A linguistic analysis of some selected Ghanaian newspapers.

Author:Koufie, Charles


Language is a commanding instrument, especially when used deliberately and purposefully. It can be used in used in diverse ways in order to climax and influence a message.

Without compatible to rules, the primary function of language as a tool for communication may be compromised since meaning can be changed merely by the addition or omission of even just a little element in a grammatical structure. It is, thus, imperious for the language user to aim at ameliorating his/her language by following prescribed rules. The refinement or furtherance of a language largely depends on the proficient and careful enactment of its rules of grammar. By the bettering of a language, one understands little else than the extensive teaching of its just forms, according to equivalence and the general convention of the most precise writers (Agu, 2015).

According to him, journalists are trained to use language in special ways that could enhance the overall development of any society, or they may end up ripping the whole land apart if language is not properly controlled. It is an established fact that every field of human endeavour has certain linguistic features that make its language divergent.

The media is a linguistic mediocre, especially the print media and electronic. Language is one of the most important vehicles for the exchange of ideas. This paper is primarily concerned with a linguistic-stylistic analysis of the language of the media text. By insinuation, what it entails is that there are certain linguistic singularities that make the style of media text unique. According to Agu (2008), the study of style among other things involves an examination of syntax, diction, idioms, and imagery. At its simplest level, syntax refers to the structure of sentences; diction is the writer's choice of words and manner of deploying them to achieve maximum artistic effects. As noted earlier, the study of style also involves an examination of the writer's use of figurative language and other related devices such as idioms and imagery. These aspects of language, according to Agu (2008) are used to give a written work verbal beauty, economy of words and structure and thematic depth. What it all adds up to is that we have to examine very briefly what institutes the language of the media, especially as it affects the language of newspaper stories.

The study of news reports in the press is one of the major tasks of discourse-analytical media research. Linguists analyse how language can indicate underlying philosophies. Articles in newspapers as well as the information given to the public by renown people in the society can be inferred and remodeled in different ways, especially the tribute read by the late Vice President Amissah Arthur's wife: "They can be summed up, abridged, polarised, exaggerated and personified. A transformation of the original account of the event in question is presented to the reader in such a way that it may affect his/her view of the world" (Nordlund, 2003:8).

Text is a structured unit consisting of smaller units. It is "a stretch of language which makes coherent sense in the context of its units. It may be spoken or written; it may be as long as a book or as short as a cry for help." (Quirk et al. 1990: 434). To achieve the unity, continuity and fluency of the text, "English sentences can be linked in various ways, among which repetition of an element and back reference by means of pronouns are among the more important." (Halliday and Hasan 1976, in: Vestergaard and Schroder 1985: 18). Other techniques are also used to join sentences together, for example, we use synonymy, place and time relaters, determiners, proforms (pronouns, pro-verbs, and other pro-forms), ellipsis, enumeration, parallelism (repetition of sentence structure), conjunctions and various transitions. All these 'sentence signals' refer back or forward to neighboring sentences.


Since media plays vital role in our current dispensation and vehicle for mass education, it has become necessary to assess the usage of language in the media text.


Language, as a social practice, involves multifaceted and complicated social issues. Hence, different events may be represented ideologically in the media in general and newspapers in particular. There is no doubt that investigating some authentic sources like newspapers are beneficial in depicting the ideological manifestations of this study.

Idiomatic constructions "An idiom is an expression (i.e. term or phrase) whose meaning cannot be deduced from the literal definitions and the arrangement of its parts, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is known only through conventional use. In linguistics, idioms are figures of speech that contradict the principle of compositionality (the principle, which tells that the meaning of a complex expression is determined by the meanings of its constituent expressions and the rules used to combine them.)." (http://www.wikipedia.org/). Idioms have multiword character, they are fixed and they have common figurative meaning. The phrase 'to be in the same boat' has the literal meaning 'to be in the same boat', and also the idiomatic figurative meaning 'to be in the same difficult situation'. A proverb is a type of idiomatic construction. It is "a well-known phrase or sentence that gives advice or says something that is generally true." (Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 2001), e.g.: 'Too many cooks spoil the broth.' means that if too many people are involved in something, it will not...

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