Pragmatic Acts In HIV/AIDS Social Management Advertisements

  • Toyin Makinde


Studies on the social management of HIV and AIDS have focused on how awareness about HIV and AIDS has been created through organised and interpersonal communication. These studies have not investigated context-constrained language use in the advertisements on the disease despite the wide coverage and potential effectiveness of the public sensitisation about HIV and AIDS. This study, therefore, investigated the pragmatic features of language in selected HIV and AIDS management advertisements with a view to identifying the pragmatic acts of the language. Aspects of pragmatic act theory, noted for negotiability of meaning context based interactional situations was adopted for the research. All the 25 advertisements broadcast between December 2006 and June 2009, to all African countries on both private and government-owned television stations in Nigeria by an International non-governmental agency known as 'it begins with you' (YOU) constituted the data. Fifty–four utterances were generated from the adverts and were subjected to qualitative analysis and reported in simple percentages. Six pragmatic functions manifested in the advertisements: Co-opting and Projecting were realised through inference (INF), shared situational knowledge (SSK) and relevance (REL) to bring the audience into the war against HIV/AIDS. Encouraging and Emboldening were projected through SSK and INF to motivate the audience to go for HIV test and speak openly about the virus. Instigating was done using indirect speech act to empower the female against discrimination and stigmatisation. Advising was achieved through SSK and INF to promote fidelity and safe sexual behaviour. The analysis of YOU advertisements through pragmatic act theory presupposes that pragmatic functions were exploited by the advertisers to sensitise the audience, promote social ties and project into an HIV free generation.
Makinde, T. (2014). Pragmatic Acts In HIV/AIDS Social Management Advertisements. Linguistik Online, 67(5).