THE SYNTACTIC EFFECT OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT
This paper explores the treat of the use of social media from the sentence structure perspective in Nigeria. Nigeria as a country of over 191million citizens, having several
indigenous languages but stock to English Language as her lingua franca  is threatened syntactically  by the  surreptitiously faster communication on social media. The governing rules of the formation of sentence have been neglected by Nigerian speakers of English Language.  All languages are in constant  state of change  which can affect multiple  facts including pronunciation, orthography, grammar ,vocabulary, pragmatics ‘ This  change has been instantaneous  in Nigeria  today, having its  genesis from the population of Nigeria, political issues, high rate of literacy and the social media which has become part and parcel of Nigerians (especially youths) spending time constructing ungrammatical sentences neglecting the rule of syntax. This paper has critically highlights the history of Nigeria and its language, syntax defined and the negative impact of social media. This gave birth to the recommendation and conclusion that with regards to English Language the federal government should go back to the drawing board by taking the learning of English with high esteem beginning from the department of mass communication in the universities and polytechnics.
                      Keywords: Nigeria ,Syntax, Social media

INTRODUCTORY BACKGROUND

Nigeria is one of the biggest ‘English-speaking countries in the world today. To say, this course implies including in the list of ‘English-speaking’ countries those that belong to the outer change,  those where English has the function of a ‘second’ language. In Nigeria as in other such countries, English was initially a ‘foreign’ language; it became it became firmly established during the period of British colonial rule: it remains the language generally used for official communication; it is the principal lingua franca used by well-educated Nigerians, especially when they do not have another language in common: it is the language chiefly used  in the education system .especially at higher levels and in the media. It is the principal language of book publication, and of contemporary Nigeria Literature; it is the principal language used by Nigerian on the internet and for international communication

Although Nigeria stands tall in the world basically as the giants of Africa but is a laughing stock in the international community of English Speaking country. Recently it is threatening at the media on the problem the country is facing the media in the  Northwest and the presidency is trying to tackle  the menace.  This news has gone   through all media have been reporting  how the armed forces  are tackling  the armed bandits. If the media can create a word like ‘armed bandits often attacked   travellers. This suggests that the use of ‘bandit’ is needless. It is tautological. and an indication  on how the standard  of English  is fallen in Nigeria.
THE GEOGRAPHICAL, DEMOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL GROUND OF NIGERIA AND ITS LANGUAGE USE
The geographical demographical, distributed background   and language used in Nigeria.

