A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Online Hate Comments on Political News Stories in Nigeria and Benin Republic

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Samuel OWOEYE, Covenant University, Nigeria
Esther AJIBOYE, Covenant University, Nigeria
Taiwo ABIOYE, Covenant University, Nigeria
Although hate speech has been a global phenomenon since a long time, the advent and the liberality of internet mediated communication has made it so easy for people to freely engage in it even as it is today seen as a criminal offence in many countries. It is widely perceived as a form of organized reactions to economic, political, religious, and ethnic injustices and frustrations as perceived by individuals especially in countries where national cohesion is fragile. The subject of hate speech has received tremendous scientific attention in research areas such as Anthropology, Sociology, Peace Studies, etc. but has not been adequately studied from a descriptive linguistic point of view, especially as they concern internet trolls in Nigeria and Benin Republic, two neighbouring countries in the West-African sub-region of the African continent. Rooted in the theoretical provisions of descriptive linguistics, we undertake in this study, a comparative discourse analysis of the linguistic features of hate comments by Nigerian and Beninese online commentators on political news items in selected online media. The two languages involved in this study are English and French while the selected online media are Vanguard, Punch and Sahara Reporters in the case of Nigeria, and La Nouvelle Tribune, La Nation and L’Évènement Précis in the case of Benin Republic. Our findings show that linguistic features such as morphological coinages, labelling, high level use of adjectives and adverbs, among others are common among Nigerian and Beninese online hate commentators. These features have implications for national development in both countries.