A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF (IM) POLITENESS IN THE ADDRESS FORMS OF NIGERIAN ENGLISH USAGE
This paper focuses on (im) politeness in the address forms of Nigerian English usage and taking of offence. To this end, the paper argues that certain socio-cultural conventions within the Nigerian milieu do not only give birth to (im)politeness in the Nigerian English usage but permeate the way and manner (im)politeness is enacted in this variety of English. Besides, (im)politeness by speakers of Nigerian English would oftentimes be misinterpreted by speakers of other varieties of English due to divergences in the culture of the speaker(s) and hearer(s). The paper adopts Fairclough’s (1989) theory of Critical Discourse Analysis by testing his “three dimensional model” using purposively obtained data from direct linguistic interactions and two selected articles on honorifics on the internet. The work eventually finds that profession, seniority, religion, politics, economy and ideology are various ways (im) polite address forms reflect unequal power relations in Nigerian English based discourse. It also discovers that when politeness is underplayed in discourse among users of Nigerian English, provocation of offence, outright breakdown in communication and exhibition of face threatening acts are inevitable. The paper concludes that owing to the socio-cultural influence on the Nigerian variety of English, speakers of other varieties of English across the world would, to some extent, be at a loss when they engage speakers of Nigerian English in conversations.
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