CHAPTER FOUR 4

CHAPTER FOUR

4.0 A SEMIOTIC ANALYSIS OF NON-NATIVE ENGLISH SOCIAL MEDIA INTERACTIONS
4.1 Introduction
In this Chapter of the thesis, we undertake an analysis of signification (communication) strategies deployed in the interactions of non-native English users on Facebook, WhatsApp Yahoo Chat Rooms as observable in the data. Dornyei’s (1995) taxonomy of CS has been adopted as the compass in this analysis while the principles of Semiotics as prescribed by Charles Sanders Peirce whose conceptualisation of icon, index and symbol provides the tool and gateway to the analysis. Roland Barthes’ semiotic concepts of denotation, connotation are also deployed as complementary analytic tools. The analysis focuses on the strategies of written communication by Nigerians and Indians as bona fide non-native users of English.
Dornyei classifies CS into direct, indirect and interactional strategies. These are however subsumed under two, namely Avoidance (Reduction) and Compensatory (Achievement) Strategies. Compensatory strategies offer alternative plans for non-native users to carry out their original communicative goal by manipulating available linguistic resources. Avoidance Strategies are also known as Reduction Strategies and have two subsets: message abandonment and topic avoidance strategies while Compensatory Strategies which are also seen as Achievement Strategies cover, circumlocution, approximation, use of all- purpose words, word coinage, non-linguistic (paralinguistic) signals, literal translation, foreignising, code switching, appeal for help (cooperative strategies) and stalling/ time- gaining strategies.
These strategies, especially the compensatory strategies, can be analysed from a semiotic standpoint since the theoretical approach to the analysis of data for this research is both qualitative and interpretative in orientation. A semiotic analysis focuses on the construal of any system of signs and texts (written or spoken) of communicative essence. The analysis of the elements of signification in the data covers linguistic and non-linguistic representations. Therefore, the analysis would focus on pictorial and textual configurations of the data for this research. The analysis begins with memes, a common feature of non-linguistic and linguistic communication on social media. Internet memes sometimes contain a mixture of humorous imagery with textual information. The textual juxtaposition and sometimes, superimposition of comments on memes is assumed to be of strategic communicative essence, and is viewed as signification or meaning-orienteering strategies.
4.2 Achievement Strategies
Achievement strategies can come under the label of compensatory strategies (see Dornyei’s 1995:28) classifications. The Achievement or Compensatory categorisation provides alternative means for non-native users of a language to manipulate the resources in the target language to enable them to achieve their communicative goal. The disparate nature of the resources in a language makes the users’ right to choose their strategies overly possible, and this can involve the deployment of both verbal and non-verbal mechanisms for the productive communication of information, (Brown 2000:128). Non-native users of English can adopt a wide range of strategies to get meaning across in the course of their communicative interactions. Such CS are achievement-oriented in nature since the attempt is not only to transmit a message by making use of available alternative linguistic and non-linguistic resources but also to elicit responses from people in the virtual community. Dörnyei’s taxonomy combines many strategies from other authors (Kellerman et al., 1987; Tarone, 1977; Faérch ; Kasper, 1983; Bialystok, 1990). Any of the other taxonomies would provide the same explanatory adequacy as that by Dornyei. However, Donyei’s (1995) taxonomy is preferred because of its currency and elaborate nature, when compared with other taxonomies of CS.
One of the achievement strategies deployed by non-native English users on Facebook WhatsApp and Yahoo Chat Rooms is the use of memes and emoticons. This serves as the entry point of data analysis for this research.
4.2.1 Extra-linguistic/Non-linguistic Strategies
This is a process of describing certain concepts or ideas non-verbally or accompanying a verbal strategy with a visual illustration. ‘Memetics’, our term for the study of memes, examines how linguistic, imagistic and humorous representations are blended in shaping public discourse on the Internet. Memes refer to a small unit of culture that is transmitted from person to person and that can be represented as any form of idea that is duplicated. Blackmore (2000: 65) conceives a meme as a concept, behaviour or style of usage that spreads within a culture, through creative imitation. She argues that humans’ uncanny ability to imitate, and to transmit memes, is the distinguishing mark of the human species as memes still remain a powerful force in shaping social realities. A meme, therefore, is a creative adventure that essentially exploits the affordances of imagery, language and parody in a humour-modulated context. Apparently, memes emerge for a wide range of topics of social relevance such as the one that forms the major concern of this research. To this end, therefore, memes are humorous interactive platforms where symbolic and cultural artifacts are created, recreated and circulated by cyber space ‘citizens’ through numerous electronic means for commentaries on social reality. Memes are susceptible to remixes, novel inputs and quick spread among a group of people who share the same virtual space or community (Davison, 2012; Bauckhage, 2011; Dawkins, 1999). Memetics, therefore, is the analysis of the underlying humorous messages projected through memes. The ideas projected sometimes have serious social, political and cultural ramifications. The memes that are analysed in this research cover a wide range of areas such as politics, health, education, religion, relationships and several other areas.

