Let Your Communication have Meaning, Oyedepo Advises Nigerians

Adegunle Olugbamila

Covenant University (CU) Ota in Ogun State chancellor Dr David Oyedepo has said anyone who cannot clarify his message to his listeners has not “communicated”.

Oyedepo said there is a correlation between man and language because of their dynamism, adding that this necessitates the need for the former to continue to acquire as much efficiency as possible in language use.

Oyedepo spoke at the inaugural lecture series at CU premises on Friday delivered by a professor of Stylistics Christopher Awonuga at the university.

Awonuga spoke on the theme: ‘’what does this text mean? Stylistics and the process of interpretation’’ Oyedepo said examples abound the world over where clarity of communication had resulted in ‘quality decision making’ that had shaped the society and brought about positive development.

The senior cleric said his calling as a communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ has made him traverse the world. Yet, he continued to discover new challenges and gaps in his communication skills, as well as the need to address them as urgently as possible.

“What I expected is what I found,” Oyedepo said referring to the delivery of Awonuga’s lecture.

Prof. Awonuga
Prof. Awonuga

“This lecture of today applies to everybody,” he continued.

“It is unfortunate that many of us speak but only a few communicate.  This is where the essence of meaning comes in, and I want to say you can’t be a part of the decision if you cannot communicate effectively because the clarity of communication is vital in every relationship.

“This lecture will, therefore, go a long way in influencing clarity of communication and ways by which messages are diffused.”

Oyedepo said the likelihood of a language to survive largely depends on how often it is spoken; how proficient are users of the said language as well as efforts made to standardise such language to accommodate audience beyond the immediate speakers.

Awonuga highlighted the ambivalence nature in which personal pronouns, such as ‘mine’, ‘your’, ‘yours’, ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘we’ ‘their” and ‘they’ are used to connote various meanings via a text.

To buttress his points, Awonuga conducted linguistic analyses of some poems and five texts, two of which included former president Goodluck Jonathan’ ‘Declaration Speech’  on  September 18, 2010, and former American president Barrack Obama’s ‘State of the union’ speech on February 12, 2013. In the end, Awonuga submitted that both speakers used personal pronouns to balance their relationship with their audiences.

He said: “The reviews and analyses demonstrate that in political rhetoric, the relationships among participants in the discourse situations are mediated by personal pronouns ‘which delineate a social or political ‘space’ in which people and groups have a political ‘position’

“There are two issues to be stressed at this point. The first is that personal pronouns are not the only major linguistic characteristics of the language of politics. The others are metaphor, especially metaphors of sport and war.

“The second issue to note here is that English personal pronouns are used in interesting ways not only in politicians’ speeches but also in speeches in general.

In his recommendations, Awonuga sought the stylistic study of poetry and prose frictional texts by students.

“The reason for this is that the study of poetry is not popular with university students in Nigeria and they need to be motivated in this area of academic endeavour,” Awonuga added.


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