An Analytico-Philosophical Discourse to the Pragmatic Approach to Digital Communication in Nigeria

An Analytico-Philosophical Discourse to the Pragmatic Approach to Digital Communication in Nigeria

Oladele Abiodun Balogun (Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2.ch033
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The wave of the current unprecedented advancements in Information and Communication Technology, which spread in Nigeria, nay Africa is becoming unfathomable has some linguistic implications worthy of philosophical appraisal. The chapter discusses how the new digital milieu is changing human understanding and use of language in social and formal discourse. Contrary to the popular assumptions that the digital communication feat is holistically advantageous, the chapter argues that the advent of digital communication in Nigeria has occasioned unconsciously, more linguistic and social problems on the psyche of Nigerians. Through a careful survey of the style of sending text messages and mails via mobile phones and the Internet, the chapter establishes that Nigerians adopt pragmatic approach, which defies any respect for grammatical and linguistic rules in digital communication. Though, this ideological basis, the chapter argues, might hold some immediate communication effects for the senders and recipients; in spite of these supposed benefits, the chapter argues that the pragmatic approach to digital communication in Nigeria is inadequate. Thus, a case is made in the chapter for a more resonant underlying philosophy of language, which will guide digital communication in contemporary Nigeria.
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There is drought of literature emanating from Sub-Saharan Africa on contemporary developments of policies for digital technology provision and regulatory issues and challenges in Africa. This dearth of literature in this new era of technological and social concern is more acute specifically in the discourse on philosophy and digital communication. Some of the prevalent trends in literature address the importance of digital communication, the digital divide on the world scene- between the technologically advanced nations of the world and the third-world nations, which African states are predominantly christened.

In discussing the importance of digital communication and how it is aiding current development process in African states, Ajimobi Kunle said:

Digital communication provides better means of communication when compared at a larger scale with the predominant analogue means of communication. Digital communication is integrating economic activities (especially Agro-business which represents 80% of African economic activities). It is now contributing to the float of new phenomenon of e-….? Such as e-library, e-government, e-health, e-policing, etc. On a general outlook, digital communication is now making public services more efficient; improving infrastructure and productivity; and improving democracy and participation mechanisms (Ajimobi, 2003: 15).

Truly, ICT through globalization has made possible global communication and inter-connectedness, and it is in this sense that they are mutually dependent and inclusive. Through verbal and non-verbal digital communication, traditional boarders and barriers between countries have now become less meaningful because of the interconnectivity afforded by the Internet and telecommunication. In Africa today, like elsewhere, individuals, groups, companies and states now engage in global transactions and communications, sharing greetings, wishes, emotions, values and perspectives.

This development in digital communication has led to the issue of digital divide and its complications on the existing social relations and gap between rich nations and poor nations. Babatunde Okunola underscores this in his remark that:

There is the lingering danger that cyberspace will consolidate the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and the forces of global apartheid between the West and the Rest…. The digital divide is affecting comparative migrations of people (Okunola, 2004: 10).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Communication: Electronic transmission of information through any of the digital media.

ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Refers to a generic name for all of the technologies involved with communicating with computers.

SMS (Short Message Service): A text message sent on a cell phone, allowing up to 160 characters.

Pragmatism: is a philosophical tradition that is characterized by the belief that the meaning of concepts is to be sought in their practical bearings

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