Meme 1

Table 4

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 1 Iconic Signifiers
picture, dress, hat, ring Indexical Signifiers
Facial expression, raised hands, bent head, open mouth Symbolic Signifiers
INEC, colour
Iconic Signifieds
former President
Goodluck Jonathan;
Niger-Deltan, married Indexical Signifieds
Displeasure, anxiety, worry or concern Symbolic Signifieds
Electoral body, election defeat, doom

This meme is drawn from the domain of politics. The analysis of the memes is undertaken from the Peircean semiotic constructs of icon, index and symbol. The concept of theoretical complementarity is also adopted in the analysis of data following Roland Barthes’ (1972) concepts of connotation and denotation to provide elucidation to the data.

Iconic signification
An icon is a relationship between the signifier and the signified or rather between a sign and its object that is based on similarity or some physical resemblance. An icon is a visual representation of something be it a person, place, object, idea, business, group of people, or other noun. Iconicity is the use of an icon to stand for something else; the ability of a visual representation to signify what it stands for. Meme 1 is analysed from the point of iconicity following the obvious features in the meme, namely facial resemblance, dress mode and the wedding ring of the personality portrayed in the meme. The iconic signifiers in the meme above are the picture of the former Nigerian president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, whose mode of dressing also bears an iconic reflection of his Niger-Delta origin. The ring on his finger is equally iconic since it is a pointer to his marital status as a married man.
Indexical signification
The indexical signification in the meme is defined by some sensory features that are directly visible and that imply some causal relationship. The ex-president’s mode of dressing bears an indexical reflection of his Niger-Delta origin. Also, the facial expression, the bent head and the raised hands in the meme are of indexical essence. The expression on the face of the former president is one of displeasure or concern. The bent head, the raised hands and the slightly open nature of the mouth, which point to that fact that the message of the meme was superimposed on the ex-president’s picture, lend credence to the displeasure at the facial level.

Symbolic signification
Symbolic signification is critical for anchoring the meaning of a word without depending on a correlation in space and time; meaning is arbitrarily contrived and depends on conventions. The symbol in the meme is made visible at the lexical level. The word ‘INEC’ is a sign guided by a convention. The meaning of the acronymous lexeme is restricted to the Nigerian context; it stands for the Independent National Electoral Commission, the body responsible for organising and conducting elections in Nigeria. Also, the black colour of the hat /hæt/ is of symbolic contiguity to the inferred heart /h?:t/ from where the displeasure on the face emanates.
One of the properties of iconicity includes not only the narrow categorisation of sound-symbolism but also a similarity or identity of form or structure based on the level of abstraction as well as the salient features of similarity captured through mimicry, analogy, parallelism and metaphors (Hiraga, 1984: 6). The image in Meme1 (e.g. the portrait of the ex- president) achieves similarity by partaking of some of the simple qualities of its object (e.g., the person portrayed). In this case, the relationship that exists between the image and its object is based on a monadic, simple, sensory or mimetic resemblance.
From a semantic viewpoint, the lexeme ‘change’ in the meme has been represented in various ways. The denotative meaning of ‘change’ is to alter, modify or to become different in essence. However, the meaning has some political extension as the slogan of the progressive party in Nigeria (the All Progressives Congress). The connotative meaning of ‘change’ is contrived as metaphors for postponement, a movement in time, some political ideology, demands, delay and self- vindication.
The connotative meaning of words reveals that words can be containers of meanings when the concept of polysemy is evoked at the point of interpretation. The associative or implied meaning of words and utterances is better understood when such are examined at the level beyond the literal.