From the outset, some basic geographic and historical facts need to be presented. More substantial information of this kind is found in Falola and Oyeniyi, (2015): in their book of 288 pages of main text, however, only one short paragraph is devoted to the English language
            Nigeria is a large country on the coast of West Africa, shaped roughly like a trapezium (although its politics has tended to be triangular). Its southern-eastern corner lies close to the point dust north equator where the continent begins to bulge westward. Its terrain  resembles that several other maritime countries  in west Africa: dense forest and along  the coast , wooded but more open  land in the north, dry Savannah further  north  still. Two great rivers trisect it, the Niger and Benue, which after their confluence flow together down to the Atlantic Ocean, first branching but into a great delta. Except along the border with Cameroon to the east, Nigeria has no really high mountainous areas.
Nigeria‘s land mass is not the biggest in Africa, but its population undoubtedly by its  claim is not so easy to prove, because several censuses have been carried out over the course of time, the publications of the results has on each occasion been a matter of controversy. The most resent census, carried out in 2006, reported a total of slightly more than 140 million, with males exceeding females by over 3million, According to the United Nations estimate of 2017, the population of Nigeria is nearly 191milion and Nigeria is the seventh largest country in the world. Some other recent figures are that nearly two-thirds of the population is aged 24 or under: life expectancy is 54.4 (WHO, 2017), Nigeria being 177th on the list of 183 counties; 59.6% of the population is literate (UNESCO 2015), However, these figures conceal considerable disparity between one part of Nigeria and another. Moreover the gender breakdown of the quite impressive literacy rate is that while 49.7% of the females are what?
It is also estimated that nearly 50% of Nigeria population lives in towns and cities of which Lagos the former Capital and sill the principal commercial centre, has over11milion people. Other very large cities are Abuja (the present Capital), Kano, Ibadan, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Enugu .
 Nearly all Nigerians are adherents of one of the three main religions Islam, Christianity and Traditional religion Estimates of numbers are again a matter of controversy, especially as censuses have not asked questions about religion.
   At one time, Nigeria had a varied economy based mainly on agriculture but in the 1960s it became a major oil producer while soon lacking the refining capacity to meet its own rapidly expanding needs. In the second decades of the twenty-first century, with the fall in the price of crude oil, this excessive dependence on oil exports has been called to question.
The language use in Nigeria society has an opposite direction to its geographical, demographic, and historical background. Nigeria is multilingual country. However, the arrival of English Language has helped in several ways in solving the complexity since the vast multilingual populace could communicate in English, no matter the level of competence   of each user of the language. Nigeria is the most populated black nation in the world, with over 400 languages and thousands of dialects. Nigeria has six geopolitical  Zones   with 36 states and each zone and state has a complex linguistic structure.
            There  are big cities in each state. These cities harbor many people from different ethnic divides. English  languages become the only interactional language among the vast   and mixed  populace in each of these cities . Then , many sociolinguistic factors determine the use of English in these cities. The issues of  education, status, location and gender determine the use of English in these cities for instance in (Sokoto many factors determine the use of English. The inhabitants  in locations like Sama road, Arkilla, Guiwa low cost and Runjin Sambo, areas are better in the use of standard English  because  the areas encompasses the educated, the rich , the wealthy and influential in Sokoto. Other areas like Yawuri flats and Tamaje and Dambuwa inhabit the middle class ! hence there is the tendency of the use of mixed English Varieties like the standard and Sub-standard forms. In areas like Ahmadu Bello way, Offa  road, Tudun  wada, Kara and old garage e.t.c there is tendency to hear a more sub-standard form  of English than the standard form. it is in these areas that we have common  use of pidgins and creoles develop in some clusters.
                       Sokoto has a very complex linguistic structure. in some areas with large clusters of some ethnic groups, There is the tendency that English will be rarely used as the inhabitants would prefer the use of their mother tongue. For examples, in areas where the Hausa are more in number they would prefer to speak Hausa or fulani instead of English or pidgin. Even though, Sokoto is an Hausa state, there are areas developed and lived in by the Igbos, so Igbo language is widely spoken there than English. The Yoruba communities in sokoto speak Yoruba or pidgin instead of English.
              In a city like Warri in Delta state, the English language use has developed into a kind of creole, because of the complex nature of the place. Warri has over 10 languages like Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Okpe e.t.c and Igbo, Edo, Hausa, Yoruba with the influx of the other ethnic groups as well as some of the European languages with the immigration of Europeans into the city, because of the various oil firms. The use of English language syntactically has degenerated  in the city as the inhabitants have mixed form of English with the native language. Standard English is Rarely   used by the educated populace whenever they are interacting in the public except when they  in their corporate setting. Almost all the tribes in Nigeria live in Warri but their  use of  English  is determined by the linguistic  need in the city
Other cities like Lagos, Calabar, Zaria, Kano, Port Harcourt and Kaduna   amongst other  numerous  cities  in the 36 states have marked complex sociolinguistic make up. The English usage syntactically is determined by the social setting and the cultural environment.
                      SCOPE AND THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SYNTAX
            Along with sleeping, eating and drinking, talking is one of the most common of human activities. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t talk, even to ourselves when we speak, we utter a stream of sound s, with a certain meaning , which our interlocutors can process and understand , provided of course they speak the same language .Apart from  the spoken medium, language also exists in written form.  It then consists of a string of letters which form words, which in turn make up sentences. ‘ In  the opinion  of Finegan(2004), syntax is a part of grammar that governs  the form of ‘strings’ (word structures) by which language users  make statements, ask questions, give directives, and so on. The syntax addresses the structural and functional relationships within a sentence.
If you think about language, you will have realized that whether it is spoken or written it has structure and that is not a hotchpotch of randomly distributed elements. Instead, the linguistics ingredients that language is made up of are arranged in accordance with a set of rules. This set of rules we call the grammar of a language .Grammar is vast domain of inquiry and it will be necessary to limit the paper to a sub domain.  In this paper, we will only be concerned with the part of grammar that concerns itself  with the structure of sentences that  is  called syntax.
         The word ‘’syntax’’ comes originally from Greek and literally means ‘’a putting together’’ or ‘’arrangement’’ According to Tallerrnan (2015) Syntax means ‘sentences construction’ how words group together to make phrases and sentences. Some people also use the term GRAMMAR to mean the  same as syntax, although  most linguists follow the more recent  practices  thereby the grammar  of a language includes all of its organizing   principles information  and about the sound system the form of words, how are adjust language according to  context and so on; syntax is only one part of this grammar.  The term ‘syntax’ is also used to mean the study of the syntactic properties of language. In this sense it’s used in the same way as we use stylistics do mean the study of literary style. Is also the scope of how the classification of words, the structure of phrase and sentences, the different sentences, and the different contributions that language use. All languages have syntax, though that syntax may look tactically different   from that of English it is the aim of this paper to explain how syntax works in English Language
            Speakers manipulate sentence in all sorts of ways because they are trying to convey different meaning.  Syntax allows Speakers to express all the meanings that they need to put across. In  the simplest cases, this might  mean altering  the basic word order of a sentence, to emphasize or town play a particular phrase or ask a question, or else  grouping words together in different ways to notify the meaning. In English the WORD ORDER is pretty fixed. There are three main elements in the sentence;
Ebere drank the tea’
Ebere, the one drinking the tea; drank, the verb which expresses what Ebere did; and the tea, expressing what is being drunk.
It will be grammatically wrong to construct the sentence in the following order :
a.                    Drank Ebere the Tea
b.                   Drank the Tea Ebere
c.                   The Tea Drank Ebere
d.                   The Tea Ebere drank
SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS NEGATIVE EFFECT IN NIGERIA
Social Media according to Wikipedia are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. A  category of sites   that is based on user particular participation and user-generated Content. they include social networking sites like whatsapp, Face book twitter, YouTube, Skype  or my Space, social booking  sites like Delicious Social news, NTA e.t.c. Social media  is also an online technology and practice that people use to share opinions, insight , experiences, and perspective with  one another. Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared the construction of words and Pictures. It is also a software tool that allows groups to generate content and engage in peer-to-peer conversations and exchange of content.
            Nigerians already have their population local language and political   problem to battle with which has affected the rule of grammar as stated earlier. The daily use of social media by Nigerians syntactically affects Nigerians negatively  through the following ways;
1.                  CONTRACTION AND ABBREVIATIONS IN ENGLISH SENTENCE
Words, phrases and sentences are sometimes contracted or abbreviated. A study of the examples below explains better what is meant here.
i.                    I c u – I see you
ii.                  n – and
iii.                lol- laughing out loud
iv.                lmao- laughing my ass out

