A Semantic Analysis of T-Shirt Inscriptions


This study examined the Semantic Analysis of T-Shirt Inscriptions under the following perspectives: education, politics, advertisement, and religion. It reviewed some scholars’ works on the concepts of Semantics, Graphology, and Inscriptions. The method and procedures involved in evaluating the stated objectives of the research work included random sampling using questionnaires distributed to twenty people who wore a T-Shirt with educational, political, religious, and advertisement inscriptions in Lagos State – (Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government). The findings of the four hypotheses generated were tested, and the results were positive responses. Therefore, this research work has revealed the salient features of T¬-Shirt inscriptions in human endeavor. To this end, T-shirts with inscriptions under the aforementioned fields are recommended to be produced in high quality. They serve various purposes ranging from enlightenment, information, moral enlightenment, and advertisement.


1.1 Background of the Study

Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context. Language form refers to the surface features of language and how these are arranged according to the language’s grammar. According to Adebanjo X2008,) in “Basic Issues in Discourse Analysis,” language in use cannot be restricted to the description of linguistic forms independent of the purpose or functions which their forms are designed to serve in human affairs. Our primary focus in this study is on language meaning, known as “Semantics,” the study of language meanings deals with how language employs logical structures and real-world references to convey, process, and assign meanings and manage and resolve ambiguity. Language is essentially a social phenomenon; the assertion is foregrounded in the definition of M.A.K. Halliday cited in Bloor guage can be `woven’ to express a writer’s intention. When people use language to express meanings, they do so in specific situations. The type of language they use is usually influenced by the complex elements of those situations (pg. 14).

People who wear a T-Shirt with inscriptions like every other human typically use T-Shirt inscriptions to express themselves. According to Babajide (2000), “Every human being is naturally endowed with the capacity for the language used to express self and reception of others expressed messages. T-Shirt inscriptions could be seen as an informal way of non-verbal messages to its readers. and Bloor (1995) that Semantics, according to Titi Adejumobi (2007) is the study of the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences (pg. 32). Crystal (1980) defines semantics as studying the meaning of linguistic forms (pg. 315). Lyons (1981) defines it as “the study of meaning.” Oladipo L. et al. (2000) define ‘semantics’ as the study of the word and morpheme meanings as the study of rules combining meanings.

We can then infer from the different definitions above that Semantics is the branch of linguistics dealing with the meanings of words and sentences. In semantics analysis, there is always an attempt to focus on what the’ words conventionally mean rather than what a speaker might want the words to mean on a particular occasion. This technical approach to meanings emphasizes the objectives and the general. It avoids the subjective and the local.

Semantics shows how the speech community of a particular language gives meaning to its speech sounds or vocal noise or the representatives of the vocal noise in writing. It investigates and describes how each human language arrives at a system of a given meaning to its peculiar vocal noise. Semantics as a science of meaning comes in readily to establish the problem. Creative writers can be excellent, powerful, effective, or sometimes ineffective in their use of languages on their surface and deep levels of creating different meanings to suit their goals.

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Semantic explains the various types of meaning that exist within T-Shirt inscriptions.

Therefore, semantics is the science that studies the meaning of T-Shirt inscriptions.

Most scholarly works on the text like this have been in newspapers, headlines, speeches, semiotics, and car stickers in the purview of pragmatics and critical discourse analysis. However, this paper intends to consider a vital concept in linguistics. “Semantics to analyze T-Shirt inscriptions.” This will serve as a theoretical framework to enhance our understanding of the meanings of different T-Shirt inscriptions used by people. It will reveal the importance and effects of these T-Shirt inscriptions. It will also add to the few existing scholarly works on semantics.

T-Shirt inscription as Graphology is a branch of linguistics that studies writing and printing as systems of signs. It is the study of the writing system of a language. These orthographic conventions have been devised to turn speech into writing using any available technology (e.g., pen ink, typewriter, printing press, electronic screen). In modern English, the core of the system is the alphabet of 26 letters, in its lower case (a, b, c … ) and upper case (A, B, C … ) forms, along with rules which govern the way of spelling and capitalization which govern the way these letters are combined to make words. The system also includes the set of punctuation marks and the conventions of text positioning (such as headlines and indents), which are used to organize text by identifying sentences, paragraphs, and other written units. (David Crystal 1987).

1.2 Statement of the Study/Purpose of the Study

1. To identify and study T-Shirt inscriptions.

2. To examine the stylistic nature of inscriptions.

3. To explore the similarities among the different T-Shirt inscriptions.

4. To examine the various semantics associated with the different T-Shirt inscriptions

1.3 Research Questions

1. What are the different T-Shirt inscriptions used as our data in this research?

2. What are the methods of the style used in writing the T-Shirt inscriptions under study in this research?

3. What are. the similarities and differences among these T-shirt inscriptions?

4. What are the semantics associated with the different inscriptions of these T-Shirts?


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