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Discourse analysis of English General Extenders in Nigerian Newspapers Editorials Thompson Ewata (13 November, 2011) Phd Thesis proposal Since the discovery of language, human beings have attempted to concentrate on communicating effectively among themselves. In such human interactions, how to pass their thoughts clearly has always been the focus; as not communicating enough gives room for misunderstanding and misrepresenting him. In the course of teaching and commenting on human communication - formal or informal, the essence of clear and precise communication has been the norm. In assessing the communication proficiency of a worker in the business environment, the workers ability to communicate clearly is rated as one of the most important factor in making an executive promotable (Adler & Elmhorst, 2002:5). However, it is of interest to state that in as much as clear and explicit communication is of importance to man, the human language does not, in all cases, state or express simply and clearly. Mans inability to express simply and clearly most often is not as a result of deficient language training or orientation but a natural property of the human language. In communicating speaking as well as writing humans deliberately avoid expressing simply and clearly. When we do not express simply and clearly, we are accused of being vague (if something written or spoken is vague, it does not explain or express things clearly (Collins COBUILD Dictionary, 2006)). However, being vague or inexplicit is considered appropriate in some human situations and is therefore not as a result of our woolly thinking (Thornbury & Slade, 2006: 54). It is important to note that with the precision in communication man emphasises, being woolly or imprecise, most times, is more effective than precise ones in conveying the intended meaning of an utterance (Jucker, Smith, & Ludge, 2003).

2 Not expressing ourselves simply and clearly is a deliberate and conscientious effort on our part as users of language. There are human situations that require the speakers been vague to pass as members of the civilised society else they would be looked down on as uncultured. It is not uncommon to hear an English speaker, for example, use lexical elements like rest room, john, etc in the course of interaction instead of toilet in order to be acceptable and polite. In some context in English and other cultures, a command is indirectly issued, in order to be polite. Whereas in other languages and cultures such manipulations are not appropriates. The culture-specific meanings and politeness functions conventionally associated with certain expressions and grammatical constructions in a given language become apparent through comparison with other languages. At the same time, approaching politeness contrastively makes it necessary to establish categories which can be compared across groups. some cultures appreciate pragmatic clarity while associating directness with honesty. Indirect requests, on the other hand, not only increase the interpretive demands on the hearer (Blum-Kulka 1987: 133), but can also make the speaker sound devious and manipulative (Pinker 2007:442). Ogiermann (2009) This is therefore a direct contradiction of the language training that emphasises explicitness. Also, in the course of interaction, we notice how the intentional use of some lexical elements makes meanings inexplicit. This is the reason Gardner (2004) says ... parties in conversations can achieve coherent, rational, mutually comprehensible interactive talk despite a preponderance of apparently vague and imprecise language... as "although in the strict sense the meaning of utterances is not part of the structure of the utterance, but assigned to the utterance by the language user" (van Dijk, 1977: 2).

3 Williamson (1994) makes a case for vagueness through the use of language: vague is not pejorative. Indeed, vagueness is a desirable feature of natural languages. Vague words often suffice for the purpose in hand, and too much precision can lead to time wasting and inflexibility. There are times when a speaker, in an interaction, chooses not to communicate (speak or write) simply and clearly. This may be a deliberate ploy on the part of the speaker or writer as he assumes that the listener or reader would understand what he means. When the speaker or writer does not simply nor clearly state what he means, he does this to avoid either committing oneself, or imposing on ones interlocutors (Thornbury & Slade, 2006: 54). This buttresses the fact that human communication is context dependent. van Dijk (2008: 4) sees context as: slightly more formal than related concepts, such as situation, circumstances or environment, we use the notion of context whenever we want to indicate that some phenomenon, event, action or discourse needs to be seen or studied in relationship to its environment, that is, its surrounding conditions and consequences ... In human interactions, meaning is derived not only from utterances but also by other socially acceptable means of understanding. The socially acceptable is how we as members of human community make sense of a collection of relatable terms, texts or objects used in interactions among people. These items that we relate to are brought to us through language. Human language is governed by conventional rules. The rules allow one user of the language to use an element that is not specific, yet the other user understands what the first user means. In van Dijks (1977:1) view: rules are CONVENTIONAL in the sense of being shared by most members of a linguistic community: they KNOW these rules implicitly and are able to use them such

4 that verbal utterances may count as being determined by the particular language system of the community as it is cognitively acquired by the individual language user. In every aspect of human endeavour where language is the vehicle of transmission of thought, been vague or inexplicit is taken or seen as a norm and there is no complaint on the part of the addressee when an inexplicit utterance is made. The addressee takes the context of utterance into consideration in deciphering the information of the sender. Thus, we may also conclude that contextual analysis of discourse goes beyond grammatical, textual and interactional analysis or understanding (van Dijk 2008:3). English General Extenders The need to be nonspecific has for a long time, in the description of human communication, been seen as undesirable. Though, humans emphasise specificity in communication, the human language itself has linguistic elements that make communication inexplicit. In short, human communication is not always exact or specific. This accounts for why some scholars that studied human interaction (Stubbs 1986, Channell 1994) have now come to the conclusion that being vague is a deliberate and acceptable way of human communication. When we speak or write, we are rarely very clear, precise, or explicit about what we meanand perhaps could not bebut are, on the contrary, vague, indirect, and unclear about just what we are committed to. This often appears superficially to be an inadequacy of human language: but only for those who hold a rather crude view of what is maximally efficient in communication (Stubbs, 1986). Channell (1994:1) states:

5 People have many beliefs about language. One important one is that good usage involves
(among other things) clarity and precision. Hence, it is believed that vagueness, ambiguity, imprecision, and general woolliness are to be avoided. We know in our own individual ways of communication that these concepts vagueness, ambiguity, imprecision, and general woolliness cannot be avoided.

