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Stylistics Variations in Sermons of Selected Pentecostal Pastor a Case Study of Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo

Stylistics Variations in Sermons of Selected Pentecostal Pastor a Case Study of Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo

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Chapter one

Introduction

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The ways in which language is used in the religious context have continued to draw the attention of linguists.  Religion, being a crucial aspect of any society, has always played and will continue to play an influential role in the society. Nations have gone to war at the instance of religion, peace treaties have been contracted on the platform of religion all made possible by language use in religious practices. When language use is examined, emphasis is placed on style, and style is dependent on context.

Onoja (2010) notes that language style is usually brought to the fore if it is intrinsically and consciously examined in relation to the society in which language is used. Notable also is the observation that religion is at the core of communication; that is, in the sense that everything done in the practice of religion is in an effort to communicate either between mankind and the Supreme Being or among individuals (Beyer, 1994). The field of religion therefore, provides language scholars a verse pool of data with which to study the continuous changes that occur in the use of language in relation to individuals, context and social norms, which are major variables in determining the appropriate variety of the language to use at a particular time using a specific medium Crystal (2001).

Stylistic variation plays a pivotal role in the field of sociolinguistic variation in that it sheds light on speakers strategies with respect to external variables and allows linguists to observe ongoing linguistic change (see Labov 1966; Eckert and Rickford 2001; Schilling-Estes 2002). Stylistic variation can be observed between speakers (inter-speaker variation) as well as in the speech of individual speakers (intraspeaker variation). As Schilling-Estes (2002: 375) notes, a range of different types of variation are associated with intra-speaker variation, ‘including shifts in usage levels for features associated with particular groups of speakers – i.e. dialects – or with particular situations of use – i.e. registers’

For instance, a sermon, in which the clergy employ different linguistic resources to achieve their goals, such as salvation and guide to godly living, would be tailored towards the use of the language with consideration for certain socio-cultural practices within the society. This study derives from a conviction that religious discourse can better be understood and appreciated in the context of language study.

Halliday (1994) illustrates the possibility of variability in language use, using three aspects of context to show that language is influenced by a specific context in which it occurs: what the communication is all about (the field of discourse), the interpersonal relationship between the interlocutors in a discursive event (the tenor of discourse) and the symbolic organisation of the text, the status that it has, and its function in the context, including the channel-spoken or written (the mode of discourse). Thus, it can be deduced that three major factors make communication possible: the topic, the participants and the functions of language.

Ugot and Offiong (2013) in examining the non-verbal variety of communication, which is an inevitable device used by Nigerian Pentecostal pastors, observe that such variety of communication includes body movement or kinetics and the use of different parts of the body to aid communication (Nelson and Pearson 1990). From their observation of Pentecostal pastors, Nelson and Pearson (1990) as cited in Ugot and Offiong (2013) submit that these pastors use facial expressions, eye contact, emotional tears, regulators such as head nodding, hand gestures, wave of hand to emphasize a point, shift in posture, points to different directions, etc.

Stylistics Variations in Sermons of Selected Pentecostal Pastor a Case Study of Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The ways in which language is used in the religious context have continued to draw the attention of linguists. Religion, being a crucial aspect of any society, has always played and will continue to play an influential role in the society. Nations have gone to war at the instance of religion, peace treaties have been contracted on the platform of religion – all made possible by language use in religious practices. When language use is examined, emphasis is placed on style, and style is dependent on context.

Onoja (2010) notes that language style is usually brought to the fore if it is intrinsically and consciously examined in relation to the society in which language is used. Notable also is the observation that religion is at the core of communication; that is, in the sense that everything done in the practice of religion is in an effort to communicate either between mankind and the Supreme Being or among individuals.

1.3 Purpose of the study

This main Purpose of this study is to investigate the stylistics variations in sermons of selected Pentecostal pastor a case study of Pastor E. Adeboye and Bishop D.  Oyedepo. The objectives are:

(i) to reveal how Pastor E.A Adeboye  and Bishop D.  Oyedepo construct their messages;

(ii) to identify prominent discursive/stylistic features in Pastor E.A Adeboye  and Bishop D.  Oyedepo messages

 (iii) to show how these features help to effectively project the intended meanings.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions were raised to guide the study

  • how does Pastor E.A Adeboye and Bishop D. Oyedepo construct their messages?
  • what are the prominent discursive/stylistic features found in Pastor E.A Adeboye and Bishop D. Oyedepo messages ?
  • how does these features help to effectively project the intended meanings in his massage ?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The importance of style in any given write-up cannot be underestimated and this research work will be significant in the following ways:

  1. First, it will contribute to the growing explorations on the interface between language and style.
  2. It will also explore how a linguistic framework can help us in understanding biblical sermons
  3.  It will also reveal how literature can tell us about stylistic structure and function
  4. It will also obviously contribute to our knowledge on the link between literature and style in academic disciplines.
  5. It will serve as a mail stone for other researcher on stylistic this research is hence important because its findings will be significant in the understanding of Christian religious discourse particularly the bible study.

1.6 delimitation of the study

Particularly, the focus is delimited to concentrate solely on the understanding of the sermons of the Redeem Christian Church of God and that of Living Faith Church by using linguistic tools to unravel it

1.8 Definition of Terms

Sermons:  A sermon is an oration or lecture by a preacher or other member of clergy. Sermons address a scriptural, theological, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law, or behavior within both past and present contexts. Elements of the sermon often include exposition, exhortation, and practical application

Style: a method of textual interpretation in which primary of place is assigned to language”. This shows that language is the key point in stylistic because a writer employs various forms and patterns of language while presenting his message.

Stylistics Variations: Stylistic variation refers to how individual speakers adapt their language use based on the situation.

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