Pragmatic Acts in Characters’ Utterances in Ahmed Yerima’s Mojagbe

Ade Adeniji, Niyi Osunbade


Scholarly studies on Ahmed Yerima’s dramas have largely concentrated on plot structure, characterization, thematisation, stylistic, and pragmatic features of his texts. While the pragmatic studies of the texts have examined context-determined meanings of proverbs and politeness features in Yerima’s plays, very little attention has been paid to the contextual examination of the totality of the culture-based experiences he has refracted in the dramas. This study, therefore, fills this vacuum, being a pragmatic investigation of Yerima’s Yoruba culture-based play, Mojagbe, aimed at enhancing an understanding of Yerima’s culture-based plays by establishing a thematic link between the play and culture through a rigorous application of the theory of pragmeme. Mojagbe was purposively selected, given its richness in Yoruba cultural norms and values and all culture-based interactional utterances in it constituted the data for the study. These were analysed using insights from Mey’s theory of pragmatic acts. The findings reveal that eight practs and allopracts of informing, invoking, warning, assuring, cautioning, lamenting, insisting, and accusing are found in traditional and communal contexts in Mojagbe, to treat issues of power, danger, immortality, re-incarnation, death, bravery, punishment, insincerity, and war  through contextual features of shared-situational knowledge (ssk), socio-cultural knowledge (sck), inference (inf), reference (ref) and voicing (vce). The interaction between the play, Mojagbe, and culture facilitates access to a context-sensitive understanding of thematised socio-cutural issues in the play and their contextual reflection of the Nigerian society being refracted by Yerima, thereby revealing the pliability of the pragmatic approach of pragmeme in espousing the culture-based experiences of the Yoruba in Nigeria.

Key words: Yerima, culture-based, pragmatic act, Mojagbe, thematic foci

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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