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This study, DICTION AND STRUCTURE IN SELECTED FACEBOOK GREETINGS BY NIGERIANS contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.




1.0                                           INTRODUCTION

This work studies the choice of words in selected facebook posts. Before the analysis proper, it is appropriate to consider some theoretical and conceptual issues. These include diction, lexis, semantics and collocation.


What is diction?

Diction can be defined as the style of writing or speaking which is determined by the choice of words of the speaker or writer. Diction is also known as choice of words. It separates good writing from bad writing. A wrong choice of words can easily divert learners or readers which may result in misinterpretation of the message intended to be passed.

Diction can also be defined as the style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words. It usually implies a high level of usage. It refers to the choice of words, their arrangement, the force, accuracy and distinction with which they are used. We have two main types of diction. They are: Formal and informal diction.

Formal diction are words used in a formal setting or situation e.g Press conferences, seminars, presentations etc. while Informal dictions are words used in an informal situation eg Talking to our friends, our everyday speech etc. An informal diction makes use of slangs. Slang is the use of words that are impolite or newly coined. One of the primary things that diction does is to establish whether a work is formal or informal. For instance, Let’s consider the difference between ‘I am much obliged to you, sir’ and’ Thanks a bunch, buddy’. The first expression of gratitude sounds more formal than the second expression. We would not address a stranger in the same way as a child. Diction is the thing that sets the tone of a piece. If your diction is formal, the piece will come as formal. If it is informal, then your writing will be informal.

Diction does not have any specific purpose. It just create the overall “sense” of your work. There are other types of diction. They include:

  • Slang: This refers to a group of recently coined words often used in informal situations.
  • Colloquial expressions: It is a nonstandard way of using language that is appropriate to informal or conversational speech and writing. Eg y’all.
  • Concrete diction: This refers to specific words that describe physical qualities or conditions.
  • Abstract diction: This refers to language that denotes ideas, emotions, conditions, or concept that are intangible.

The synonym [  i.e nearest in meaning ] of diction is Language.


          The linguist defines language as the oldest phenomenon used by man at creation. Also, the sociologist sees it as a means of socialization and interaction. According to Advanced learners Dictionary, ­(2nd Edition) Language is defined as human and non- instinctive method of communicating ideas, feelings and desires by means of a system and sound symbols. Language is a means in which its form are described in the units of sound [phonemes], words, morphemes, phrases, sentences and paragraph or discourse aspects. Man’s expressions, feelings, emotions, thoughts, attitudes and values are expressed through language. It is believed that man is able to express all whenever or anytime he feels like sharing such with others. Also, the use of language assists us to gain by using complex systems of communication, most especially human’s ability to do so. It is also governed by grammatical rules of combination to communicate meaning in a formal system of signs.  Another defines language as a communicating means which enables human beings exchange either verbal or symbolic utterances of human. Language is most powerful, convenient, and the permanent means of communicating.

Language over the years has become the most important phenomenon in the world. For instance, from age to age, time to time, birth to death, our entire activities are being controlled by language. All aspects of human life is regulated by language. Human life is regulated by language. It is a means of communication, expressions of feelings and thoughts can be made to others through language. This implies that without the use of language, the society would be impossible.

Language is structured into different patterns for communication purpose, because it is made up of systems of principles and rules. Language does not exist in an empty space; it is always contextualized. Language contains sets of arbitrary symbols. That is, there is no one – to- one connection between the object and symbols which they represent. The attachment of meaning to linguistic symbols is purely arbitrary. For example, the fact that an object is called a book in English does not necessarily mean that there is something special about it that makes it a book. The same object is referred to as ‘IWE’ in Yoruba.

Language is seen as a means in which human experiences are communicated. It is species- specific to man.  It is also a phenomenon which is productive and creative. This explains that a limitless number of paragraphs, sentences and utterances can be generated out of a limited number of speech sounds or letters of the alphabet produced in a language.


There is the transmission of knowledge which occurs from one person to another by some form of language.

There are three forms

  • Sign [picture] Language.
  • Vocal [spoken] Language
  • Symbolic [written] Language.

Language is described here as the source of expressions of thought the means of sign, vocal, symbol and speech sounds.  It is practically useful in the aspect of communication of system of rules and principles that are structured into patterns.


  1. Language is arbitrary: The arbitrariness of language means that there is no similarity or logicality in relation between any given features of language and its meaning. This means that it entirely arbitrary, that is not direct, or any necessary connection between the nature of things or ideas in language. This suggests that the variation of languages differs in the world and does not correlate together.

The name differs for similar objects or concepts in different societies. For example, ‘chair’ in English is ‘Aga’ in Yoruba while the same concept is referred to as ‘la chaise’ in French. Therefore, users of Language are quite aware of the arbitrary nature of language since it has been realized that the way different communities refer to objects varies in terms of the words employed.

