A Lexico-Sematic Analysis Of Olu Obafemi’s Naira Has No Gender

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A Lexico-Sematic Analysis Of Olu Obafemi’s Naira Has No Gender


This work focuses on the Lexico-semantic variation of the Nigerian English using Olu Obafemi’s text Naira Has No Gender. The aim of this work is to highlight meaning change according to context and environment. Element of Lexico-semantic variation in Nigerian English which are Transfer, Analogy, Acronyms, Semantic Shift and Extension and Coinages or Neologism identified by Adegbija (1989) are used to analyse data collected from Olu Obafemi’s Naira Has No Gender. In this analysis we discovered that lexical usage varies according to context and situation. We found out that contextual use of lexis resulted in meaning change. We also discovered that English usage in Nigeria reflects the culture and its various languages. Naira  Gender


Language is the brain behind communication among human beings in different societies (Jackson, 1990, p.1). This implies that ideas, messages, norms etc., are shared among people in divergent societies through conventional symbols and sounds- verbal communication. But communication can be non-verbal e.g. shaking of hands, gestures, nodding, winking etc. Jackson (ibid).  Naira  Gender
An aspect of this broad means of communication is lexic-semantics which is formed by lexis and semantics. Lexis is “the vocabulary of a language” (Crystal 2008, p. 279). While semantics is defined as “a major branch of LINGUISTICS devoted to the study of MEANING in LANGUAGE (crystal, 2008, p. 428). Thus the selection of words in relation to their functional ends in terms of meaning informs the field of lexico-semantics. This implies that each time a language user sets out to speak or write, he/she is faced with choices to select from among infinite sets of lexical items. Naira  Gender
However, since contexts that constrain language users when speaking or writing differ in situational, socio-cultural, political and geographical degrees, there is bound to be lexico-semantic variation. The English language as used in the Nigerian context differs in these degrees, from the ways it is used in native contexts such as the USA, the UK, Canada, etc, (Jenkins, 2003). In this connection, Adedimeji (2009, p.2) has this to say “In Nigeria… the need to express local wisdom and concepts through the medium of an otherwise foreign language had generated the regional lexico-semantic variation that characterizes the use of Language.” Naira  Gender
It is against this background that we set out to investigate Naira Has No Gender (a play piece by Olu Obafemi) through the lens of Lexico-semantics.  Naira  GenderThe underlying assumption is that, since the text is written in English to express the socio-political realities of Nigeria, we shall then attempt to relate these “Nigerianisms” to their functional imports in the social context Naira  Gender

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