This essay is done in an attempt to examine the language and style used in sports columns of some selected Nigerian newspapers.
In recent days, we have known several modes of disseminating information down to the public and the modes are radio, television, digital media and the print media (Newspapers and Magazines). Of the different modes of dissemination, the print media is the most important because it is durable, visible and appealing to the sense of sight at the time of its reading, because of its durability it can be kept for several years and it allows for its keeper or owner to go through them over and over again thoroughly. Another of its edge over the electronic media (Television and Radio) is that it can be kept and stored either in the homes, schools, institutions, public and private universities, places of worship and companies. The print media (Newspapers and Magazines) is for all purposes.
Due to the importance of sports columns to newspaper, we cannot but look into the way their language and styles are used by the various newspapers.
1.1 A BRIEF HISTORY OF MASS MEDIA
Mass media came into existence in Western Europe during the authoritarian government when the emergence of the middle class and what the printed matter would do to empower the people against the power centres.
We can say that “mass media helps in connecting people and brings the globe into our glance”. It is wide in nature and the features include the print media which is common and examples are newspapers and magazines. We also have the electronic media which includes the television and radio and video. Lastly, we have the new age digital media e.g. Blogs, Mobile Phones and the Internet.
“History of mass media can be traced back to the early days of dramas that were performed in various cultures”. The term mass media was coined in the 1200 and it originated from the print media which happened to be the first example. The first newspaper was printed in China 868 A.D but failed due to the “high cost of paper and illiteracy amongst people”.
Europe can boast of being the primary source of mass media when looking back at the origin of mass media as it was Johannes Gutenberg who for the first time printed a book in a primary press in 1453. Gradually, during the era of post-second world war, radio, television and video were introduced; the audio-visual became prominent as the give infortainment. But most recently, the internet has taken over the fame and prominence of the mass media. It provides information through various web sites and search engines, games can be played, videos seen, listen to radio, chat with people not minding distance in location and it gives in information on various issues like schools, education, jobs, fashion, movies, politics, economics, science, sports, career and relationship.
Wilson and Wilson (2001) says “books are the oldest form of mass communication and despite the rapid advancement of electronic mass media in the 20th century, the book publishing industry remains profitable”. The origin of newspapers can be traced to the need to disseminate information to the people some centuries ago with the official news sheet called ACTA DIURNA (daily acts) posted by the Roman government in public places. Leaders in Venice give news regularly to the public on a “printed sheet (that sold for a coin) called a GAZETTA”. Many newspapers now has adopted the name Gazette for their publications. Another is “corantos” (1621) in Germany. With just a single sheet having current News published at regular intervals.
A Nigeria Newspaper covers local issues, politics, major events and celebrations, lifestyle of the Nigerian people and business news of Nigeria. She has one of the most postulating media systems in Africa with over 100 national and local newspapers and publications operating in Nigeria. Some of which are owned by the state government. The Nigerian newspapers include esteemed dailies, well-liked tabloids and periodicals that defined the welfare of ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The Nigerian press had been 2years before the advent of the British Colony in Lagos. With the first publication “Iwe Irohin” in Abeokuta. History of press in Nigeria can be “linked with the missionary, intellectual and material development of this country, with the growth of education, the nation has been able to produce more leaders in professions or in public life”. The pioneers of the Nigerian press were not men of high status, education and professional training in journalism. As long as they can express themselves well in English.
Iwe Iroyin by Rev. Henry Townsend was launched in 1859, it was founded in Abeokuta to give information to the Yoruba populace. Three years after Iwe Iroyin, it clashed in 1862 with the colonial authorities over the brewing hostility between Lagos and Egbaland. Rev. Townsend was accused of “aggravating the problem to increase the level of literacy” and as “a vehicle for propagating the new religion as well as the new enlightenment”.
Nigerian legislation council was introduced with the Lagos Town council between 1914 and 1923 following Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe’s observation of the contents of the Nigerian newspapers.
As the year goes by many other newspapers were created by different people across the country.
1.2 PURPOSE OF STUDY
Many essay writers have done their work on the media generally especially newspapers. Also, more works have been done on stylistics but several has been on reports oral renditions such as welcome addresses, speech and plays but not much has been done concerning sports comments/columns in the newspapers as far as the writer is aware of. Hence, this essay aims at filling this gap.
1.3 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
Sports columns generally have different and unique styles of writing; they have different ideas, use of language and level of formality.
This essay would be limited to comments from two commonly and widely read and popular newspapers which have different techniques, topics, dates and styles. The newspapers are The Punch and Complete Sports. It also would be limited to graphological, morphological and lexico-semantic choices in its study because it would not be feasible if all the stylistic features are used for the analysis.
The essay shall be in four chapters.
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
In carrying out this research, twelve pieces of sports columns or comments has been drafted out from two Nigerian newspapers (The Punch and Complete Sports).
The research is to stylistically analyze the data graphologically, morphologically and also check the lexico-semantic choices of usage.
Grapholigical features will include the font style, capitalisation, pictures, text in texts, colons, question marks, bracketing, quotation marks, bold, underline, exclamation marks and their relevance to the write-up.
The morphological features will only focus on the compounding of words.While the lexico-semantic choices will include; collocations, meaning carriers, acronyms, coinages, analogy and references in relation to stylistics.