This study explores the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of Pidgin in broadcasting, specifically in the context of FIFA World Cup commentary on Super Sport. Pidgin is a creole language widely spoken in West Africa, and its use in broadcasting has generated both controversy and enthusiasm among the audience. The study was conducted through a survey of 200 respondents, and the data was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The findings indicate that the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of Pidgin in broadcasting are generally positive, with respondents appreciating the language for its ability to make sports commentary more engaging and entertaining. However, the study also reveals that the use of Pidgin can either facilitate or hinder communication and comprehension among the audience, depending on the level of proficiency of the broadcasters in the language. The study sheds light on the potential of Pidgin as a tool for promoting local African culture and identity in the media, and the findings can be valuable for broadcasters and media companies seeking to engage with local audiences and promote linguistic diversity and inclusivity in their programming.
1.1 Background of the Study
Communication is the key to human evolution. It is what defines human existence and civilization. But without recognizable sounds, signs or symbols, or in a wider context, language, what we call communication –be it verbal or non-verbal or in any of it forms, would be non-existent. One of the most significant variances amongst man and animal is man’s ability to express himself effectively and make others comprehend him easily.
Language is only possible because within each society, people agree to understand a particular pattern of sound in a particular way. For instance, all Anglophone countries understand the meaning of the word ‘fire’. Scholars and researchers have over the years given us wider and robust information about language from their fields: to the linguists, it is termed a set of arbitrary symbols; the communication experts deduced that it is a tool for sharing ideas from a sender to a receiver and so on.
However, language can be simply put as what members of a particular society or culture utilize in order to communicate or make mutual interaction possible. According to Akindele and Adegbite (1999p.1), language is a human phenomenon that has form which can be described in terms of units of sound (phonemes), word, morphemes, phrases, sentences and paragraphs or discourse. This definition shows that language has often been identified as the most unique attribute of man.
It is through language that human beings grasp and understand reality and transmit it from one generation to another. This view is buttressed by Blakar (1979p.4) who asserts that “we actually live and behave in a world of language”. Fromkin and Rodman (1980p.1) quoted Noam Avram Chomsky as saying that “when we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the human essence. The distributive qualities of mind that are so far as we know unique to man”. This underlines the basic fact that man is continuously using language, be it spoken, written or printed form and is constantly linked to others via shared norms or behaviour.
Language has been a major tool, chiefly responsible for the social consciousness of any country’s citizenry, because it is essentially with the usage of language that information about the on-goings in the environment get to the people, either directly, through contact with any medium of mass communication, like the television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books and journals, and other forms of the mass media; or through indirect means such as conversations, meetings and discussions.
Thus, it is acknowledged that a language is essentially a set of items, what Hudson (1990) calls ‘linguistic items,’ such entities as sounds, words, grammatical structures and so on. Corroborating Hudson’s view, Oyewo (2005p.15) describe language as “the medium or vehicle for conveying ideas, a system of arbitrary vocal symbol based on social cooperation; the totality of meaningful utterance in any given society” and this, is by far the most essential means of human communication. Consequently, it is these items, their status and their arrangements that have brought about creation of both spoken and written languages.
Among the many languages of the world are a few often assigned to a somewhat marginal position, the various lingua franca, pidgins and creoles have existed since time immemorial but have not been studied as full-fledged languages. Pidgin languages have their different histories majorly from language contact and subsequent borrowing and code-mixing. The origin of Nigerian Pidgin can be traced to the contact which was established between multilingual coastal communities and Portuguese merchants, who were joined later by the Dutch and the English.
There is a paucity of historical records; the history of serious study of such languages goes back only a few decades, and because of the circumstances of their use, they have often been regarded as being of little intrinsic value or interest. Until recently, pidgins and creoles have generally been viewed as uninteresting linguistic phenomena, which have been said to lack articles, the copula, and grammatical inflections, rather than those they possess, and those who speak them have often been treated with disdain or contempt.
Hymes (1971) has pointed out that before the 1930s, pidgins and creoles were largely ignored by linguists, who regarded them as ‘marginal languages’ at best. Some linguists were often advised to abstain from them, lest they endanger their careers. He points out that pidgins and creoles ‘are marginal’, in the circumstances of their origin, and in the attitudes towards them on the part of those who speak one of the languages from which they derive.
