Information Structure in Nigerian Pidgin English Print and Electronic Media Advertisements

ABSTRACT

Information structure provides a deeper understanding of how language is organised in

Nigerian Pidgin English advertising discourse. Existing studies in Nigerian Pidgin English

(NPE) advertisements have centred on describing its history, vocabulary items, standard

orthography and aspects of grammar but there is a paucity of research on the information

structure of pidgin texts. This study, therefore, investigated information structure in NPE

advertisements in print and electronic media with a view to revealing the organisation of

information for the establishment of their textual identities.

M.A.K. Halliday’s model of Information and Thematic structures was applied in

examining how theme and rheme combine to make up the thematic structure, the different

ways in which the theme of a clause is realised and how it impinges on the meaning of an

advertisement text. Fifteen spoken and fifteen written advertisement texts in NPE which

were purposively sampled from print (newspaper/magazine/billboard) and electronic

(radio/television/internet) advertisements formed the database. The samples were selected

from a broad spectrum of products and services such as; beverages, household durables,

pharmaceuticals, finance and communication. For the spoken texts, the transcription

model adopted was the anglicised writing system used by Loreto Todd and the method for

the analysis of data was discourse analytic.

In NPE advertisements, information was organised in clauses which have constituents that

are labelled Given and New. In the clauses, the Given element was first established by the

advertiser before communicating the New information. This was done primarily to

enhance comprehension of advert items. At the textual identity level, three varieties of

theme in NPE advertisement texts, namely; Unmarked, Marked and Highly marked were

used in the advertisements. While Marked and Unmarked themes were commonly used,

the Highly marked theme rarely occurred. The information patterns varied: Topical+

Textual+ Interpersonal Themes and Rheme; Textual+ Textual Themes and Rheme;

Topical+ Interpersonal Themes and Rheme. There were also substantial convergences and

divergences in NPE print and electronic media advertisements. The notable areas of

convergence were in the discourse structure of advertisement texts, the use of synthetic

personalisation, mood systems, informal style, cohesive devices, referential indirectness,

visual-verbal correspondence and tense patterns. Divergences occurred in graphology,

space management, layout techniques, the use of different typefaces and letter sizes.

Creativity was observed in well-designed and carefully-worded attractive headlines,

picture-text convergence, picture-text divergence, the use of humour and figurative

language.

Information structure shows that the messages of pidgin texts connect as a unified

discourse through the combination of Given and New elements while the textual identity

reveals the constant theme-rheme patterns and their differential representations in print

and electronic media advertisements. These features facilitate easy comprehension and

recall of Nigerian Pidgin English advertising discourse.

Key words: Theme and rheme, Nigerian Pidgin English, print and electronic, media

advertisements

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APA

AKINTAYO, A (2021). Information Structure in Nigerian Pidgin English Print and Electronic Media Advertisements. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/information-structure-in-nigerian-pidgin-english-print-and-electronic-media-advertisements

MLA 8th

AKINTAYO, Abiodun "Information Structure in Nigerian Pidgin English Print and Electronic Media Advertisements" Afribary. Afribary, 20 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/information-structure-in-nigerian-pidgin-english-print-and-electronic-media-advertisements. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

MLA7

AKINTAYO, Abiodun . "Information Structure in Nigerian Pidgin English Print and Electronic Media Advertisements". Afribary, Afribary, 20 Apr. 2021. Web. 20 Jul. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/information-structure-in-nigerian-pidgin-english-print-and-electronic-media-advertisements >.

Chicago

AKINTAYO, Abiodun . "Information Structure in Nigerian Pidgin English Print and Electronic Media Advertisements" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 20, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/information-structure-in-nigerian-pidgin-english-print-and-electronic-media-advertisements