Speech Acts and Ideology in Select Nigerian Legal Discourse
AbstractSince linguistic investigations have proved that ideology is woven in our everyday linguistic interaction, the speech acts can portray such beliefs. Affidavit, on the other hand expresses facts for official and record purposes, as a result, there is a conceived inherent notion held in the interaction. As well, numerous studies on Nigerian legal discourse have largely concerned themselves with its stylistic and pragmatic features, but none of these have worked within the constraint of a model like speech acts to show that the ideological position of affidavit is apparent in its linguistic approach. This paper is therefore interested in filling this gap, concentrating only on speech acts in affidavits. The study is significant in that it shows how a legally and socially situated text such as affidavit is ‘not perfectly free’ of the ideological groups of its originators and time. This paper therefore, investigates fifteen affidavits of three different subject matters - affidavit of loss, affidavit of change of ownership and affidavit of personal identification. The paper concludes that ideological representations in affidavits, in addition to showing the bases of the terminology and aiding their meanings, reveal how speech acts account for acts which language may be used to perform.
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