oa Lagos Notes and Records - Cooperative principles in a Nigerian Christian sermon

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0075-7640



In the light of the assumptions and expectations that underlie communicative behaviour in sermonic discourses and their dependence on contextual inferences rather than linguistic meanings, this paper utilizes the cooperative principles to examine a Nigerian Christian sermon by one of the leading preachers in Nigeria. It is found that the preacher expects the audience to understand his message by relying on the background or previous knowledge which they both share. The paper argues that the fact that utterances are felicitous in spite of the breach of cooperative principles reveals a major weakness in Christian sermonic discourses and reinforces the impression that they are shrouded in mystery.

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