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Experts rally to deepen study, research in pragmatics field



To boost teaching, learning and research in pragmatics in the country’s institutions of higher learning, scholars in the field of language and linguistics recently gathered at the Lagos State University (LASU) to share new knowledge and ideas inherent in the field.
The academics, under the aegis of Nigerian Pragmatics Association (NPrA), during the three-day workshop hosted by the institution’s English Department with the theme “Current trends in pragmatics research: theory and practice,” stated that since pragmatics is the science of language use in its widest interdisciplinary sense, there are range of areas waiting to be explored.
Participants were challenged to reposition the teaching and learning of pragmatics in their various institutions, so that the society will begin to reap the dividends of the subject.
Affiliated to the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA) with its Secretariat in Belgium, NprA, which is the first pragmatics group in Africa, has its members drawn from scholars and students of Pragmatics and other areas of language studies from all higher institutions of learning in Nigeria.
Vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (Administration) Prof. Damola Oke, stressed the need for the participants to synthesise theory and practice of pragmatics such that knowledge garnered in the classrooms is put to use in real situations of language use.
He said, if pragmatic concerns itself with enhancing appropriateness of language use in social interaction, “pragmatists must tailor their studies to make language speakers use language appropriately in order to not only enhance intercultural understanding and harmony, but also to promote peaceful coexistence among ethnic nationalities in a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria.”
The keynote speaker and professor of Linguistics, University of Ghana, Accra Legon, Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, said the essence of the workshop was to motivate scholars to do research in pragmatics and language studies that will benefit the society.
“There is need for intellectuals to carry out pragmatics research that is concerned with social, cultural, political, health and gender issues in our society, so that we can appreciate the issues within these areas and possibly proffer solutions to the difficulties we have in this area.”
President of the association, Prof. Akin Odebunmi, said pragmatics is one of the few disciplines of the Arts that can offer a lot of benefits to the society, as “its theories and other professional mechanisms permit entry into the human mind, help to track communicative choices and explain the complexity of all human engagements situated in linguistic and non-linguistic acts.”
Acting Head of the Department of English, LASU, Dr. Bello Rachael, said the workshop marks the beginning of a well-thought out plan to brainstorm on what could be done to enhance the study and research into pragmatics in Nigeria.

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