Publication details [#55844]

Odebunmi, Akin. 2012. “The baby dey CHUK CHUK“: Language and emotions in doctor-client interaction. Pragmatics and Society 3 (1) : 120–148.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Nigerian Pidgin is a popular informal communicative code in Nigerian social, economic and political experience. It is sometimes spoken in formal situations in the hospital setting when participants find it pragmatically convenient. Despite its communicative significance, little research has been carried out on the use of Pidgin in conversational interactions in Nigerian hospitals, a gap this study fills by investigating how Pidgin is used in constructing emotions relating to social and medical conditions in hospitals. Seventy five (75) interactions between doctors and clients in Nigerian Pidgin were sampled; the data analysis was based centrally on relevance theory. Nigerian Pidgin evokes negative and positive emotions. Negative emotions manifest as pain and fear, while positive emotions appear as excitement and relief. Doctors and clients gain access to each other's intentions through their shared knowledge of Pidgin, their co-construction of ailments, and their contextually based local interactional resources. They thus negotiate emotions as cue-dependent variables that are steered with the help of cognitive processes.