A Pragmatic Analysis of Cartoon Conversations in Selected Nigerian : Current School News

A Pragmatic Analysis of Cartoon Conversations in Selected Nigerian Newspapers

Filed in English Language Project Topics by on June 6, 2019

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A Pragmatic Analysis of Cartoon Conversations in Selected Nigerian Newspapers


Cartoons make use of language as an artistic medium of communication with various intentions by the cartoonist. this work explores the communicative intent of the artist for sketching a particular cartoon.

To do this, the researcher adopts a pragmatic approach making use of three theories in pragmatics  including; speech acts theory, semiotics and implicature. Accordingly, eighteen cartoons which were purposely selected from two Nigerian newspapers, The Guardian and The Punch served as the primary sources of data for the study.

The secondary sources of data comprises of relevant information from textbook, journals, articles and the internet. From the analysis of the data, it was discovered that assertives are the most used speech act with the aim of portraying the state of affairs and the speakers belief about situations and events.

A total of 57 assertives were found. Directives (36), expressive (8), commissives (3) and the least used speech act is declarative (1), reason being that it can bring about a change in the state of affairs.

Thus, for this speech act to achieved, extra linguistic factors are required. Moreso, one speech act can contain more than one communicative intent and effects on interactants. The work recommends similar research be carried out in other Nigerian newspapers.



Title page-       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           i

Declaration-    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Certification –  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iii

Dedication-     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           iv

Acknowledgements-   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           v

Abstract –        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ix


  • Background to the Study            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           1
  • Statement of the Problem            –           –           –           –           –           –           2
  • Objectives of the Study  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           3
  • Research Questions         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           3
  • Significance of the Study            –           –           –           –           –           –           4
  • Research Methodology   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           4
  • Scope/Delimitation of Study       –           –           –           –           –           –           4 


2.1       Pragmatics: An Overview       –           –           –           –           –           –           5

2.1.1    Studies of Cartoons    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           6

2.1.2    Overview of Cartoons            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           8

2.1.3    Cartooning in Nigeria –           –           –           –           –           –           –           9

2.2       Theoretical Framework           –           –           –           –           –           –           10

2.2.1    Speech Acts Theory    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           10

2.2.2    Semiotics         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           14

2.2.3    Implicature      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           15


3.1       Cartoons Referring to Politics            –           –           –           –           –           –           17

3.2       Cartoons with Education Undertone  –           –           –           –           –           32

3.3       Cartoons Describing Family   –           –           –           –           –           –           36

3.4       Cartoons that Address Health Issues –           –           –           –           –           46

3.5       Cartoons Referring to the Legal System        –           –           –           –           50

3.6       Statistical Representation of Pragmatic Strategies in the Cartoons    –           54


4.1       Discussion of Findings           –           –           –           –           –           –           56

4.2       Conclusion      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           58

4.3       Recommendations      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           59



  • Background to the Study

Newspaper is a field of journalism made up of unbound printed publications with information about current issues, disseminated daily or weekly. It is considered a very important means of communication in a society.

Communication is the act of transmitting information between two or more people Jack (2015, p.1) states that “the purpose of any communication is to share meaning, experience or emotion between speakers and hearers or senders and receivers, and this is done through the use of language as the main aim of language is to communicate.” Newspapers can communicate to the general public through editorials, columns, advertisements, etc as well as cartoons.

The Encyclopedia Britannica (Macro-Paedia, vol.3), cited in Onakpa (2014, p. 34) sees cartoon as “a pictorial parody or imitation, which by the devices of caricatures, analogy as well as ludicrous juxtaposition, sharpens the public view of a contemporary or topical issue, event, political or social trend.”

Cartoons are eminent features for any newspaper, just as Lawate (2012, p.9) observes that “cartoons for any Newspaper are indispensable: they engage the audience, helps them understand and interpret political, social, and economic scenes in a country.” He goes on to say that cartoons are inspired by the situation cartoonist find themselves.

In Nigeria, earlier editions of newspapers did not consider cartoons but over the years they have become prominent features in Nigerian newspapers and magazines.

Cartoons are comic ways of reflecting the society, if probably, portrayed in a serious manner may warrant court action and perhaps running into a loss of money for the newspaper. It is capable of communicating with or without caption. It is also regarded as a safe means of communication because it guarantees the cartoonist freedom of expression.

Agberia (2001, p. 41) argued that “cartoon is one of the most effective and safest instruments for interfering with the policies of government, especially in a situation where the press is not given its due freedom….”


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CSN Team.

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