Pidgin, as a word or a language has all through the civilization of man, characteristically made communication between two or more people simpler and has diminished the prestige and bottlenecks with respect to other languages. It is a language with no native speakers because it is no one’s first language but, is a contact language. That is, Pidgin is the product of a multilingual situation in which those who wish to communicate must find or improvise a simple language system that will enable them to do so. Perhaps, it is on this statement of intent that famous American anthropologist and motivational speaker, Dr Gary D. Chapman affirmed that “Language differences are part and parcel of human culture. If we are to communicate effectively across cultural lines, we must learn the language of those with whom we wish to communicate”.
A Pidgin is therefore regarded as a ‘reduced’ variety of a ‘normal’ language. It is used to refer to a language which develops in a situation where speakers of different languages and socio-cultural origins have a need to interact but do not share a mutual language. Once a pidgin has emerged, it is generally learned as a second language and used for communication among people who speak differently. Holmes (1989) defines Pidgin as a reduced language that results from extended contact between groups of people with no language in common; it evolves when they need some means of verbal communication, perhaps for trade, but no group learns the native language of any other group for social reasons that may include lack of trust or of close contact.
Nigerian Pidgin English (henceforth NigPE or NPE) is in fact becoming very popular in the country, especially in the secondary schools and universities; even at public function as well as in the offices. It is a lingua franca for social integration among diverse ethnic groups in the country. It is safe to say that Nigerian Pidgin English (NigePE) has evolved from the basic early development to its present phase that it is now utilized even for sophisticated literary communication.
It is a creole language that evolved as a result of the interaction between English and local African languages. Pidgin has gained prominence in Nigeria and other parts of Africa as a result of its widespread use in the media, including radio and television broadcasting. Sports commentary is one of the areas where the use of pidgin English has become increasingly popular in Nigeria. It is not uncommon to hear sports commentators using pidgin English to communicate with their audiences. This trend has become even more pronounced with the advent of digital media and the rise of social media platforms.
The FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and it attracts a massive global audience. In Nigeria, the tournament is broadcasted on SuperSport, a South African-based sports network. During the tournament, SuperSport employs a team of commentators, some of whom use pidgin English to communicate with the audience. The aim of this study is to examine the audience perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary on SuperSport during the FIFA World Cup. The study seeks to explore the reasons why some audiences prefer to listen to commentators who use pidgin English and why others do not. Additionally, the study aims to investigate the impact of the use of pidgin English on the understanding and enjoyment of the commentary among the audience.
Understanding the audience perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary is essential for broadcasters and media organizations in Nigeria and other African countries. It will help to inform decisions on the use of pidgin English in sports broadcasting and contribute to the development of effective communication strategies that cater to the diverse language needs of the audience.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The use of pidgin English in sports commentary is becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria, and it is a subject of controversy among different segments of the audience. Some audiences enjoy listening to commentators who use pidgin English, while others find it difficult to comprehend and prefer commentators who use standard English. The FIFA World Cup, being one of the biggest sporting events in the world, provides an excellent opportunity to investigate the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary.
The motivation for this study is to provide insights into the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup. This study aims to explore the reasons why some audiences prefer to listen to commentators who use pidgin English and why others do not. Additionally, the study seeks to investigate the impact of the use of pidgin English on the understanding and enjoyment of the commentary among the audience. The findings of this study will be useful for broadcasters and media organizations in Nigeria and other African countries to develop effective communication strategies that cater to the diverse language needs of the audience. Overall, this research will contribute to the understanding of language use in sports broadcasting and its impact on audience perception and engagement.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of the study is to investigate the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport. The specific objectives are to:
- Investigate the rationale of Pidgin English use in sport commentary in Nigeria.
- Examine Pidgin English as a language of popular communication in Nigeria.
- Determine the basic challenges and prospects of Pidgin English use for sports commentary in Nigeria
- Provide reasonable recommendations for broadcasters in the media community for them to employ the advantages associated with the use of Nigerian Pidgin English in sport commentary, should there be any.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the rationale of Pidgin English use in sports commentary in Nigeria?
