English Language & Literature

The Techniques and Technicalities of Coordination and Subordination in English-Medium and Yoruba-Medium Newspapers

The Techniques and Technicalities of Coordination and Subordination in English-Medium and Yoruba-Medium Newspapers



1.1 Background to the Study

Levels of linguistic analysis refer to the points at which a language may be described. There are four basic levels of linguistic analysis: phonetics/phonology, morphology/syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Phonetics/phonology refers to the level of sounds, or the set of possible human sounds, and the set of system sounds used in a given human language. Morphology refers to the analysis of minimal forms in language. Any linguistic research is geared towards the examination of language, its internal structure, its external features or how both the internal and external features correlate. Language itself can be primarily described at three levels: substance, form, and context (Ayo Ogunsiji 266). Substance level is the description of the phonics or phonology of a language. Whereas phonics is peculiar to every human language because language is primarily spoken, graphs seem to be an attribute of human attempts to reduce the spoken language into a written form. Some languages, usually called vernacular languages, lack graphs. This aspect of language is not so much relevant to this study except that the researcher is considering a written text (and not a spoken one).

The second level of language, form, has to do with the internal structure of the individual words (morphology) and how these words may be arranged according to the possible rules or principles in language (syntax). The combination of these two areas is formally termed ‘grammar’ which is the study of the structure and organization of constructions. This study is formally situated within this level of language in that coordination and subordination, which have to do with how words, phrases, clauses are linked symmetrically or asymmetrically within Daily Trust, which is an English-medium newspaper, and Alàróyé, which is a Yoruba-medium newspaper, are the primary focus of this research.

The third level of language description is context. This looks at the meaning of output of the combination of a stretch of language units either with recourse to what the combination means (semantics) or what the speaker means by the combination (pragmatics). If language is used for a particular purpose, then the hallmark of any language use is the meaning or the function it performs in a context. Hence, syntax cannot be fully examined out of context. It is against this claim that this study will attempt a syntactic examination of coordination and subordination of English-medium and Yoruba-medium texts with emphasis on the functions they perform within their various contexts.
In essence, the newspaper texts selected for this study will require complex messages which may be made possible, among others, through the techniques of coordination and subordination.

Syntactic examination can take various forms since syntax, as a branch of study, is a wide terrain of research. However, the focus of this present study is on the techniques and technicalities of coordination and subordination in English-medium and Yoruba-medium newspapers. The back page columns of Daily Trust (representing the English-medium) newspaper and Alàróyé (representing the Yoruba-medium) newspaper have been selected for study.

This dissertation deals with the analysis of the kinds of coordinators and subordinators prominent in planned and edited formal texts such as the above-mentioned. Attempts are made to unravel the functions of conjoins and the semantic implications of coordinators in the case of coordination and the implications of subordinating an idea, a phrase, or a clause unto another in the case of subordination. Above all, the general implication(s) of coordination and subordination within their sentential frameworks will also be revealed.

1.2 Historical Background of the Yoruba People

The Yoruba are one of the biggest ethnic gatherings in south of the Sahara (Bascom, cited in Olanike Orie, 117-118). Any language like Yoruba spoken by a large number of people shows the inclination to have many dialects which may vary from each other. Larger part of Yoruba speakers of are in the South-western part of Nigeria. Beside Nigeria, Yoruba is spoken in nations like Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote D’ivoire and Sierra-Leone. An extraordinary number of Yoruba speakers may also be found in Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, America and UK (Abimbola 2; Hunt 51; Lasebikan 352; Turner 45; Watkins 380). Oyo dialect has been in use for literary purposes since 1843 (Orie 118). It is the obvious choice for standardization since its adoption in Bible translation and because of the political prominence of the old Oyo kingdom. It is the Oyo dialect that is often referred to as Standard Yoruba (SY), which could be regarded as a part of the Yoruba, and not the Yoruba language. Among other Yoruba dialects are Awori, Ekiti, Ife, Ijesa, Ijumu, Ilaje, Iyagba, Ondo, Oyo-Ibadan. Others Yoruba dialects not mentioned above include Eko, Egbado, Osun, Igbomina, Egba, Ijebu, Owo, Ikare. Oyo dialect is the dialect used in Alàróyé, and, therefore, the findings of this research are statements about the grammar of the dialect in particular.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