In the same vein, Jucker, Smith, & Ludge (2003) argue that vague expressions may be more effective than precise ones in conveying the intended meaning of an utterance. That is, they may carry more relevant contextual implications than would a precise expression. Description and Meaning of General Extenders There are many linguistic elements or items that the human language contains that exhibit inexplicitness, vagueness or inexactness. The elements or items represent a distinct set of linguistic elements which have received little attention from linguists but are clearly important for users of language. These expressions, which are pervasive in ordinary conversation, serve a number of functions which vary according to contexts of use (Overstreet, 1999:3). They have been studied variously by scholars and are labeled differently: set marking tags (Dines 1980, Stubbe & Holmes 1995, Winter & Norrby 1999), utterance final tags (Aijmer 1985), post noun hedges (Meyerhoff 1992), extension particles (Dubois 1992), discourse extenders (Norrby and Winter 2001), vague language identifiers (Channell 1994), extender tag (Carroll 2008), discourse variation (Cheshire, 2007), discourse extension (Tagliamonte & Denis), lexical vagueness (Mets-Ketel), discourse markers (Schiffrin 1987, Fraser 1990, Stubbs 1983), general extenders (Overstreet 1999), discourse connectives (van Dijk, Blackmore 1997), pragmatic devices (Stubbe & Holmes 1995) among others.

6 For this study, I shall adopt general extenders as my terminology as used by Overstreet (1999:3-4) who claims: I call these expressions "general extenders": "general" because they are nonspecific, and "extenders" because they extend otherwise grammatically complete utterances. They can be divided into two sets: those beginning with and (and stuff, and everything), which will be called "adjunctive general extenders," and those beginning with or (or something, or anything), which will be called "disjunctive general extenders." An idea of the range of possible types of expressions that could be classified as general extenders is provided in the following list.
adjunctive general extenders and stuff (like that) and all (that) and everything (like that) and blah blah blah and that and the like and such and what have you and so on and so forth and whatnot and the rest and this and that and whatever and you name it and the whole kit and caboodle and the whole nine yards and the whole bit/thing and (all) (this/that) and (all) (this/that) {sort/kind/type} of {crap/thing/jazz/junk/mess/nonsense/shit/stuff} arid {crap/things/junk/shit/stuff} (like this/that) and {business/crap/things/junk/shit} of {this/that} (kind/sort/ilk/narure) et cetera disjunctive general extenders or something (like that) or anything (like that) or what or whatever or what have you or anyone (like that) or anybody (like that) or someone (like that) or somebody (like that) or someplace (like that) or somewhere (like that)

7 Arguments for General Extenders To Dubois (1992) the linguistic elements in focus are labelled as extension particles which she defines as: a word or short formula, ... that occupies a characteristic position in the sentence and has a typical intonational pattern. Extension particles appear frequently in discourse. She listed some of the extension particles as: and all that things like that, the whole shebang, etc as some examples. The list includes some the same elements Overstreet (1999) listed as discourse extenders. Dubois (1992) mentioned that extension particles are in some ways anaphoric elements, elements, serving to extrapolate from what has previously been said, but they also function to indicate the end of a sentence or phrase. Inherent in the use of extension particles is the existence of specific areas of social knowledge shared by the speaker and listener. Overstreet (1999) deviates from Dubois (1992), Jefferson (1990), Lerner (1994), Dines (1980), Ward and Birner (1993) and (Channell 1994), in the area of function that these elements serve. She deviates by saying that general extenders are best viewed as multifunctional forms which do not serve a predominantly referential function, but rather have a much more interpersonally defined role. She accepts Dubois (1992) claim that ... the use of extension particles is the existence of specific areas of social knowledge shared by the speaker and listener but rejected her and others claim of list completion. Rather than having list completion or set-marking as their primary function, these expressions are used by speakers to indicate assumptions of shared knowledge and experience, or to mark an attitude toward the message expressed, or toward the hearer. Carroll (2008) tracing the use of the elements from written English history labelled the elements as extender tags. She claimed that the different names given to the elements was as a

8 result of the scholars working from varying perspectives, and as such, using varied terminology and sometimes quite different definitions. She admits with Overstreet (1999: 3) that extender tags consist of a coordinating conjunction (and or or) followed by a noun phrase which typically includes a semantically empty head (thing) and/or a modifier which extends the denotation of the noun (other). Winter & Norrby (1999) looking at the phenomenon among English and Swedish youths (though they claimed they were not being comparative on previous studies on youth language) agree on the label set-making tags with previous studies and also agree on the functions setmaking tags perform. They support the idea that set marking tags can be seen as carrying core content meanings (in contrast to meanings of addressee/ addressor relationships) and primarily cue the listener to interpret the preceding element as an illustrative example of some more general case (Dines 1980:22, Stubbe & Holmes (1995) and Meyerhoff (1992)). They also agreed with the previous studies that it is the prior discourse and the possibility for constructing a set that leads to the occurrences of SMTs, i.e. SMTs are sensitive to sequential constraints and display discourse linking through its function of alerting Hearers to that possibility). Aijmer (2002) on the other hand maintains that discourse particles are placed with great precision at different places in the discourse and give important clues to how discourse is segmented and processed. This is a sharp contrast to Dubois (1992) that argued that the extension particle is not mobile within the sentence. Aijmer (2002)s position on the particles is that particles are very often highly idiosyncratic: untranslatable in the sense that no exact equivalents can be found in other languages. They are ubiquitous, and their frequency in ordinary speech is particularly high. Quoting from Wierzbicka (1991: 341), Aijmer (2002) comments: if learners of a language failed to master the meaning of its particles, their communicative