Meme 2
Table 5

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 2 Iconic Signifiers
pictures; hat; riverine
context; expressions Indexical Signifiers
luggage; backward turn of head Symbolic Signifiers
casual dressing,
colours-blue, black;
paddle; Aso Rock; 2015
Iconic Signifieds
Ex- president
Jonathan; Dame
Patience Jonathan Indexical Signifieds
travelling; regret, disappointment Symbolic Signifieds
unpreparedness;
solidarity; defeat; abandonment doom; power, election year

The semiotic import of Meme 2 is examined from the points of the iconic, indexical and symbolic configuration of the meme. The signification constituents include the pictures of the persona, colour, objects, facial expressions, context and words in the meme. The meme is drawn from the field of politics.

Iconic signification
The meme has the picture of the former Nigerian president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan. His hat and the riverine context bear an iconic reflection of his place of origin. The meme itself is of iconic import since it is used to mimic the exit of the president from power on his way back to his country home. From a lexical point of view, the repeated expressions: ‘Chai! Chai!! Chai!!!’ and ‘There is God o! There is God o!! There is God o!!!’ from the ex-first lady, are iconic in nature since they easily remind Nigerians of some of her expressions. Also, there exists some form of iconic relation between the quantity of form and that of quantity (strength, degree) of meaning in the expressions. Thus, the more form, the more meaning. The iteration, repetition and reduplication of a word or a part of a word can signify plurality, intensity, continuation and several others (Sapir, 1921: 57-81). The iconicity of quantity is underscored by repetition. 2015, as a number, is an iconic signifier of the year two thousand and fifteen.
Indexical signification
The loads of luggage in the canoe are indexical of a journey of defeat back home as the caption of the meme. The riverine context and the self-paddled canoes also support the explanation that the journey is far from the corridors of power. The backward turn of the heads of the persona, especially the nation’s former first lady, is an index of displeasure and a seemingly centrifugal disconnection from the seat of the power.
Symbolic signification
Colour is of importance in semiotic analysis, especially where its existence adds to meaning clarification. Two colours are of interest in this analysis because of their signifying nature in relation to the personalities depicted. The colours are black and blue. Meme 2 has a caption superimposed on a black background. The black is symbolically predictive in nature since it parallels the colour of the black hat that is on the head of the former president and the dark blue head-gear on the ex- first lady’s head. The casual nature of the dressing of the personalities depicted is symbolic. Dame Jonathan’s wrapper, without a blouse, conveys some idea of unpreparedness. Black signifies doom and defeat and the word ‘back’ operationally actuates the projected blackness. The colour blue holds out different meanings for different cultures. Hence, it is subject to different interpretations. The negative symbolism of blue is sadness, depression while the positive meaning is that of calmness, loyalty and security. The feeling of sadness is further predicted through colour projection. Yet, the feeling of loyalty and security which brings calmness in the face of sadness is also implied in the colour prognostication.
Other insignia of symbolic signification in the meme includes the paddles and the expressions from the personae. The self-paddled canoe is a metaphor for abandonment to self by supporters and the canoe and the paddle are objects of the backward movement home in the face of defeat. Since the process of paddling is much slower and enervating than the use of a speed boat, the implication foregrounds the ideology of slowness of action(s) and an indirect way of indicting the persons in the meme as being slow to take actions.
Aso Rock in the expression ‘So we is leave Aso Rock’ is a symbolic metonym since it signifies the nation’s seat of government and power. The word ‘front’ in the expression ‘Pepe, look front make you no jam me abeg!’ is a metaphor for hope ahead. The pronoun ‘we’ in this meme is exclusively used to reference the first family. ‘You’ is used anaphorically to refer to the first lady while the objective case pronoun ‘me’ refers to the former president himself. The symbolic implication of using the objective pronoun instead of the subjective is to predict that he would no longer be in the position of being the enforcer of actions as subject pronouns do in active sentences. Hence, the meme, through the use of lexemes and images is used to predict the president’s loss of power and status. The year 2015 is symbolic in the Nigerian political calendar as an election year.
The word ‘back’ is also polysemous in nature, but in this meme it means the opposite direction from the one in which someone or something was previously facing or travelling. Back is a metaphor for failure retrogressive movement (back home) a psychological projection of regret (looking backward).