- What is the status of Pidgin English as a language of popular communication in Nigeria?
- What are the basic challenges and prospects of Pidgin English use for sports commentary in Nigeria?
- Are there any advantages inherent in the use of Pidgin English in advertisements?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Upon completion, the research on audience perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin in broadcasting during the FIFA World Cup commentary on SuperSport will provide the following benefits:
Improved understanding of the audience’s language preferences in sports commentary: The research findings will provide insights into the audience’s preferences for the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup. This information will help media organizations to better understand the language needs of their audience and develop more effective communication strategies.
Enhanced engagement and enjoyment of sports commentary: The study will evaluate the impact of the use of pidgin English on the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of sports commentary. The findings will help broadcasters and media organizations to develop best practices for the use of pidgin English in sports commentary that can enhance the audience’s engagement and overall viewing experience during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport.
Increased awareness of language diversity in sports broadcasting: The research will contribute to increasing awareness of the diversity of languages in sports broadcasting and the need to cater to the language needs of the audience. It will help to promote the use of pidgin English in sports broadcasting as a way of promoting linguistic and cultural diversity.
Contribution to the development of language policy in broadcasting: The research findings will inform policy development in broadcasting, especially with regard to language use. The study will provide data and information that can be used to develop policies that support the use of pidgin English in sports commentary, while also ensuring that the language needs of all segments of the audience are catered to.
Potential for further research: The research will contribute to the body of knowledge on language use in sports broadcasting, especially in the context of the FIFA World Cup. It will provide a basis for further research on the use of pidgin English in sports commentary and its impact on audience engagement and perception in other contexts.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study on audience perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin in broadcasting during the FIFA World Cup commentary on SuperSport is as follows:
The study will be conducted in Nigeria, focusing on the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport. The study will use a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. The data collection methods will include surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions. Also, the study will examine the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin English in sports commentary, the impact of the use of pidgin English on the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of sports commentary, and the reasons why some audiences prefer to listen to commentators who use pidgin English while others do not.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Audience: For the purpose of this study, the term “audience” refers to individuals who watched the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport in Nigeria.
Pidgin English: Pidgin English is a simplified form of English used as a lingua franca in Nigeria and other West African countries.
Perception: Perception refers to the way in which the audience interprets and understands the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport in Nigeria.
Attitude: Attitude refers to the audience’s evaluation of the use of pidgin English in sports commentary during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport in Nigeria, including their likes, dislikes, and preferences.
Understanding: Understanding refers to the audience’s comprehension of the commentary during the FIFA World Cup on SuperSport in Nigeria, including their ability to follow and interpret the commentary.
SuperSport: SuperSport is a satellite television sports broadcaster that operates in Nigeria and other African countries.
FIFA World Cup: The FIFA World Cup is a global football tournament that takes place every four years, and it is considered the most prestigious tournament in the sport.
This chapter will present the literature review of the study. The presentation will be done under the three main sections which includes the conceptual review, theoretical review and summary of the literature reviewed.
2.2 Conceptual review
2.2.1 The Origin and Concept of Nigerian Pidgin English
Nigerian pidgin is basically an English-based pidgin and a Creole language by nature. Wikipedia (2017), the free encyclopaedia states this is so because most speakers of the language are not native speakers, although many children do learn it right from childhood. Pidgin or “brokin”, as it fondly called, is spoken as a defacto lingua franca across Nigeria. Elugbe and Omamor (1991), in their effort to define the concept pidgin, opines that it is “some kind of a marginal language that arises to fulfil specific communication needs in welldefined circumstances.”
The above position indicates that pidgin is not an official lingualfranca, but a subsidiary language employed for interaction particularly by individuals who do not share the same language. Elugbe and Omamor, quoting Hall (1966), stated further that there are two indices that qualified a language as pidgin. In their idea, for a language to be eligible as pidgin, “Its grammatical structure and its vocabulary must be sharply reduced; secondly, the resultant language must be native to none of those who use it” (Elugbe & Omamor, 1991). In agreement with the above statement, Rickford (1998) confirmed that:
A pidgin usually combines elements of the native language of its users and is typically simpler than those native languages in so far as it has fewer words, less morphology, and a more restricted range of phonological and syntactic options.