9 competence would be drastically impaired. This emphasizes that pragmatic/discourse markers, general extenders, extension particles or any other label they are given are part of the repertoire of human language. Overstreet (1999:5) listed situations that the elements are found as diverse: general extenders can occur [1] in a spoken narrative, [2] in a newspaper article, [3] in the lyrics of a song, [4] at an airline check-in counter, [5] in a stand-up comedy routine, [6] during a space walk, [7] in a telephone answering machine message, [8] in an interview, [9] in an emergency (911) phone call, or [10] on news radio. She used an English prose work Jane Austen's Persuasion (1818) to show that general
extenders have a long history in English language. From the studies on the elements,

Overstreet (1999) compares general extenders to discourse markers (Schiffrin (1987): Given their apparent discourse function, it might be possible to describe general extenders as types of "discourse markers" related functionally to expressions such as you know and I mean, as described in Schiffrin (1987). In fact, the close co-occurrence of you know and I mean with general extenders suggests that there is some connection or shared function among these forms.
She however distinguished her study from Schiffrin (1987) by stating obvious differences between both items: Whereas discourse markers represent a disparate list of items, belonging to different word classes (Schiffrin 1987: 40), general extenders are a relatively homogeneous set of forms consisting of a conjunction (and or or} plus a noun phrase. Unlike discourse markers, which function parenthetically and are independent of sentence structure, general extenders are syntactically conjoined to utterances and thus part of sentence structure. Finally, whereas several discourse

markers (you know, I mean, oh, like) "can occur quite freely within a sentence at locations which are very difficult to define syntactically" goes further than the other studies as she by talking about the elements generally and giving attention to (Schiffrin 1987: 32), general extenders

typically occur in clause-final position. (There appears to be some evidence, however, that certain forms, such as and stuff, may be in the process of becoming more flexible with regard to position (12- 13).

Whatever label one uses, we are looking at a set of items used in human communication, although, our emphasis here is solely on the English language. This study though foregrounded in Overstreet (1999) general extenders shall deviate from it, as contrary to Overstreet (1999) that was primarily on forms found in one corpus of American English data, which consists of informal, spoken interactions among familiars (1999:9) will be on formal, written communication where the interactions are usually asynchronous, where writers and readers interact over a period of different, non-immediate timeframe Arndt, Nuttall and Harvey (2000:33). Discourse Relevance Theory The theory of discourse that this study will be based on will be the Sperber and Wilson (1985/6), Discourse Relevance Theory. The classical model of communication is structured in a way that a person who has something to say or communicate to another person (sender) packages the thought he/she wants to pass to the other person in such a way that the other person will understand it (encodes). The sender sends or transmits the thought or idea (message) to the other person though some means (channel(s). When the message gets to the other person (receiver), the receiver does the reversal of the senders action. That is, he/she uses some means (channel(s) to break down the thought.

11 The receiver decodes the encoded (message) of the sender through some channel(s). If the encoded thought he/she decodes makes sense to the receiver, we say he/she has received the thought of the sender the receiver in return send back another code (feedback) to the initial sender who now becomes a receiver and subsequently decodes the message. This entails why scholars who defined communication from the classical model see it as involving both the giving out of messages from one person and receiving and understanding of those messages by another or others. If a message has been given out by one person but not received or understood by another, then communication has not taken place (Torrington and Hall 1991:132). In this model (classical) of communication, there is a constant processing of the utterance or communicative intent of the sender by the receiver through the use of strict coding and decoding (Wikipedia, 2011d). On the other hand, Sperber and Wilson (1985/6), proposed a theory of communication processing that puts the classical model of communication aside. The theory holds a two-way processing approach. In their model of processing information, Sperber and Wilson proposed that the receiver only listens or reads the massage of the sender as it is important to them, once the required (relevant) information is got, the receiver stops processing. Relevance theory is a proposal by Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson that seeks to explain the second method of communication: one that takes into account implicit inferences. It argues that the hearer/reader/audience will search for meaning in any given communication situation and having found meaning that fits their expectation of relevance, will stop processing ( As stated earlier, in this model of

communication, the receiver (audience) is concerned with the part of the communication that corroborates what they want to hear/read/see (that is what is relevant to them).