  1. Language is a social phenomenon: Through Language, feelings, thoughts and knowledge are expressed by human beings. Language here is the first source of communication. It has a very great role in mass communication. With the use of language, there is the interaction among human beings. It is an institution of socialism. Language is a medium for the development and nourishment of culture, also in the establishment of human relation.

Man values the importance of language right from his very first day. Language evolution started from the birth of human being. If a society does not use language, it dies out. On the other hand, if language is used in society, it is alive.

  1. Language is a means of communication: Language is seen as the best means of self expression. Language makes possible the expression of thoughts, desires, emotions, feelings. There is the storage of knowledge, transmissions of message, transferring experience and ideas from person to another, from one place to another place, from one generation to another generation.  Language as a means of communication involves non- linguistic symbols such as signals of various kinds, traffic lights, road signs and flags.
  2. Language is symbolic: A symbol serves as a substitute; it stands for or represents something. Symbolism in Language represents ideas, deep concepts with the use of symbols. The symbolism of Language is very necessary because it consists of a system of arbitrary or conventional sign and it is symbolic in different ways.

When we say Language is symbolic, we mean that what we say has a deeper symbolic and semantic meaning. In literature, language is often used symbolically. For instance, the word ’rose’ is often a symbol of passion in English. Language is a symbol to one’s culture. In various cultures, people think differently in other languages. There are different beliefs, not all words translate the same.

There are words in some languages that does not correspond with any other word in another language, thus, translations becomes difficult. That is, Language could be a symbol for culture.

1.3 Lexis

Lexis is a term in linguistics for the vocabulary of a language. The study of Lexis and the lexicon [ a collection of words ] is called lexicology.  Lexis or lexicon is a complete set of all possible words in a language. It may refer to the total bank of words and phrases of a particular language, the artifact of which is known as lexicon. According to Webster New world college Dictionary, Lexis is the full vocabulary of a language, or of a group, individual, field of study etc

1.4 Semantics

This is a branch of linguistic and logic which is concerned with meaning. It is the study of meaning. It is the study of meaning in language. Semantics focuses on the relationship between signifiers like words, phrases, signs and symbols, sentences and larger units of discourse. It is the study of meaning in language. It can be applied to entire text or to single words. For example, “destination” and “last stop” technically mean the same thing, but student of semantics analyze their meaning. It also deals with varieties and changes in the meaning of words, phrases, sentences and texts.

Semantics means the meaning and interpretation of words, signs, and sentence structure. Semantics determines our reading comprehension, how we understand others, and even the decision we make as a result of our interpretation. It can also be defined as the branch of study within linguistics that deals with language and how we understand meaning. One of the main issues with semantics is the distinction between the literal meaning and figurative meaning.


There are various definitions of collocation. Collocation is thought of by us in the same way as Benson et al. 1986 expresses that:

In any language, certain words combine with certain other words

or grammatical constructions. These recurrent, semi-fixed combinations,

or collocations, can be divided into two groups: grammatical collocations

and lexical collocation.

In collocation, groups of two or more words are commonly used together, English collocation is largely idiomatic. Collocation is considered “correct” because its use has been accepted widely by native speakers of English. Collocation also explains the regular harmony which is associated with     particular words. Collocation is defined as arbitrary and recurrent word combination which represents a subclass of multi-word expressions that are prevalent in language and play an important role in its naturalness.

Furthermore, when two or more words consistently co-occur consistently co-occur and cannot be explained in terms of accident or chance because of the way they co-occur. Therefore, it is a case of collocation.

A case in which the presence of one word predicts the presence of another word or words is collocation, e.g. The word “agriculture” usually attracts structural words as plant, sow, reap, harvest, crops, manure, fertilizers etc. All these are the collocates of agriculture. Money, budget, industry, inflation, exchange rate. Etc. These are the collocates of “economy”. This means that in collocation, a word in a particular sense tends to co-occur with different set of words than when it is used in another sense.

There are different types of collocation

  • Grammatical collocation
  • Semantic collocation

Compound and flexible word pair collocation

  • Grammatical collocation

They often contain prepositions which includes paired syntactic categories such as verb+ preposition e.g {put on, look at}, adjective + preposition e.g. {Fond of, afraid that and noun+ preposition {by chance, witness to} e.t.c.

Semantic collocation

They are lexically restricted word, phrase, the subset of the synonyms of the collocator can be used in the same lexical context.

3         Compound and flexible word pair collocation

Here, compounds include word pairs which occur consecutively in language and typically cannot be changed in function. E.g Noun + noun pairs are one such example, which not only occur consecutively but also functions s constituents. Flexible word pairs include collocation between subject and verb, verb and object, and any number of intervening words may occur between the words of the collocation.


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