Locutions in medical discourse in Southwestern Nigeria

Akin Odebunmi

Abstract

The paper examines the pragmatic roles that locutionary acts play in understanding the communication between doctors and patients in Southwestern Nigeria. Working within John Austin’s locutionary acts, with restrictions to the lexical occurrences and lexical relationships observed in the discourse, it got data through tape recordings of doctor-patient conversations and interviews of both doctors and patients (and/or their relations).The findings revealed that two categories of locutions were engaged in hospital interactions, namely, locutions intended to be understood by non-professionals and locutions not intended to be understood by non-professionals. The paper observes that locutions in medical discourse in Southwestern Nigeria bring standard lexical choices and local linguistic initiatives of medical practitioners into a pragmatic union. It therefore concludes that the pragmatic engagement of these choices displays the tact the practitioners use in dealing with patients, and it recommends the need for the practitioners to master the locutions and their pragmatic adaptation for effective management of patients.

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