Meme 3
Table 6

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 3 Iconic Signifiers
portrait; dressing; hat;
2015 Indexical Signifiers
luggage Symbolic Signifiers
colours- red, green,
white, black; number;
Iconic Signifieds
former President
Goodluck Jonathan;
Niger-Deltan; a
calendar year and
election year Indexical Signifieds
journey Symbolic Signifieds
danger; endurance; peace; doom; Nigeria’s geo-political

Meme 3 is examined from the standpoint of politics and is analysed based on the semiotic import of person, colour, images, context and the superimposed lexemes that ferry the message. The icons, indices and symbols provide the entry point of the analysis of the meme.
Iconic signification
The pictorial representation in the meme is that of the former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. His attire is iconic since it is a reminder of the Niger- Delta traditional dress code. 2015 is an iconic representation of the year two thousand and fifteen.
Indexical signification
The luggage indexes a journey (back home) in the direction of the river bank, with people waiting at the bank. The movement through water is equally indexical since it is a reminder of the president’s country home. The socio-semiotic implication of the movement through water is that the president comes from a riverine area where there are no roads or bridges to make his movement much easier.
Symbolic signification
Numerical signification is also of semiotic concern in this analysis. The date, May 29, (of every year) is symbolic to Nigerians because it marks a watershed in the country’s political history as the day the country returned fully to democratic government after several years of military rule. The number (6) six is also of some significance since it is the number of luggage in the former president’s possession. Six points to the six years of his administration and the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The symbolic accentuation of the message of the six sets of luggage being carried home by the ex-president is that the six geo-political zones had been exploited by his administration.
Colour is also a signature tune of this meme. The colour signifiers are foregrounded by the lexemes that provide the conduit for their meaning devolution. The colours of interest are red, white, green and black. Black, many a time, has a negative connotation of doom, defeat, failure or sometimes death. In this meme, the colour black is used to predict the ex-president’s exit from government, hence an unhappy day for the president and his party. ‘Bayelsa’, the president’s state of origin, is projected in white. The significance of this is that peace and a warm welcome await him at the countryside. The red colour brings text and images to the foreground. The colour is widely used to indicate danger. The phrase ‘Welcome To’ (in red) is a pointer to the imminent danger ahead of the elections and the foregrounded tension in the nation over the 2015 elections. The green colour is emblematic and is used to suggest endurance, freedom and stability. In heraldry, the study and classification of armorial bearings and the tracing of genealogies, green indicates growth and hope. May 29, 2015 on a green background expresses the hope of the people for a better living from that date. Generally speaking, the three colours projected in this meme symbolise the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the president’s political party. The meme, therefore, is a prediction of the party’s defeat at the polls since the president is the personified emblem of his party.

Meme 4
Table 7

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 4 Iconic Signifiers
picture; dressing;
number; ellipsis Indexical Signifiers
wrinkled face; smiling face; hands held together; expression- no school certificate; bad English; sharia Symbolic Signifiers
colour-red, green, blue
Iconic Signifieds
Pres.Buhari; a
northerner; age;
pause Indexical Signifieds
old age; happy; optimism; uneducated; communicative ineptitude; religious Symbolic Signifieds
rage, ambition