12 In this approach the speaker/author encodes their thoughts and transmits them to their audience. The audience receives the encoded message and decodes it to arrive at the meaning the speaker/author intended. This can be visualized as follows: Speaker's thought/intention intention/thought understood. This is usually referred to as the code model or the conduit metaphor of communication. (Wikipedia). According to Sperber and Wilson, relevance theory is based on a definition of relevance and two principles of relevance: a Cognitive Principle (that human cognition is geared to the maximisation of relevance), and a Communicative Principle (that utterances create expectations of optimal relevance). They claim their theory is only re-echoing Grice (1989)s argument that an essential feature of most human communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is the expression and recognition of intentions. The second way of conceiving how thoughts are communicated is by the author/speaker only conveying as much information as is needed in any given context, so that the audience can recover their intended meaning from what was said/written as well as from the context and implications. In this conceptual model, the author takes into account the context of the communication and the mutual cognitive environment between the author and the audience. (That is what the author/speaker thinks that audience already knows). They then say just enough to communicate what they intend - relying on the audience to fill in the details that they did not explicitly communicate. This can be visualized as follows: encoded transmitted decoded

13 Speaker's thought/intention context-mediated information transmitted decoded context-mediated information encoded


understood by hearer (an interpretive resemblance to the speaker's intention). (Wikipedia). Whatever the model of processing (whether classical or relevance theory), it is important to state that communication entails two modes the stated and the implied. Carson (n.d) affirms that it is widely accepted that there is a distinction to be made between the explicit content and the implicit import of an utterance. Pietarinen (n.d.) argues that Sperber and Wilsons Relevance theory fits into the framework of Peirce (1839 - 1914) theory of pragmatic theory of meaning. Peirce took pragmatic meaning as a rule of logic embodied in the Pragmatic Maxim (PM). Pierce pragmatic meaning, in considering the logicality of a thought, the practical consequences of that thought is taken into account. The consequences of such do not have to be actually acted out, but one has to consider them and take them to be conceivable if any thought was to be complete at all. (Pietarinen (n.d.). Wilson and Sperber (2004) claim their theory should be seen as an attempt to work out in detail one of Grices central claims: that an essential feature of most human communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is the expression and recognition of intentions. They claim this is an inferential way of arriving at the meaning of a communicative intent. According to the code model, a communicator encodes her intended message into a signal, which is decoded by the audience using an identical copy of the code. According to the inferential model, a communicator provides evidence of her intention to convey a

14 certain meaning, which is inferred by the audience on the basis of the evidence provided. An utterance is, of course, a linguistically coded piece of evidence, so that verbal comprehension involves an element of decoding. However, the linguistic meaning recovered by decoding is just one of the inputs to a non-demonstrative inference process which yields an interpretation of the speaker's meaning (Wilson and Sperber, 2004). In human communication, inference plays a key role as it is through inference that we arrive at most of our meaning in the communicative intents of and with others. The speaker(s) do not always say exactly or fully what they mean. It is our duty as receivers to work out what the speakers have left unsaid from what they have said through inference. We infer the meaning of the communicative intent of the other person(s) through what we already know through previous experiences. When we infer, we come to a conclusion or form an opinion about something on the basis of evidence or reasoning (Encarta Dictionary, 2009). The process of inference, which is an aspect of inductive logic, entails the process of drawing a conclusion about an object or event that has yet to be observed or occur, on the basis of previous observations of similar objects or events (Genoveva, 2008). Relevance theory falls under the purview of inferential pragmatics whose goal is to explain how the hearer infers the speakers meaning on the basis of the evidence provided (Wilson & Sperber, 2004). This notion of inferring or arriving at meaning(s) of an utterance is not new in the pragmatic of meaning circle as Grice had earlier made this claim that utterances automatically create expectations which guide the hearer towards the speakers meaning. Grice described these expectations in terms of a Co-operative Principle and maxims of Quality (truthfulness), Quantity (informativeness), Relation (relevance) and Manner (clarity) which speakers are expected to observe (Grice 1961, 1989: 368 - 72): the

15 interpretation a rational hearer should choose is the one that best satisfies those expectations. Relevance theorists share Grices intuition that utterances raise expectations of relevance, but question several other aspects of his account, including the need for a Co-operative Principle and maxims, the focus on pragmatic processes which contribute to implicatures rather than to explicit, truth-conditional content, the role of deliberate maxim violation in utterance interpretation, and the treatment of figurative utterances as deviations from a maxim or convention of truthfulness (Wilson and Sperber, 2004). We can therefore conclude that (Wilson and Sperber, 1985/6) relevance theory is a theory based on earlier ones made in pragmatics Peirce (1839 - 1914) Pragmatic Maxim and Grice (1989) co-operative principles and maxims. This theory, though, has acceptability among scholars in accounting for utterance meaning like the ones before it Pierces pragmatic meaning and Grices co-operative principles and maxims; has also generated a lot of reactions, too. Some scholars have argued against its use in arriving at utterance meaning. Carston argues that relevance theory does not take care of explicit/implicit dichotomy made within relevance theory and it plainly does not coincide with the distinction between linguistically decoded meaning (semantics) and pragmatically inferred meaning. Blackmore (2001), on the other hand, argues that relevance theory does not account for discourse meaning or study discourse at all as the the concern in relevance theory is with something internal to the human mind while to her, from the definitional stance of Zelling Harris the originator of the term discourse analysis and Chomskys (1986) externalized language (or E-language), which is analogous to discourse, discourse is a structural phenomenon or a social phenomenon.

