USES OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIAN TELEVISION DRAMA

ABSTRACT: Language is one of the powerful tools in conveying messages to the targeted audience including television drama. In fact, drama language to some extent determines its audience. Although, action and subtitles do lots in passing dramatic messages. The survey research method was used with 150 copies of questionnaires were administered to 150 selected respondents in which 145 copies of questionnaires were returned and analysed. The frequency and percentage method of data analysis was used coupled with table. Findings show that the English language influenced their viewing habit averagely while people still prefer, understand and satisfy with drama messages in a non-English language such as in Pidgin English and indigenous language but the Multi-ethnic nature of Nigeria warranted the use of English as an official language. It was recommended that NTA should as a matter of fact need to cater the local audience by creating more community NTA stations where the drama and another programme in English can be converted into the indigenous language of the people in the area.


CHAPTER ONE

1.0     Introduction

1.1.    Background to the study

          Language is an essential ingredient in human communication. In fact, it is the only feature that distinguishes human beings from other animals. The ability of man to communicate in code sound make us a higher animal.

Naturally, living things (animals) are created to communicate with one another, but in different forms, animals have a way of communicating with one another. The bark of a dog, the crew of the cock, moo of Cattles is means of communication. Instinctively, human beings have distinctive features which differentiate them from other creatures.

Every human being is endowed with language. He takes his ability to articulate and understand a meaningful configuration of sounds for granted.

Adetugbo (1997) cited in Abiola (2009:1) describes language “ as a purely human activity, which man uses to express himself, share ideas with others and to pass the ideas to succeeding generations.

          Omenazu Oluchi (2010:13) quoted Akindele and Adegbije, (1999). Who describes language as a human phenomenon that has a form which can be described in terms of units of sound (phonemes), words, morphemes, phrases, sentences and paragraphs or discourse.

This definition shows that language has often been identified as the most unique attribute of man. It is through language that human beings grasp and understand reality and transmit it from one generation to another.

Language and Drama

          NTA being a national and international television channel use the English Language in its drama very often because language is a vehicle for the expression of thought and ideas, and when planning a drama; the targeted audience needs to be put into consideration to determine the language of the drama. For instance, if the target audience is Anambra or Igbo nation definitely Igbo and Pidgin English language or the mixture will do more good than English language but if the targeted audience cut across multi-ethnic Pidgin or Official Language (English will do more Good) etc        

           Drama is one of the genres of programmes on television for a long time to entertain the viewers and educate them. Salawu (2001) cited in Oyekanmi (2008:28) posits that man was born with drama and with the drama he lives. Added that drama is a story of life acted out or performed, rather than narrated, hence drama is a play.

However, NTA and other television stations showcase drama on their channels to entertain and educate viewers.

But the question now is why NTA as the foremost Nigeria television is using English language in its drama rather than promoting the indigenous language. Meanwhile, using English Language in most NTA Drama is on the assertion that Nigeria is an ethnic and multilingual country who has adopted English Language as her official language. For instance, if a drama programme is acted and shown on television using Igbo language, without doubt, if not subtitled many Nigerian who are either Yoruba or Hausa native will only use their insight to comprehend the drama message(s).  This suggests one of the reasons NTA adopt English language.  

Therefore, for NTA to cater for local audience it created other television channels on cable and community NTA to deal with people in their hosting community in order to make NTA reflect serve indigenous taste.  

          It is against this background that the research examines the use of English language in Nigerian television drama with a case study of NTA dramas.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

          When planning a drama; the targeted audience needs to be planned to determine the language of the drama. For instance, if the target audience is Anambra or Igbo nation definitely Igbo and Pidgin English language or mixture may do more good than pure English language but if the targeted audience cut across multi-ethnic Pidgin or Official Language (English may do more good). Language is a vehicle for expression of thought and ideas including drama.

          Also, critics have observes that up till now majority of Nigeria are living in rural areas who hardly write or speak English language but their local language therefore, showcasing drama in English language is a way of cutting out vast viewing population. This study x-rays the influence of the use of English language in Nigerian television drama using NTA Drama as a case study.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

  1. To examine whether NTA showcase drama in English language more than in other languages.
  2. To ascertain the extent which the use of English language on NTA drama influence viewing habits of viewers in Akwa.
  3. To examine some of the reason(s) account for English Language usage in NTA drama.
  4. To find out whether people understand and satisfy with drama message in English language more than in indigenous language or Pidgin.  
  5. To examines the type of future holds for drama in English language on the Nigeria television.

1.4     Research Questions

  1. Does NTA showcase drama in English language more than in other languages?
  2. To what extent does the use of English language on NTA drama influence viewing habits of viewers in Akwa?
  3. What reason(s) account for English Language usage in NTA drama?
  4. Do people understand and satisfy with drama message in English language more than in indigenous language or Pidgin?  
  5. What future holds for drama in English language on the Nigeria television?

1.5     Scope of the Study

          The research has been narrowed in scope to NTA Drama and selected audience. Since it is very difficult and impossible to study all television dramas and all television viewership in Nigeria.  However, fifty (50) respondents will be drawn from NTA, Awka and another one hundred (100) respondents from viewers that will be drawn from Akwa metropolis.

1.6     Significant of the Study

          It is the belief of the researcher that this study will be useful to lots of students, scholars, audience, media planners, media owners, policy makers, advertisers, advertising agencies and researchers would stand to gain a lot from the facts contained in this work.

          The research will analysis the benefit of using English language in NTA drama and other television station including the place of Indigenous language in television drama.  Media planners will at the end of this research see the benefit and how people feel about drama in English language.

          People that will be carrying out research that related to this will find the materials useful as it will provide them a clue to their own research, while others may focus on the influence of indigenous language in television drama and audience perception.

          It forms part of academic materials that students, lecturers, researchers, media company can turn to when looking for materials or existing literature on  drama and drama language in local, national and international  television channels. 

1.7     Limitations of the Study

Research of this nature cannot be effectively studied without come constraints. Below are some of the constraints to this work

  1. Financial Constraint: There is not enough funds to fuel the study of this research work. The researcher has access to a very little source of fund.
  2. Time Constraints: Due to the limited time available to carry out this research work, it is not possible to carry out the research extensively as anticipated by the researcher that is while respondents will be drawn from    NTA Akwa and residents within Akwa metropolis rather than going to NTA Abuja and sample in all the six geo-political zone of the country. 

1.8     Operational Definition of the terms

English Language: This is the official language used in public domain in Nigeria including in the media messages that cut across ethnic groups. 

Nigerian Television: These are audiovisual media operating in Nigeria such as NTA.

NTA: This refers to the Nigeria Television Authority

Drama: This is a play acted out or performed and showcased on television stations.

NTA Dramas: These are the plays showcase on television to entertain and educate viewers 

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