v.                  pple- people
vi.                no p – no problem
vii.              HBD- Happy Birthday
viii.            bak- back
ix.                SWALK- Sealed with a loving kiss
x.                   PCM- Please call me
xi.                 tnx- thanks
xii.              gdm- good morning
xiii.            ur- your
xiv.            shd- should
xv.              tfy- thunder fire you
xvi.            IMHO- in my humble opinion
xvii.          mbrsd- embarrassed
xviii.        IJN – In Jesus’ Name    

2.                  THE USE OF UNGRAMMATICAL HOMOPHONES
Homophones  refer to sounds that are similar . In communicating  using text message, some  subscribers use homophones in place of  words that sound similar  (these homophones may be single letters).
Below are some  examples
i.                    c-see
ii.                  u- you
iii.                4-for
iv.                2- to, too
v.                  8-ate
vi.                b-be
vii.              d- the
viii.            dis- this
ix.                fone- phone
x.                  fyn- fine
xi.                brb- be right back
xii.              tym- time
3.                  WRONG COMBINATION OF LETTERS AND NUMERALS
Dobrovolsky discuses two types of writing and these are ‘’ logographic’’ and ‘’phonographic. Logographic writing includes Ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform inscriptions; Egyptian hieroglyphics, and primordial Chinese characters were logographic  in their early stages. Conventional abbreviations; like &, %,$,£ as well as symbols for numerals (1,2,3, etc.) are logographic. Arabic numerals which are logographic  can be read in any language.
  Phonographic writing on the other hand has symbols which represent  syllables  and alphabetic. English language  uses  alphabetic  writing  which involves  consonant  and vowel segments.