16 Giora (1997) argues that relevance cannot be the only principle that governs human communication can by no means replace current accounts of discourse coherence since it is neither necessary nor sufficient for text well-formedness. Despite this stance by scholars that oppose the idea of relevance to discourse, they have not, in any way, set aside the claims made by relevance theory that we process an utterance based on its relevance to us as humans. Though we may say subjective processing could becloud our processing, yet, we cannot totally say that relevance is not necessary to utterance processing. Scope of Study My intention in this work is to prove that human interaction is not in all cases explicit. That, most times, humans intentionally prefer inexplicitness in their communication without worrying about the effect of such communication on their intended receivers as they have taken it for granted that their receivers understand them. To prove this, I shall examine the Nigerian newspaper editorials published in English demonstrate that human communication is not, at all time, explicit. Objectives of the Study The objectives I hope to achieve in this study are: 1. Identify general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials 2. Determine the total number of general extenders use in the Nigerian newspaper editorials 3. Examine, with statistical evidence, preponderance or otherwise of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials 4. Classify general extenders into typology 5. Analyse the identified general extenders in the Nigerian newspapers editorials 6. Explain the functions of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials 7. Analyse the usage of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials

17 8. Show in the Nigerian newspapers editorial that formal communication can inexplicit through the use of general extenders 9. Add more objective from suggestions from this august body and my further readings Methodology To carry out this task, I intend to use the Nigerian newspapers (in English) editorials. The choice of newspaper editorials is borne out of the fact that the (newspaper) editorials form part of the formal communicative events (in writing) of Nigeria. Since language is the vehicle through which the messages of the editorials are passed, it gives us ample room to examine language in a true life situation. Seen from the perspective of Schiffrin (1987:3): 1) Language always occurs in a context. 2) Language is context sensitive 3) Language is always communicative 4) Language is designed for communication Currently, there are about seventy two (72) different types of newspapers (or papers) spread across Nigerian, please, see ( which houses online editions. To be classified as a paper for this work, Wikipedia advises that the paper must meet these four criteria, namely: i. ii. iii. iv. publicity: Its contents are reasonably accessible to the public. periodicity: It is published at regular intervals. currency: Its information is up to date. universality: It covers a range of topics ( At the same time, the newspaper must fall into the following classification: a) national: contain some national and internal news, but focus on news relating to relating to a specific area of the country. b) regional: contain national and international news, but focus on fairly local news topics in details. Usually based around towns, cities or groups of villages.

18 c) local: a newspaper which covers news across the whole country, together with international news. d) tabloid: the largest type of newspaper! Cover all national and international news, often in a serious or formal way. e) broadsheet: cover all national and international news. often contain a certain amount of more 'gossipy' or scandalous news items, or more personal stories ( To carry out this study, I intend to use the stratified sampling technique to pick the newspaper editorials to be used for the work. This will be done by listing all the newspapers in alphabetical order then assigning them numbers (1 72) in that order; the papers will then be grouped into groups of four. The fourth item on each group will be picked as a representative of the group. Based on the above, my sample design shall include a 25% (which translates to 18 newspapers). Anything more than 25% population of the census of papers in Nigeria will be too large while a lesser number will be too small to adequately cover what I want to achieve with the study. My choice of 25% population of the Nigerian newspapers has also taken into consideration economy, timeliness, size, inaccessibility to some of the population, accuracy (Kothari, 2004) among others factors. Computational Linguistics Man is ever trying to improve his life through the invention and improvements on already invented items. In the course of making his life better, man invented clothing, housing, transportation and the rest. In trying to make his life comfortable, he improved on some of his invented items and developed new ones. The car, bus, ship, train, aeroplane, submarine and metro train are some of the improved modes of transportation. In the same way, he invented writing and the press to compliment how to record and preserve his written materials. To further make his life easier, man invented electricity; and other household and office gadgets followed

19 the invention of electricity. The computer is one of the gadgets that followed the invention of electricity and has been put to use in almost, if not all, aspects of man. From sports and entertainment, medicine, warfare, information processing and retrieval, transportation, agriculture, education to mention a few, man has put the computer to use. In the field of education, the computer has been of immense importance to learning and teaching and it is therefore not surprising to see it used in the field of linguistics. In the area of language, the computer has been of great value to man as it is used to create, improve, edit, generate, store, manage, and search for text documents, which are all language
based operation and the need to manage these language documents prompted the development of a computer system or operation (software) that can help further ease mans use of language. It is in the course of man looking for ways to improve his life that computational linguistics came into being.

Computational linguistics is the study of computer systems for understanding and generating natural language (Grishman, 1986: 1). It is a linguistic study that combines the knowledge of language and computer. Thus, it is the scientific study of language from a computational perspective ( From another perspective comes the view that computational linguistics might be considered as a synonym of automatic processing of natural language, since the main task of computational linguistics is just the construction of computer programs to process words and texts in natural language (Bolshakov and Gelbukh (2004:16). They however went on to say Computational linguistics is more linguistic than computational because: it is mainly interested in
the formal description of language relevant to automatic language processing, rather than in purely algorithmic issues. And that contrary to expectation, in addition to some purely computational issues, we also touch upon the issues related to computer science only in an indirect manner...

