that holds societies together. Consequently, a society must afford to share cognitive experience and orientation.

Nwakobi (2012:13) emphasizes that the need for society to develop a corpus of cognitive orientation which will provide meaningfulness to social situation as well as a sense of stability is derived from the identity of experiences. On the other hand, for motivation to be sustained in individual and group activities, a community must provide a means of communication for its members. One of the essential elements of living in a society or in a community with others is the means of communication and this can be achieved through language. The primacy of language cuts across every sphere of life: law, politics, technology, law enforcement, science, religion, as well as other interpersonal spheres. For the Nigerian police to carry out their duties, they use language just as every other establishment. They use language in the enforcement of law and order, prevention and detection of crime, protection of life and property and other numerous activities.

Different scholars have defined language in different ways. For instance,       

Sapir (1921:8) says language is a “purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced vocal symbols”

   On the other hand, Greenberg (1956) says “language is a system of       signals conforming to the rules which constitute its grammar, or as a set of culturally transmitted behaviour patterns shared by a group of individuals”. It means language is not inherited but learnt.

         In his own view, Hall (1968:158) says “language is the institution whereby humans communicate and interact with each other by means of habitually used oral - auditory symbols”. Note that by “institution”, he means that language is a significant practice in society or culture. In other words, language to him is a purely human institution used by a particular society as one of the super structures of that society’s culture.

 

          Questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience have been debated since Gorgias and Plato in Ancient Greece. Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant, have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language.

            Depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, “language” may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of communication, or to describe the set of rules that make up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules. All languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate sign to particular meanings. Oral and sign languages contain a phonological system that govern how symbols are used to from sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.

Human languages has the properties of productivity, recursivity and displacement and relies entirely on social convention and learning. Its complex structure affords a much wider range of expressions than any known system of animal communication. Language is thought to have originated when early hominids started gradually changing their primate communication system, acquiring the ability form a theory of other minds and a shared intentionality.

This development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communication and social functions. Language is processed in many different locations in the human brain, but especially in Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently when they are approximately three years old. The use of language is deeply entrenched in human culture. Therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification as well as social grooming and entertainment.

Communication as an aspect of language, is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another. The different categories of communication are:-

-   Spoken or verbal communication: face-to-face, telephone, radio or television and other media.

 -   Non-verbal communication: body language, gestures, how we dress or act even our scent.

 -   Written communication: letters, e-mails, books, magazines, the       internet or via other media.

-   Visualizations: graphs and charts, maps, logos and other visualizations communicate messages.

The desired outcome or goal of any communication process is,    understanding.

The process of interpersonal communication cannot be regarded as a phenomenon which simply “happens” but should be seen as a process which involves participants negotiating their role in this process, whether consciously or unconsciously. Senders and receivers of course are vital in communication. In face-to-face communication, the roles of the sender and receiver are not distinct as both parties communicate with each other, even if in very subtle ways such as through eye-contact (or lack of) and general body language. There are many other subtle ways that we communicate (perhaps even unintentionally) with others, for example, the tone of our voice can give clues to our mood or emotional state, whilst hand signals or gestures can add to a spoken message.

In written communication, the sender and receiver are more distinct. Until recent times, relatively few writers and publishers were very powerful when it came to communicating the written word.

The communication process: a message or communication is sent by a sender through a communication channel to a receiver or to a receiver or to multiple receivers.

The sender must encode the message (the information being conveyed) into a form that is appropriate to the communication channel and the receiver(s) decode the message to understand its meaning and significance.

Communication theory: it states that communication involves a sender and a receiver (or receivers) conveying information through a communication channel.

Speech community: is a group of people who share a set of norms and expectations regarding the use of language.

It is a term in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology for a group of people who use the same variety of language and who share specific rules for speaking and for interpreting speech.

The principal unit of analysis in the ethnography of community is the speech community. A speech community is a group of speakers who share a language and patterns of language use. Members of a community speak more often with each other than they do with members outside their community. This pattern of behaviour is known as communicative isolation. Communicative isolation is increased by social, cultural, economic and geographical factors. Consequently, over time the speech community develops characteristic language and language use that are different from those of another community.

