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Title: Sexual Discourse Among Students in Selected Tertiary Institutions in Lagos State, Nigeria
Authors: Oni, O. O.
Keywords: Lagos state tertiary institutions
Discourse forms
Pragmatic functions
Sexual discourse
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Sexual discourse refers to sex-related verbal activities that many Nigerian tertiary institution students engage in. Existing studies have addressed sexual discourse from socio-cultural, sociolinguistic and critical linguistic perspectives but have not adequately studied its pragmatic import, especially in relation to encounters centering on sexual intercourse. This study, therefore, investigates the discourse forms, contextual features, pragmatic functions, and attitudes to and perception of the language of sex among students of tertiary institutions in Lagos State, Nigeria. This is with a view to identifying the context-determined roles of language in and the impact of gender and religion on the students‟ sexual discourse. The study adopted aspects of conceptual metaphor, together with pragmemic and contextual beliefs theories. Forty purposive tape recordings of students‟ conversations were made, and copies of a questionnaire were administered to 760 students in eight tertiary institutions in Lagos State, selected on stratified and purposive bases: two universities, three polytechnics and three colleges of education. Four hundred structured interviews were conducted with 50 students in each of the institutions, and eight focus-group discussions were held with six students each in the institutions. Participant observation was randomly undertaken on the students‟ interactions. While the qualitative data were subjected to content-analysis, Pearson and student t-test were used to test the hypotheses formulated at 0.01 and 0.05 levels of significance. Two discourse forms characterise the encounters: plain euphemisms and metaphors. Plain euphemisms bifurcate into sound indicative and sense indicative euphemisms; metaphors trifurcate into euphemistic, dysphemistic and slangy metaphors. Euphemistic metaphors are derived from five source domains: food/fruit, security, mysticism, leisure/sport and everyday language; dysphemistic metaphors from the army, carpentry, food/meat and everyday language; and slangy metaphors from sports, music, Internet and Nigerian cultures. Three main contextual features are observed: Shared Cultural Knowledge (SCK), Shared Situational Knowledge (SSK) and Shared Experiential Knowledge (SEK). SCK and SSK are characterised by the use of slangy words, metaphors and indexicals, and SEK by attitudinal markers, and linguistic and cognitive mappings. There are three practs in the interactions: amusing, informing, and criticising. Six allopracts are identified: three for criticizing; two for informing; and one for amusing. The quantitative analysis indicates that there is a significant relationship between students‟ attitudes to and their perception of sexual discourse(r = .443, P<.01); that a significant difference exists in the attitude of male and female students to sexual discourse ( t = 3.71 P<0.5); and that male and female students‟ perception of sexual discourse differ (t = 2.459, P < .05). Although there is a significant difference in the attitude of Muslim and Christian students to sexual discourse ( t = 2.284, P<.05), there is no significant difference in their perception of sexual discourse . Lagos State tertiary institution students deploy creative linguistic forms with context-sensitive functions in their sexual discourse; attitude, perception, gender and religion play important roles in the discourse. Thus, understanding the language of sex and associated socio-emotional variables among the students requires background knowledge of the social, linguistic and interactional resources the students draw upon in their sexual discourse
Description: A Thesis in the Department of English Submitted to the Faculty of Arts in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Ibadan
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