20 To Uszkoreit (2000): Computational linguistics (CL) is a discipline between linguistics and computer science which is concerned with the computational aspects of the human language faculty. It belongs to the cognitive sciences and overlaps with the field of artificial intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science aiming at computational models of human cognition. Computational linguistics has applied and theoretical components. ( The concept of computational linguistics started in the 1950s in the US when scholars attempted translating texts from Russian scientific journals into English and translators of the texts could not cope with the demand of the scholars that required the translated texts. The scholars therefore thought of using computers to automatically translate texts from foreign languages, particularly Russian scientific The journals, idea to into use English computer to

( automatically translate text was based on the premise that:

since computers can make arithmetic calculations much faster and more accurately than humans, it was thought to be only a short matter of time before the technical details could be taken care of that would allow them the same remarkable capacity to process language (Wikipedia). On the other hand, Bolshakov and Gelbukh (2004:16) argue: The necessity for intelligent automatic text processing arises mainly from the following two circumstances, both being connected with the quantity of the texts produced and used nowadays in the world:

21 Millions and millions of persons dealing with texts throughout the world do not have enough knowledge and education, or just time and a wish, to meet the modern standards of document processing In many cases, to make a well-informed decision or to find information, one needs to read, understand, and take into consideration a quantity of texts thousands times larger than one person is physically able to read in a lifetime. However, the idea to use the computer to translate language known as machine translation or mechanical translation envisaged by the scholars in the US did not materialise. This led the scholars and computer programmers to realise that automated processing of human languages was recognized as far more complex than had originally been assumed. It was the failure of the computer or machine to translate language as expected that led to the emergence of computational linguistics as the name of the new field of study devoted to developing algorithms and software for intelligently processing language data (Wikipedia). Though computational linguistics is seen as an offshoot or subfield of artificial intelligence, we need to understand that computational linguistics predates artificial intelligence, a field under which it is often grouped (Wikipedia). The products of Computational linguistics includes, but not limited to, : classification of applied linguistic systems, automatic hyphenation, spell checking, grammar checking, style checking, references to words and word combinations, information retrieval, topical summarization, automatic translation, natural language interface, extraction of factual data from texts, text generation, systems of language understanding (Bolshakov and Gelbukh, 2004 ). There are two approaches in Computational linguistics:

22 1. Rule-Based Systems: explicit encoding of linguistic knowledge, usually consisting of a set of hand-crafted, grammatical rules, easy to test and debug, require considerable human effort, often based on limited inspection of the data with an emphasis on prototypical examples, often fail to reach sufficient domain coverage, often lack sufficient robustness when input data are noisy). 2. Data-Driven Systems: implicit encoding of linguistic knowledge, often using statistical methods or machine learning methods, require less human effort, are data-driven and require large-scale data sources, achieve coverage directly proportional to the richness of the data source, are more adaptive to noisy data (Richter 2005/6). While the areas of application of Computational linguistics include: machine translation, speech recognition, speech synthesis, man-machine interfaces, intelligent word processing: spelling correction, grammar correction, document management: find relevant documents in collections, establish authorship of documents, catch plagiarism, extract information from documents, classify documents, summarize documents, summarize document collections (Richter 2005/6). For the purpose of this study, Computational linguistics is important as we shall be looking at the issue of frequency, mode, percentage, average, position, mean, median among other variables of occurrence of some linguistic items. This is important as: Work in computational linguistics is in some cases motivated from a scientific perspective in that one is trying to provide a computational explanation for a particular linguistic or psycholinguistic phenomenon; and in other cases the motivation may be

23 more purely technological in that one wants to provide a working component of a speech or natural language system. ( Since its establishment, computational linguistics goes with diverse names: 1. Computational linguistics 2. Natural language processing 3. Human language technology 4. Language engineering Data Analysis Technique Since this study dwells on the analysis of text based materials and will rely on computational linguistics in highlighting the linguistic elements of the texts it focuses on, it is appropriate for it to adopt the Content analysis technique for its data analysis. Of all the research techniques prevalent in the social sciences, content analysis is one of the most important. The uniqueness of context analysis to social sciences research is shown in the way it: ... views data as representations not of physical events but of texts, images, and expressions that are created to be seen, read, interpreted, and acted on for their meanings, and must therefore be analyzed with such uses in mind. Analyzing texts in the contexts of their uses distinguishes content analysis from other methods of inquiry content analysis is not the only research method that takes meanings seriously, but it is a method that is both powerful and unobtrusive. It makes sense of what is mediated between people-textual matter, symbols, messages, information, mass-media content, and technology supported social interactions-without perturbing or affecting those who handle that textual matter.

24 (Krippendorff, 2004:xiii). Human operate in environment and as such their behaviours are content-dependent. The way a man behaves with his friends, family, colleagues at work, neighbours, mere acquaintances, subordinates and superiors will be determined by the context in which the interaction takes place. In the course of analysing human interactions or behaviours, we must take into consideration the context. Since mans environment or context determines his behaviour, we must also study him with the context of his operation. Social scientists have reduced context to anything that can be structured or described. This could be: words, images, video, tools or applications, features, services, physical items, signage (Fox, 2008). The focus of this study is to analysis newspaper editorials in the Nigerian context. It is object of description is written words (text). The texts in the context of the Nigerian newspaper editorials are words written by the editor(s) or the editorial board of the newspapers to have effect(s) on the readers of the newspapers. Krippendorff, (2004:19) comments on the importance of text and its relationship to context analysis: The crucial distinction between text and what other research methods take as their starting point is that a text means something to someone, it is produced by someone to have meanings for someone else, and these meanings therefore must not be ignored and must not violate why the text exists in the first place. Text the reading of text, the use of text within a social context, and the analysis of text-serves as a convenient metaphor in content analysis. Context Analysis Like everything in the world, context analysis has been defined variously by scholars who have used and studied its operations. Content analysis is a research technique for making