Meme 4 is drawn from the field of politics and is analysed based on its conspicuous constituents, namely pictorial projection, words, dressing, number and colours, following the Peircean semiotic elements of iconicity, indexicality and symbolism.
Iconic signification
The pictorial representation in Meme 4 is that of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before his emergence as the president of Nigeria. Of iconic significance is his attire which is a reminder of the traditional dress code of people from the northern part of the Nigeria. 73 is an iconic representation of the number seventy- three.
The ellipsis in the expression, ‘Am I qualify (qualified) to be ur (your) president…?’ is of paralinguistic essence. It indexes a pausing or a wandering off when a person is speaking. The abbreviated title Rt. for ‘retired’ is an iconic sign that runs parallel to ‘tired’ which seems to suggest the idea of out of service because of ‘tiredness’ or old age.
Indexical signification
Of indexical significance is his attire which is a reminder of the traditional dress code of people from the northern part of the Nigeria. The president’s smiling physiognomy is set against the background of a sunken face which is a sign of old age. The age index presents him as an old man who may be incapable of undertaking the onerous job of political leadership. The expression ‘No School Certificate’ indexes his educational status as a man who is not very educated. The issue of no certificate presents him as not living in the reality sphere of modern political dynamics globally since education is a necessary condition for modern leadership. ‘I speak bad English’ indexes his communicative standing as a man who does not have the gift of oratorical eloquence. The expression ‘I believe on (in) Sharia’ is an index of where the president has pitched his religious tent. The word ‘Sharia’ shows that he is a Muslim who believes in the code of law from the Koran and from the teachings and examples of Prophet Mohammed. The mental score card of this meme presents the candidate’s credentials as being not good enough for the exalted position of the presidency. This is the import of the last expression, ‘Am I qualify (qualified) to be ur (your) president…?’
Symbolic signification
The prominent colours in Meme 4 are red, green and blue, and they are of semiotic relevance. Dark green is associated with ambition hence the personality’s name is written in green letters. The colour has both positive and negative connotations. From a positive dimension, the colour suggests stability or intransigence while from a negative angle, it suggests over-ambition. The symbolic projection is that he is an overly ambitious person since the meme is likely from the opposition camp.

The majority of words superimposed on the meme are cast in dark- red (the age, educational qualification, communicative competence, and the position sought). The colour is associated with power, determination as well as passion. The negative connotation signifies rage, malice and wrath. The personality is presented as being vindictive. The blue colour symbolises piety and sincerity. His religious position is couched in blue letters not to highlight the positive aspects of the persona, but to project his religious stance.

Meme 5
Table 8

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 5
Iconic Signifiers
Pictures, number,
symbol, map, APC Indexical Signifiers
FeBuhari Symbolic Signifiers
colour: green, red,
purple, white, black,blue
Iconic Signifieds
President Buhari,
Prof. Osinbajo,
lovers’ day, heart, Nigeria, APC Indexical Signifieds
February 14 Symbolic Signifieds
fertility, love, artificiality,
peace power