This research investigates aspects of the grammar of Daily Trust and Alàróyé newspaper columns. Clausal and phrasal systems are very often examined in the study of syntax. However, grammatical elements such as coordinators and subordinators are not often examined especially in a syntactic analysis of a text. It is against this background that this research has a keen interest in the examination of coordination and subordination of clausal items in the back page columns of Daily Trust and Alàróyé newspapers. The emphasis of the study is on the use of coordinators and subordinators in the above-mentioned texts; and how these operators are used to make texts cohesive (grammatical) and coherent (meaningful). The study also seeks to find out the kinds of conjoins that are often coordinated and their resultant implications. Above all, the study examines how layers of ideas are knitted together through the elements of coordination and subordination.

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study is to examine the use of coordinators and subordinators in the back page columns of Daily Trust and Alàróyé newspapers in order to establish how these grammatical elements are employed to achieve text cohesion and coherence. As a result, this study is geared towards achieving the following set of objectives:

i. To identify the various kinds of coordinators and subordinators prevalent in both Daily Trust and Alàróyé back page columns;

ii. To examine the complexity or technicality of both coordination and subordination in both texts and find out the kinds of conjoins frequently linked in coordination instances;

1.5 Research Questions

The following questions have been formulated to guide the flow of this research:

i. What are the kinds of coordinators and subordinators prevalent in Daily Trust and Alàróyé columns?

ii. How complex or technical are the coordination and subordination processes in the columns and what kinds of conjoins are frequently linked in coordinated structures?

1.6 Justification of the Study

There have been many scholarly works on the syntax of English and Yoruba as it relates to newspapers. But sparse attempts have been made to study coordination and subordination of clauses in newspapers. Oladele Awobuluyi (1978) attempts to document the entire Yoruba grammar. Ayo Bamgbose (1990) also reviews some grammatical aspects of Yoruba. Emmanuel Sharndama (2014) also examines the coordinated clauses in professional legal texts. Timothy Baldwin also examines coordination and subordination in Japanese.

Studies are yet to be conducted on the techniques of coordination and subordination in the English-medium and Yoruba-medium newspapers. It is, therefore, important to examine these techniques in Daily Trust and Alàróyé newspaper columns. The study is justified since coordinators and subordinators are often ignored in grammatical teachings. They are merely mentioned as conjunctions. The conditions for their use are not taught even when they are capable of signifying particular meanings and have functional impacts on the overall meaning of a sentential unit.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This work is a contrastive study of coordination and subordination in Daily Trust and Alàróyé newspapers. It is a contrastive study of a syntactic analysis of the two texts. Whereas syntax deals with a wide area ranging from phraseology to clausalogy, this study is only concerned with the instances of coordination and subordination in the two texts. Whereas the newspaper possesses eclectic linguistic features, the research is limited to a syntactic study of coordinated and subordinated structures. In addition, the back page columns of these newspapers are the focus of the study.

1.8 Significance of the Study

This research is a contrastive study of coordination and subordination in English-medium and Yoruba-medium newspapers drawing data from Daily Trust and Alàróyé respectively. The research is significant in many respects. At least, three sets of people will benefit from the findings of this work. First, news writers (English and Yoruba) will immensely benefit from this study in that they will be exposed to semantic functions of certain coordinators and subordinators as used in the data for this research.

Secondly, the findings of this research will also be useful to other researchers in systemic syntax and/or contrastive linguistics. Specifically, the systemic syntax in Yoruba, especially in relation to subordination and coordination, will be of great value to them.

Thirdly, students of syntax will enormously benefit from this study as they can draw insights about systemic functional linguistics, coordination and subordination of clauses in English and Yoruba.

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