Some  forms  that  have been found  in text message interactions combine both logographic  forms of writing. Below
i.                    gr8- great
ii.                  b4- before
iii.                2day- today
iv.                2morrow- tomorrow
v.                  9ite- night
vi.                b2b- back to bases
vii.               b4n- before  now
viii.            f2f- face to face
ix.                cul8r-see you later
x.                  pls4givme- please forgive me
4.                  NEGATIVE  IMPACT  ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE 
According to a research carried out by a news agency Newspoll, 99% of teenagers aged 16 to 17 years use social medias and 78 percent of children aged 8-9 visit sites like facebook, young people spend up to 7 hours a day in them. truth be told, a huge number of individuals today don’t speaks to one another without every day visits to interpersonal organizations, draw data from the news sources of Internet destination, convey through remarks from different networks, and so forth.

For the number of hours spend by respondents on social media, item number 3 of the survey questionnaire addressed this. the frequency of internet users spent on average 4-6 hours per day in social media is twenty-three (38.3%); seventeen (28.3%) spent 1-3 hours; sixteen (26.75) spend more than 6 hours on internet for social media. Overall, the largest part of the respondents use social media 4-6 hours per day. According to the results of the survey, it was found out that twenty-three (38.3%) strongly agreed that social media has negative effect on their academic performance. It was revealed on the interview with the respondents that sometimes they do not have time to write  assignment or study because they had long been on social media; seventeen (28.3%) did not face such problem; twelve (20%) answered neutral; and eight (13.3%) revealed that they do not encounter any problem due to social media usage. In terms of positive effect of social media, respondents revealed the following: ten (16.7%) strongly agree of the positive effect; thirty-six (60%) agreed; thirteen (21.7%) claimed to be neutral neither positive nor negative; and one (1.7%) disagreed of the positive effect.
Summing up, it turned out that the internet occupies a specific place in the life of student respondents. Majority of the respondents cannot leave their phone even during the class session. Majority of them performs homework through the internet, watch the series every day, but it does not interfere with their educational process.
RECOMMENDATION
This  paper weaves together the various strands of the negative impact of social media  Syntactically in  Nigeria  which  has  given birth  to the following recommendations which  are hereby offered .
1.       Educated Nigerians should avoid by all means using contractions, abbreviation  when typing . knowing full well that we cannot give what we don’t  have, we cannot construct  grammatical sentences being used to  contraction/Abbreviations
2.       Nigerians should  equally avoid the wrong use of homophones  that the native speakers  of English Language have little or no knowledge  about.
3.       The combination of  letter and numerals should be totally discouraged by academicians. The   educated  ones  should cite example by total abstinence  from this act and discourage those constructing sentences in such a  format
4.       Nigerians should diligently scrutinize what sites their children visit on social media and the time spent. Academicians at the elementary level try   as much as possible to avoid   giving students assignments involving social medias. Spending more time in the internet on the wrong social media will definitely affect students’ academic performance.

5.       National  University commission and National  Board for   Technical Education  of  (NBTE) should  include  more English  Language   courses in the programmes of communications which will  enable those in   mass media, print media  and electronic  media construct grammatical sentences which  social  media user will emulate.

CONCLUSION
Based on the findings, Nigeria a multilingual nation is being affected with   over population high level illiteracy, developing economy among others  which have diverted  her attention   in constructing grammatical sentences.  Social media  though  has its positive impact but is at the fore front diminishing  standard English  as a result of the  time spent by Nigerians doing  the wrong thing Thus, it can be concluded that social media have a dual impact on Nigerians Syntactically achievement and it is necessary    to approach users  of social media with prior grammatical knowledge  beginning  with those at the media houses . In no case, we should not forget about the negative consequence that excessive social infatuation could have.

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