Pragmatic Marker Borrowing in African Englishes: A Corpus-Based Study

There is extensive study of pragmatic marker borrowing from Asian languages by speakers of Asian Englishes, without a full exploration of pragmatic markers borrowed from African languages into African Englishes. Thus, this study will investigate indigenous pragmatic markers in South African, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan and Tanzanian varieties of English, with a view to exploring their meanings, frequency, grammatical constraints, discourse-pragmatic functions, and structural and functional similarities/differences between these bilingual pragmatic markers. The data for the study will include the South African, Nigerian, Ghanaian and East African components of the International Corpus of English and the African components of the Global Web-based English Corpus. The data will further be complemented with interviews with speakers of these varieties of English. The data will be analysed qualitatively and quantitatively, using the grammatical-pragmatic and Fusion approaches to the study of pragmatic markers, systemic-functional linguistics as well as the concept of pragmatic borrowing. The project will discuss the cognitive basis for the deployment of bilingual pragmatic markers in these African English varieties. The study is expected to contribute to the research on corpus pragmatics and bilingual pragmatic markers in African Englishes, which are areas that have not received adequate research attention among African linguists.

Project leader(s):
  • Foluke Unuabonah (English Department, Redeemer's University, Nigeria)

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