Definition of speech community tends to involve varying degrees of emphasis or the following:

-          Shared community membership

-          Shared linguistic communication

A speech community comes to share a specific set of norms for language use through living and interacting together and speech communities may therefore emerge among all groups that interact frequently and share certain norms and ideologies. Such groups can be villages, countries, political or professional communities and communities with shared interests, hobbies or even just group of friends. Speech communities may share particular sets of vocabulary and grammatical conventions as well as speech styles and genres, and also norms for how and when to speak in particular ways.

Gumpers (1964) defines speech community as “any human aggregate characterized by regular and frequent interaction by a means of shared body of verbal signs and set off from similar aggregates by significant differences in language usage.”

This definition gives equal importance to the structural and interactional layers, and does not aim to delineate, either the community or the language system as discrete entities. The community is a group of people that frequently interact with each other. This is not a definition of discrete group because frequency of interaction is relative and graduated and never stable. The definition of the language system is also not exclusive because it is defined as being set off from other systems by significant differences in usage.

Furthermore, Gumperz refines the definition of the linguistic system shared by a speech community.

“Regardless of the linguistic difference among them, the speech varieties employed within speech community form a system because they are related to share set of social norms” (Gumperz 1964).

Here, Gumperz again identifies two important components of the speech community: its members share both a set of linguistic forms and a set of social norms that govern the use of those forms. Gumperz also sought to set up a typological frame work for describing how linguistic systems can be in use within single speech community. He introduced the concept of linguistic range, the degree to which the linguistic system of the community differ so that speech communities can be multilingual, diglossic, multidialectal (including societal stratification), or homogenous- depending on the degree of difference among the different language systems used in the community. Secondly, the notion of compartmentalization described the degree to which the use of difference varieties were either set off from each other as discrete systems in interaction (e.g diglossia where varieties corresponds to specific social contexts, or multilingualism where varieties correspond to discrete social groups within the community) or whether they are habitually mixed in interaction (e.g code-switching bilingualism, syncretic language).

Language variation: The notion of speech community is most generally used as a tool to define a unit of analysis within which to analyze language variation and change. Stylistic features differ among speech communities based on factors such as the group’s socio-economic status, common interests and the level of formality expected within the group and by its larger society.

In Western culture, for example, employees at a law office would likely use more formal language than a group of teenage stakeholders because most Westerners expect more formality and professionalism from practitioners of law than from an informal circle of adolescent friends. This special use of language by certain professions for particular activities is known in linguistics as register.

In some analyses, the group of speakers of register is known as discourse community, while the phrase ‘speech community’ is reserved for varieties of a language or dialect that speakers inherit by birth or adoption.

1.1 Background to the Study

Language use is very essential in every field of endeavour. It is via language that members of a group communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. Without understanding of language, there will be no teamwork that will lead to achievement of desired goals by a group of people.

The Nigerian police cannot achieve its objectives of securing lives and property, enforcement of law and order, prevention and detection of crime, etc. without the use of language in communication. There is need for its members to also understand the language of use among themselves.

Language is a very vital key to effective communication among members of Nigeria police. Therefore, there is the need to undertake an investigation into the language use among members of the Nigeria police.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Apart from the normal language individual use in their daily activities, this project work intends to find answers to the following questions.

a)     Are there other special languages used among members of the Nigeria police?

b)    If there are any, what are their meanings?

c)     And under what situation are such languages used?

1.3 Aims and objectives of the study

  1. To view the Nigerian police as a speech community.
  2. To investigate the various linguistic styles used among members of the Nigerian police force.
  3. To enable sociolinguists have an understanding into the nature of language use among members of the Nigerian police.

1.4 Scope and Delimitation

As a matter of fact, there are many domains of language use in Nigeria, however, for the purpose of this research work, restriction has been made to the Nigeria police alone. This is to enable the researcher to sufficiently carryout the study within the limited time frame and in order to achieve a better desired result.

  1.5 Research Methodology

A method is a way or system of doing something. The method that will be used in this research is discuss below.

  1.5.1 Instrumentation

                   The instrument that will be used in this research is the tape recorder.    Notes will also be taken.

  1.5.2 Method of Data Collection

  The researcher will collect data using the interview method. This interview method will enable face-to-face discussion with police officers which will yield primary information and in-depth analysis. Some questions will be asked and the police officers will be expected to give answers to those questions.

 1.5.3 Method of Data Analysis

Data gathered in this research will be placed in rows and columns in tabular form. Special terms used among police officers will be on the left column while the meanings of the terms will be on the right column of the tables.    

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