Language use in the social media and national integration: current trends and challenges
The focus of this paper is on language use in the social media. It demonstrated the current trends in the computer mediated discourses as seen on Facebook handle. The alarming rate of ‗nationism‘ and its possible effect as seen in these discourses which are capable of causing chaos necessitated the need for this study. It explored these trends with the view to ascertaining its challenges to national integration. About forty linguistic properties of the utterances in response to three particular excerpts from events in Nigeria gotten from Facebook accounts constitute the data with which this current trend of language use is demonstrated. The paper discovered that in the midst of this social media revolution, prevalent issues such as crime, violence, conflict, elections and insurgency are discussed online. Their examination revealed that there are predominantly hate speeches especially in reaction to issues of national interest. Most of such discourses are laced with inappropriate use of language exposing the lack of communicative competence amongst users. Judging from the basic components of speech act theory, the paper foresees possible perlocutionary acts which might be in the form of war and possible disintegration. As parts of its recommendations, the paper brought to limelight the need to put in check the destructive use of language on the social media.
Keywords: Social media, Language use, Speech act theory, Perlocutionary, National integration
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