25 replicable and valid inferences from texts (or other meaningful matter) to the contexts of their use. (Krippendorff, 2004:18). Since any research work that needs to qualify as being scientific must be one that can be done by other researchers and would yield the same result (replicable), content analysis answers to this as it is a method of research that its method of operation can be used by other researchers and would yield the same result(s). In the same vein, the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) quoting Weber (1990 and Krippendorff, (1980) says: it is a systematic, research method for analyzing textual information in a standardized way that allows evaluators to make inferences about that information. Context analysis involves the classification of text through the process called coding. This consists of marking text passages with short alphanumeric codes. This creates categorical variables that represent the original, verbal information and. that can then be analyzed by standard statistical methods. in classifying a text, the researcher identifies its themes, issues, topics, and so on. The result might be a simple list of the topics in a series oi meeting notes. Content analysis can go further if the evaluator counts the frequency of statements, detects subtle differences in their intensity, or examines issues over time, in different situations, or from different groups GAO. Due to its versatility, Content analysis is used in many field of knowledge where analysis of text or text based materials is needed. The Colorado State University (2011) comments that: Perhaps due to the fact that it can be applied to examine any piece of writing or occurrence of recorded communication, content analysis is currently used in a dizzying

26 array of fields, ranging from marketing and media studies, to literature and rhetoric, ethnography and cultural studies, gender and age issues, sociology and political science, psychology and cognitive science, and many other fields of inquiry. Additionally, content analysis reflects a close relationship with socio- and psycholinguistics, and is playing an integral role in the development of artificial intelligence... The site goes on, citing Berelson (1952), to list the other possible uses to which it could be put to as:
1. 2. 3.

Reveal international differences in communication content Detect the existence of propaganda Identify the intentions, focus or communication trends of an individual, group or institution

4. 5.

Describe attitudinal and behavioural responses to communications Determine psychological or emotional state of persons or groups (

The advantages of context analysis include: a) It can be unobstructive b) It can deal with large volumes of materials c) It is systematic d) It can corroborate other evaluative methods Context analysis however has the following drawbacks. The drawbacks are still the advantages as every of the advantage can become a problem in the cause of further analysis. Because it can be unobstructive, sufficient human resources must be committed to it. This means it will not be a cost effective method of analysis. "Moreover, while content analysis has

27 safeguards against distortion of the evidence, evaluators must use judgment in coding the data if the potential users of the results will be uneasy about the judgment-making process, content analysis may not be advisable." Research Questions The following research questions shall answered 1. Are there general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials? 2. What is the total number of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials? 3. What is the frequency of occurrence of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials? 4. What is the typology of general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials? 5. Can the function(s) of general extenders be determined in the Nigerian newspapers editorials? 6. Are there functions that general extenders serve in the Nigerian newspaper editorials? 7. Can general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials be analysed? 8. Do general extenders in the Nigerian newspaper editorials make the editorials explicit? The Scope of the Study Most of the earlier studies done on discourse extenders have been in the area of spoken, informal and phatic communication. My attention shall focus on written, formal and communicative communication. The study shall centre mainly on newspaper editorial only and not the general news covered by the papers. At the same time, it shall be limited to newspaper written in English in Nigeria solely. The theoretical framework

28 The theoretical framework on which the work would hinge would be

Discourse/Pragmatics. Discourse analysis has a history that dates back to more than 2000 years and is related to classical rhetoric (Van Dijk, 1985). The historical evolution of discourse analysis can be seen from two angles: when the term discourse analysis came into being and second will be when analysis started. Discourse analysis came into being when Zelling Harris (October 23, 1909 May 22, 1992) a renowned American linguist, mathematical syntactician, and methodologist of science ( employed the term in 1952 for a method for the analysis of connected speech (or writing), that is, for continuing descriptive linguistic beyond the limits of a single sentence at a time, and for correlating culture and language (The Linguistic Encyclopaedia, 2002). The second angle does not use the term discourse analysis. It involved the theological practice whereby certain religious orders restricted their clerics to monasteries and nunneries even as they engaged in series of writings which were later referred to as discourses, today. Depending on the angle from which one views it, discourse analysis is a vague and ambiguous term. The vagueness is as a result of two factors: peoples inability to clearly answer the questions: what constitutes a discourse? and how are discourses organized? (Dooley and Levinsohn, 2000). The ambiguity on the other hand stems from the definition of the term. This can be noticed from the definition given to discourse analysis in Stubbs (1983:1) from where three different views are put forward as the meaning of discourse analysis:

29 a) concerned with language use beyond the boundaries of a sentence/utterance, b) concerned with the interrelationships between language and society and c) concerned with the interactive or dialogic properties of everyday communication. However to clarify the three stances put forward by Stubbs will be to refer to discourse analysis mainly as the linguistic analysis of naturally occurring connected speech or written discourse. This refers to attempts to study the organisation of language above the sentence or above the clause, and therefore to study larger linguistic units, such as conversational exchanges or written texts. It follows that discourse analysis is also concerned with language use in social contexts, and in particular with interaction or dialogue between speakers ( Discourse analysis does not just pay attention to words or linguistic items but dwells on the fact that words do not occur in isolation of the context in which they occur both linguistic and extra linguistic. To Cook (1990: ix): Discourse analysis examines how stretches of

language considered in their full textual, social, and psychological context, become meaningful and unified for their users. Van Dijk (1981) claims that discourse analysis is a multi-disciplinary analytical tool that transcends different disciplines and fields of knowledge. It is an inter-multidisciplinary study. It has its root in linguistics, literary study and anthropology and it is being practiced presently virtually in the humanities and social sciences A tentative Table of Content and list of References to consult are attached. References Adler, R. B. and Elmhorst, J. M. (2002). Communicating at work: Principles and practices for business and the professions. New York: McGraw Hill.