Nigeria, according to Awodiya (2006), has about 250 ethnic groups. Wikipedia (2017) states that each of the over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria can interact in pidgin, though they usually add their own variations to it. The following examples are used to demonstrate this reality:
The Yorubas use the words such ‘Se’ [pronounced Shay] and ‘abi’ when speaking pidgin. These are often used at the start or end of an intoned sentence or question. E.g., “you are coming right?” becomes “Se you dey come?” or “you dey come abi?”… The Igbos added the word “Nna” also used at the beginning of some sentences to show camaraderie. E.g. “Man, that test was hard” becomes “Nna, that test hard no be small.” (Igboanusi, 2008)
The origin of Nigerian Pidgin may be difficult to accurately ascertained, however, it could be traced back to the contacts between Europeans and Nigerians. Evidence in literature shows that, as far back as the eighteenth century, Nigerian Pidgin English was already being spoken particularly in the coastal city states of the Niger Delta (Agheyisi, 1984; Ogu, 1992). Agheyisi (1984) opines that this early pidgin was restricted, if not exclusively, to the context of trade. But steadily, the social conditions as well as the introduction of schools by the missionaries and colonial governments led to its spread and development as noted by Flint (1960p.83):
… The absorption of large numbers of Ibo (Igbo) east of the Niger produced an extra-ordinary cosmopolitan effect, in which most cities became trilingual, speaking the native Ijo; Efik; Ibo (Igbo); and Pidgin English, the language of trade with Europeans. By the end of the eighteenth century, there were even rudimentary schools in Calabar for the teaching of Pidgin English, reading and writing with the object of producing clerks and book keepers.
This chapter presents the research procedure. The chapter provides the detail of the methods used in collecting data for the research which also include the instrument used. It defines clearly the target population for the research, the data gathering; instrument used for research, the procedure for data collection and also the data analysis techniques.
3.1 Research Design
In a bid to achieve a detailed and effective outcome for this study, survey research design was employed. The survey methodology was used, in which information and data were collected and analysed. Ohaja (2003p.11) defines a survey as: A study of the characteristics of a sample through questioning that allows a researcher to make generalizations concerning a population of interest.
Its purpose is to describe, explain and predict the behaviour of the phenomenon being studied. The survey was done in the form of field research; and the simple random sampling technique of the probability sampling technique which is most appropriate to effectively gauge the opinions of a representative sample in the selected population of the study, was employed. This is because by asking a representative sample of a research population the same set of questions, it increased the probability of getting broad and reasonably accurate views of respondents to certain issues and to test theories on social relationships at both individual and group levels. Consequently, the survey ensured that all the elements were represented in the research universe.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
In this chapter, the researcher specifically deals with the data presentation, analysis and discussion of findings based on data collected from field survey. These data were gathered from the questionnaires duly answered by respondents from which deductions and conclusions were drawn.
4.1 Data Presentation and Analysis
A total of two hundred (200) structured questionnaires were administered to different respondents who are located in Lagos state, Nigeria. All the two hundred (200) questionnaires were correctly answered by the respondents, as expected. Consequently, Data presentation and analysis is made in tabular form and frequency of responses calculated in simple percentage.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the analysis of the data, the study on “Audience perception and attitude towards the use of pidgin in broadcasting: A study of FIFA World Cup commentary on Super Sport” has found that the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of Pidgin in broadcasting are generally positive.
The findings indicate that the audience appreciates the use of Pidgin in broadcasting, as it makes sports commentary more relatable, engaging, and entertaining. The use of Pidgin in broadcasting is also seen as a way of promoting local African culture and identity. The study also reveals that the audience’s perception and attitude towards the use of Pidgin in broadcasting are influenced by several factors, including age, gender, educational background, and linguistic identity. Moreover, the study suggests that the use of Pidgin in broadcasting can either facilitate or hinder communication and comprehension among the audience, depending on the level of proficiency of the broadcasters in the language.
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