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A SOCIO LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF THE USE OF DEROGATORY WORDS ON WOMEN (A CASE STUDY OF IKEJA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE)

ENGLISH LITERARY STUDIES UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Sociolinguistics cannot be defined without the language use and the society’s feedback to it. Sociolinguistics can be defined as the study of the correlation between language and society, of language variation, and of attitudes about language. It is said to be an arm of science of linguistics that studies how language and culture are linked to each other, and the usage of language in diverse social contexts.  Okeke identified it as a study of the correlation between language and social factors. It is the study of the sociological factors related to the use of language, including gender, race, and class, to mention but a few.

Form the definitions above, we have seen and understood that sociolinguistics is an area of study that links sociology with linguistics and each of them cannot do without each other. It is an arm of sociology and which is concerned with how language use is a determined by a given society’s linguistic requirements. Every society has linguistic set of laws acknowledged for communication and interaction. With the help of Sociolinguistics, we know how different groups in a specific society are separated by some social variables such as ethnicity, religion, status, gender, level of education, age, etc. and how these variables is used to categorize individuals in social class or socio-economic classes. The social study of language is a modern linguistic pattern because the modern linguists were the first to acknowledge and accept the language and its nature.

Derogatory words and languages on women are belittling and degrading words that are used to express a lack of respect for women such as bitch, cow, fish, etc.In Language usage, we use language as much as it usesus. This is applicable to how our choice of forms of expression is led by the thoughts we wish to express, in the same manner the way we feel about the things in the real world governs the way we express ourselves about these things.

Significantly, language is one of the major, noticeable elements in the human life which is used to reach or achieve numerous social and cultural objectives. In speech, some linguistics items areseen as being normal, elegant and pleasing. Howbeit, derogatory words specifically are notconsidered as acceptable speech forms of the conservative speakers of a language. Nevertheless, language portrays the culture of its users and, at the same time, it is affected and changed by it. Language shows the social values and completely differentiates between the male and female world, because men and women are meant to use different styles in their communication. For this reason, every individual needs a linguistic code for the purpose of sharing his/her special experiences.

Derogatory is explained as being correlated with behaviour which is believed to be totally forbidden and also known as immoral behavior. Derogatory as we know work hand in hand with behaviour and it’scompletely prohibited. In language, derogatory is related with things which are not said, and on the other hand with words and expressions which are not used. Derogatory words most times cause shame and anxiety, as they can send a number of signals such as anger, frustration and happiness. Oftentimespeople use them on purposejust to achieve several sorts of personal and interpersonal outcomes that may be either positive or negative in terms of their influence on others. As far as the former is concerned, a speaker may avoid a physical struggle when he insults the others. This act may help him at least to relieve his anger, as it may grease the feeling of the others and as such exchange of words and on rare occasions, physical fight, specifically with women.

Most users of English Language know the codes of derogatory words and as well observe the rules. Stepping on these rules may lead to dissatisfaction and more. The use of a derogatory word can lead to all manner of unwanted responses and also physical legal and illegal violence. Once the code of derogatory is violated, the penalty for breaking it can be severed but is hardly cost one his or her life.On this premise, acts of human excretion and sexual intercourse are to be avoided in polite conversation. Age and salary should also be avoided in English conversation. However, if they must be mentioned, they should be in a mild or pleasant way. Therefore it is salient for a foreign language learner to acquaint himself with such knowledge.

STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM

The major problem of violence against women which includes the use of derogatory words on the female gender has regrettably recorded an unprecedented increase over the years. This has led to the shying away of women of substance who would have naturally contributed to the development of the country as knowledge and expertise in not gender based. The current issues of derogatory words against the female folks have led to violence like rape, against women.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The major aim of the study is to examine the use of derogatory words on women in Ikeja local government area of Lagos state. Other specific objectives of the study are;

  1. to know the relationship between sociolinguistics and language
  2. to know the effects of derogatory words on women
  3. to find out the derogatory words on women and how it affects women’s development in Nigeria
  4. to determine how derogatory words influences the Nigerian society
  5. to recommend ways of eradicating the use of derogatory words on women in Nigeria

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the relationship between sociolinguistics and language?
  2. What are the effects of derogatory words on women?
  3. What are the derogatory words on women and how does it affect women’s development in Nigeria?
  4. How do derogatory words influence the Nigerian society?
  5. What are the ways of eradicating the use of derogatory words on women in Nigeria?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study would be of immense importance to the Nigerian government, gender related NGOS, and the general public as  it would unravel the impact of the use of derogatory words on women in Nigeria. The study also promises to be of immense importance to scholars, researchers and students who are interested in developing a further research on the subject matter.

SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The study is restricted to the impact of the use of derogatory words on women in Ikeja local government area of Lagos state, Nigeria.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

  1. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

DEROGATORY: Derogatory means about the same as insulting. Derogatory language is meant to hurt, and it usually does. If you feel offended or insulted by what someone says, the person probably said something derogatory. Racial, sexist, and homophobic slurs are all derogatory. Insults that mean someone is stupid or crazy are derogatory. Making a joke about someone's mother is derogatory.

GENDER: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

DISCRIMINATION: the act of treating a person or particular group of people differently, especially in a worse way from the way in which you treat other people, because of their skin colour, sex, sexuality, etc

 

REFERENCES

Burchfield, Robert. (2000). The English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Crystal, David. (2007). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Second edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Deng, Yanchang& Liu, Runqing. (2009). Language and Culture: A Comparison of English and Chinese Culture. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Dovidio John F. Glick Peter and Rudman Laurie A. (2005). On the Nature of Prejudices; fifty years after All port, Blackwell publishing Ltd.

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