30 Aijmer, K. (2002). English discourse particles. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Arndt, V., Nuttall, J. & Harvey, H. (2000) . Alive to language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Blackmore, D. (2001). "Discourse and Relevance Theory". In Schiffrin, D., Tannen, D. & Hamilton, H. E. (Eds.) The handbook of discourse analysis. Oxford: Blackwell. Bolshakov, I. A. and Gelbukh, A. (2004). Computational linguistics: Models, resources, applications (1st ed,). Retrieved October 08, 2011 from:. Carroll, R. (2008). Historical English phraseology and the extender tag. Selim 15: 7-37. Carston, R. (n.d). Relevance theory and the saying/implicating distinction. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from:
Channell, J. (1994). Vague Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Collins COBUILD advanced learnerss English dictionary (2006). Glasgow: HarperCollins. Cook, G. (1990). Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dooley, R. A. & Levinsohn, S. H. (2000). Analyzing discourse: A manual of basic concepts. SIL International: Dallas, Texas Dubois, S. (1992). Extension particles, etc.. Language variation and change, 4, 179-203. Printed in the U.S.A. Fitch, K. L. and Sanders, R. E. (2005). Handbook of language and social interaction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Fox, C. (2008). Content Analysis: The Hows & Whys to Understanding Your Content. Retrieved October 11, 2011 from: Gardner, R. (2004). Conversation analysis. In Davies, A. & Elder, C. (Eds.). The handbook of applied linguistics. Malden, MA, Oxford & Victoria: Blackwell Publishing. 262 - 284 Giora, R. (1995). "Discourse coherence and theory of relevance: Stumbling blocks in search of a unified theory". Journal of Pragmatics 27, 17-34 Grishman, R. (1986). Computational linguistics: An introduction Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Introduction to newspapers (1999). Retrieved September 18, 2011 from:

Jucker, A. H. Smith, S. W. & Ludge, T, (2003). Interactive aspects of vagueness in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 35: 17371769. Kothari, C. R. (2004). Research methodology: Methods & techniques (2nd Rev. ed.).New Delhi: New Age. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Thousand Oaks & London: Sage Publications. Malmkjr, K. (2002). The linguistics encyclopedia (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

31 Marti, Genoveva, M. (2008). "Induction (logic)". Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation. Neuendorf, K. A. (2002). The content analysis guidebook Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Ogiermann, E. (2009). Journal of Politeness Research, 189 - 216. (2011). Nigeria newspapers. Retrieved September 07, 2011 from: Overstreet, M. (1999). Whales, candlelight, and stuff like that: General extenders in English discourse. New York: Oxford University Press. Pietarinen, A-V. (n.d). Relevance Theory through Pragmatic Theories of Meaning. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: Richter, F. (2005/6). Introduction to computational linguistics. A Seminar for Sprachwissenschaft Eberhard-Karls-Universitat, Tubingen, Germany. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: Schiffrin, D. (1987). Discourse markers. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. Slembrouck, S. (1998-2006).What is meant by discourse analysis? Retrieved May 09, 2006 from: Stubbs, M. (1983). Discourse analysis: The sociolinguistic analysis of natural language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Stubbs, M. (1986). A matter of prolonged fieldwork: notes towards a modal grammar of English. Applied Linguistics 7 (1), 125.

The Colorado State University (2011). An introduction to content analysis. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: Thornbury, S & Slade, D. (2006). Conversation: From Description to Pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Torrington, D. and Hall, H. (1991). Personnel Management: A new approach (2nd ed.). London: Prentice Hall. United States General Accounting Office (Program Evaluation & Methodology Division) (1996). Context analysis: A methodology for structuring and analysing written material. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: 10.3.1 Uszkoreit, H. (2000). What is computational linguistics? Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: Van Dijk, T. (1981). Discourse studies and education. In Applied Linguistics. Vol. II.I 1-26. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Van Dijk, T. A. (Ed). (1985). Handbook of discourse analysis. London: Academic Press. van Dijk, T. A. (1977). Text and Context. Essex & New York: Longman.

32 van Dijk, T. A. (2008). Discourse and context: A sociocognitive approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wierzbicka, A. (1991). Cross-cultural pragmatics. The semantics of human interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Quoted in Aijmer, K. (2002). Wikipedia (2011a). Zellig Harris. Retrieved Wikipedia (2011b). Newspaper. Retrieved August 24, 18, 2011 2011 from: from:


Wikipedia (2011c). Computational linguistics. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from: Wikipedia (2011d). Relevance theory. Retrieved October 08, 2011 from:

Williamson, T. (1994). Vagueness. In Asher, R., & Simpson, J. (Eds.), The encyclopedia of language and linguistics. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp. 48694871. Wilson, D. and Sperber, D. (2004). Relevance theory. In Horn, L. and Ward, G. (Eds.). Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Blackwell. Winiewski, K. (2006). Discourse analysis. Retrieved August ( 24, 2009 from: