A Study of Speech Acts in WhatsApp Conversations of Non-Teaching Staff of University of Uyo


Ogundeji, A. O.


There have been many linguistic studies on social media, fostering effective communications in Nigeria. However, linguists pay little or no attention to the use of language on social media by non-teaching staff of Nigerian universities, which if researched, may enhance the capacity of the productive services of staff. Therefore, this study conducts speech acts analysis on WhatsApp chats of non-teaching staff of the University of Uyo with a view to identifying the speech acts they perform. It uses speech acts theory to analyze sixtytwo purposive sampled messages of the staff in their WhatsApp chats. The study uses qualitative and quantitative data analysis to describe the pragmatic acts of the university staff. It shows that the staff usually use speech acts of directives, assertives, expressives, commissives and declaratives in their communications. Notwithstanding, the frequency of acting declaratives is very low. Therefore, the study recommends that the non-teaching staff should imbibe idea of better discussion on their professional theories in order to adhere to using of declarative speech act of pronouncing, christening and judging. This shall strengthen their better mastery of office schedules.


Message, SSANU, ANUPA, WhatsApp, Commissives, and Declaratives.


Language of media remains a veritable tool of communication in both formal and informal settings. It is also the manipulative and communicative instrument through which people's opinions, feelings and emotions are shared among one another. By the advent of computermediated chat groups popularly known as social media in last decades, users in the formal and informal settings have been availing themselves with the opportunity to pass across one another important piece of information as well as creation of humours. Doing so, language use in the social media has been playing significant roles in the meaning making processes such as educational orientation, business negotiations, welfare discussion, duty allocations, and a host of others.


WhatsApp is a form of technological application which is used through either hand phone or other mobile computer settings. Though there are many other Message-sending applications in Nigeria but WhatsApp remains the most popular among them. The use of language on the platforms has been investigated by many linguistic scholars in Nigeria and beyond. Adebola (2017) has examined WhatsApp fora messages of undergraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile-Ife show their use of the social media platform. She focused on the signification of smileys and emojis in the WhatsApp interactions of the selected students' WhatsApp platforms. The researcher deploys the instrumentalist approach in the study of semiotics in the WhatsApp conversations of the undergraduate students of the university. Otemuyiwa (2017) conducts a linguistic analysis of WhatsApp conversations of undergraduate students in Joseph Ayo Babalola University.


The research work analysed pragmatic acts of non-teaching staff in the University of Uyo to characterise their language use in their created social media fora. The research work discovered that the staff of the university are prone to use of directives, assertives, expressives, commissives, and declaratives in the course of their interactions in the platforms. The commonly used speech acts were hierarchically listed in the table and discussed accordingly. The results showed that the staff deployed speech acts like directives, assertives and expressives more often in their communications with one another in the chat group. The degree at which they used commissives and declaratives was very low. Perhaps the staff used the platform for discussion on their professional theories, their acting of declaratives would have been frequent. This research work recommends therefore that non-teaching staff should avail themselves the WhatsApp platforms to organise seminar and workshop which will improve their performing of directive speech act. So, they will name, judge and pronounce to change the world in their chosen careers


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