Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 11 November 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.



  • We seek your support to meet the expenses relating to the formatting of articles and books, maintaining and running the journal through hosting, correrspondences, etc.Please write to the Editor in his e-mail address to find out how you can support this journal. Thank you. Thirumalai, Editor.




  • E-mail your articles and book-length reports in Microsoft Word to
  • Contributors from South Asia may e-mail their articles to
    B. Mallikarjun,
    Central Institute of Indian Languages,
    Mysore 570006, India
  • Your articles and booklength reports should be written following the APA, MLA, LSA, or IJDL Stylesheet.
  • The Editorial Board has the right to accept, reject, or suggest modifications to the articles submitted for publication, and to make suitable stylistic adjustments. High quality, academic integrity, ethics and morals are expected from the authors and discussants.

Copyright © 2010
M. S. Thirumalai


Paralinguistic and Non-Verbal Props in Second-Language Use:
A Study of Icheoku and Masquerade in Nigeria

Diri I. Teilanyo, Ph.D.


This paper discusses the use of ideophones, gestures and dramatic physical demonstrations in complementing speech by incompetent users of a second language, namely English. The paper demonstrates that while similar instruments are also used by native speakers of a language for emphasis and rhetoric, they are employed by linguistically handicapped users of a target non-native language more often to prop their speech in order to achieve communication since their knowledge of the resources of the target language are insufficient to attain the purpose. Illustrations are drawn from two Nigerian mass media comedies, Icheoku and Masquerade, which are parodies of the challenges posed by the use of English in societies where it is a foreign or second language.

Keywords: paralanguage, non-verbal language, ideophones, props, gestures, dramatic demonstrations

1. Introduction

A little learning is a dangerous thing. (Alexander Pope 1973: 1863).

This paper studies the role of paralinguistic and non-vocalic devices in the speech of individuals who are incompetent users of their target second or foreign language, where the devices serve the purpose of propping their impaired communication skills in order to attain intelligibility. Illustrations are drawn from two Nigerian electronic mass media comedies, Icheoku and Masquerade. These are radio and television series which are designed largely to parody the manifestations of these features and other non-standard elements in the use of English by real-life subordinate bilinguals. The characters whose language use is focused upon are the main heroes of the two series, the Court Clerk in Icheoku and Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, alias 4.30 of Masquerade.

The study of second-language acquisition and learning has been characterized largely by the discussion of sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic issues as well as the identification, description and correction of errors. Not enough attention seems to have been paid to the paralinguistic and non-vocalic aids in attaining communicative competence by non-proficient users of the foreign or second language.

It has been argued that full grammatical competence may not be necessary to achieve communicative competence (Canale and Swain 1979: 11-12). Thus, where users of a language do not have sufficient mastery of the resources of a target language -- and this may apply as much to a first, native language as to a second, non-native language - they often apply paralinguistic and non-verbal aids to complement their speech. For example, a major stage in a child's development, prior to the acquisition of the vocabulary of even a native language is the use of non-verbal cues (such as producing some sounds that are unrecognizable in any language) or some non-vocalic apparatus (such as pointing to objects and persons).

The devices referred to here are different from those employed by competent native or non-native speakers of a language for emphasis or rhetorical effect. Prosodic devices like pitch, intonation, tone, etc. as well as non-verbal cues like dressing, gesture, facial expression, gesticulation, etc. may all be employed by both native and non-native users of a language for reasons other than incompetence in the use of the language in question. In our case, the devices are employed as aids not only to supplement (as with competent speakers) but to complement language in order to achieve intelligibility at all, or because the user is ignorant of the appropriate words to express the relevant concepts.

In his effort to identify and define a standard for spoken English in Nigeria, Ayo Banjo (1969) identified four varieties of the language. The variety we discuss here would be the first which is a basilectal variety, so distant from internationally standard English that its speakers, to whom English is largely a foreign language (especially in Icheoku), often have to resort to these non-verbal aids to express themselves.

The terms 'paralanguage' (with its study 'paralinguistics') and 'non-verbal communication' are used in different ways in linguistics, often with significant overlap in range of reference between them.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Implementing Explicit Grammatical Instruction in Thailand Schools | Nature of Sentence Intonation in Kannada, Tulu and Konkani | Language and Gender - Linguistic Analysis of Intermediate English Textbooks in Pakistan | Development of Punjabi-Hindi Aligned Parallel Corpus from Web Using Machine Translation | Paralinguistic and Non-Verbal Props in Second-Language Use: A Study of Icheoku and Masquerade in Nigeria | Economic Perspectives and Life-style Characteristics of the Aged Population in Tamil Nadu, India | Redefining Secularism - An Analysis of John Updike's Terrorist and Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist as Post-9/11 Novels | Reduplication in Bengali Language | Development of Time-Compressed Speech Test for Children between 8 - 12 Years of Age in Telugu | Bridging the Gap - The Potential of Contrastive Rhetoric in Teaching L2 Writing | ELT in Yemen and India - The Need for Remedial Measures | Relationship between Multiple Intelligence Categories and Learning Styles of Students in Pakistan | Internet as an Educational Resource in Vocabulary Instruction | The Effectiveness of Technology in Teaching Study Skills | A Study of the Comparative Elements in the Poetry of Keats and Ghani Khan | Sentence Pattern Method - A New Approach for Teaching Spoken English for Tamil/Indian/EFL Learners | Enhancing Language Skills Using Learn to Speak English Software in Engineering Students of Andhra Pradesh | Problems in Teaching of English Language at the Primary Level in District Kohat, NWFP, Pakistan | An Appraisal of the Practicum - Finding the Gaps between Theory and Practice in Teacher Training Institutions in Pakistan | A Study of B.Ed. Students' Attitude Towards Using Internet in Vellore District, Tamilnadu, India, Masters Dissertation | Politics of Sambalpuri or Kosali as a Dialect of Oriya in Orissa | A Six-Step Approach to Teaching Poetry Incorporating the Four Skills | Lexis of a Suicidal | A Case Review of Tamil Diglossia | Comparison of Markedness of Lexical Semantic Abilities in Normal Children and Children with Hearing Impairment | Social Effects and Other Impediments in Teaching Literature | Aligning the Connotations of Love and Freedom in the Novels of Iris Murdoch | Spiritual Communication and Managerial Effectiveness | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF NOVEMBER, 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT. | HOME PAGE of November 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Diri I. Teilanyo, Ph.D.
Department of English and Literature
University of Benin
P.M.B. 1154
Benin City

  • Send your articles
    as an attachment
    to your e-mail to
  • Please ensure that your name, academic degrees, institutional affiliation and institutional address, and your e-mail address are all given in the first page of your article. Also include a declaration that your article or work submitted for publication in LANGUAGE IN INDIA is an original work by you and that you have duly acknolwedged the work or works of others you either cited or used in writing your articles, etc. Remember that by maintaining academic integrity we not only do the right thing but also help the growth, development and recognition of Indian scholarship.