By Rukayat Adeyemi
Lagos – Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), has called on the Nigerian Pragmatics Association to address violence resulting from hate speeches and inappropriate remarks ahead of the 2019 elections.
The vice-chancellor made the call at the national workshop of the association in conjunction with LASU Department of English.
Fagbohun said proper use and understanding of the meanings and intentions of language speakers could avert most of the internecine crises which had claimed many lives and properties across Nigeria.
“Pragmatic studies must provide a direction and chart a new path to responsible, issue-based political messages, a welcome departure from half-filled, skewed messages and misrepresentations that currently pervade our traditional and new media,” he said.
He urged stakeholders to urgently address inappropriate use of language to enhance inter-ethnic understanding, harmony and check the spate of mindless killings across the nation.
Represented by Prof. Damola Oke, Deputy Vice – Chancellor (Administration), Fagbohun urged pragmatists to ensure politicians and their supporters canvass for votes without eliciting negative reactions from opponents.
“Pragmatists should concern themselves with enhancing appropriateness of language use in social interaction, they must tailor their studies to make language speakers use language appropriately.
“In order to enhance intercultural understanding and harmony, they should also promote peaceful coexistence among ethnic nationalities in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria,” he said.
Prof. Akin Odebunmi, President, Nigerian Pragmatics Association, said pragmatics was well suited to public domains for interactive agendas and intention management necessary for efficiency and productivity.
The keynote speaker, Prof. Nana Amfo of the University of Legon, Ghana, described pragmatics as “the gap between what is said and what is communicated or interpreted.”
According to the Ghanaian scholar, pragmatics is the science of language that is expected to use various language of expression to engage in interdisciplinary studies, rigorous scientific and empirical work.