Meme 5 holds out a lot of semiotic information woven around images, number and words. These are also of iconic, indexical and symbolic relevance. The field of discourse that informed the selection of this meme is politics.
Iconic signification
The images projected in Meme 5 are those of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The iconicity of quantity and prominence is underscored by the reduplication and superordinate placement of his image as the main focus of the meme. The superscripted 14 is adopted as an iconic representation of the number fourteen, a day in the month of February known as St. Valentine’s Day or lovers’ day.
The image of the heart is iconic in nature since it bears a close resemblance to a human heart. Moreover, the heart which is a sign of love houses two other images that are signifiers, namely the picture of the president and that of the map of Nigeria. Both of these signs are icons. The image of the president is placed as the smallest of the signs and is in the middle of the map of the country, which is foregrounded in the comparatively smaller order of importance and also placed in the middle of the heart symbol which houses them all. The heart is cast in the positive sense of small and is indeed the superlative ‘biggest’ of the images within the heart ambience. The acronym APC is an iconic sign which reminds one of the All Progressives Congress, the ruling political party in Nigeria.
Indexical signification
The major indexical marker in Meme 5 is woven around pronunciation. A particular pronunciation of a word can index a certain geographical region or social group. The lexeme ‘FeBUHARI’ (February) is sometimes pronounced by a group of Nigerians as /febuwari/. Hence, the coinage ‘FeBuhari’ is indexical in the sense that the word is a contrived pronunciation form of the second month of the calendar year, February /febru?ri/, the initially proposed date for the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria. The politically-motivated creation ‘FeBuhari’ alongside the number 14, St. Valentine’s Day, was used to place the president’s candidature in focus as the object of political discourse, even on a day accepted globally as one set aside for lovers.
Symbolic signification
The interplay of colours is of symbolic import in this meme. The colours of semiotic interest in this meme are red, green, purple, white, blue and black. The colour of the heart in the meme is red. Red is associated with energy, determination, passion and love. The colour provides the overriding background for other colour configurations of meaning. Love for the nation is the assumed message of the meme of the image of the heart with the map of the country and the picture of the president. Green is the colour of the map of Nigeria and the complexion of the president. Green is one of the two colours of Nigeria. It symbolises growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. By extension, the colour is a promise to bring growth, harmony and economic recrudescence to the nation.
The coinage ‘FeBuhari’ is styled in purple which combines the stability of blue and the energy of red in its formation. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolises power, nobility, luxury and ambition. It connotes wealth and extravagance. It is also a mark of dignity, independence and mystery. Purple is not a primary colour and a very rare colour in nature. Since the process of getting purple (a secondary colour) is through the combination of two natural or primary colours (red and blue), the colour is often associated with anything artificial. Therefore, the word ‘FeBuhari’ in purple is an artificial creation, a mixture of two different primary colours. This sense of artificiality is made obvious by the mode of dressing in this meme, which is an attempt to conform to the current norm dictated by the ‘formal’ dress code. The semiotic underpinning of the colour analysis presents the president as a mixture of two experiences – the military (red) and civilian (blue) and subtly suggests some limitations to his naturalness and efficiency because of the nature of civilian administration in practice, even though the coinage is written in white.
White always has a positive connotation as the symbol of peace, purity, goodness, and simplicity. White is one of the colours of Nigeria and one of the colours of the APC. The colour provides the background for the heart symbol; the coinage ‘FeBuhari’ is written in white, the name of the president and his vice are also written in white in the meme. The symbolic implication of the colour is the presentation of candidates who would place the love and peace of the nation above self and party interests, thus the expression- ‘For the love of NIGERIA’. Blue is associated with tranquillity and calmness while black is associated with power, formality and fear.

Meme 6
Table 9

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 6
Iconic Signifiers
Dressing, colour,
beret,glasses Indexical Signifiers
Boko Haram,open
Mouth Symbolic Signifiers
Uniform, priestly attire,
Name, flag
Iconic Signifieds
Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo Indexical Signifieds
Pronunciation of
book, talking Symbolic Signifieds
Warefare, destruction,
wickedness, religious,
Nigeria, extremism
Meme 6 is analysed based on the elements of Semiotics that are found therein. These are also examined from the standpoints of iconicity, indexicality and symbolism.
Iconic signification
The imagistic projection of this meme reveals President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The pictorial image of the president is set in the past, the era when he was the military Head of State of Nigeria, in his full military regalia. The President’s dressing is an icon of the dressing outfit of military personnel. On the other hand, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is dressed as a clergyman. His dressing is also iconic since it is an indication of religious stance and the sacerdotal attachment that the dressing carries. The meme tends to point to the solution to the problem of insurgency in Nigeria by suggesting a dosage of team spirit drawn from the synergic combination of physical and spiritual reinforcement.
Indexical signification
The word ‘Boko’ indexes how the Islamic sect in northern Nigeria pronounces the English word ‘book’. The name Boko Haram means Western or non-Islamic education is evil. To the group members, the English word ‘book’ indexes something bad. The open nature of the mouth is indexical of a speaking situation while the presence of the glasses indexes that the wearer has issues with his sight. This situation contrasts with the picture of his running mate who does not have pair of glasses on.
Symbolic signification
The full military outfit of the president presupposes that he is battle ready to deal with the problem of insecurity from the angle of warfare. The religious outfit of the vice President reveals that he is battle ready for a spiritual battle against the insurgent group, Boko Haram. The lexical terms, ‘A General’ and ‘A Pastor’ are of symbolic significance since they point to the high orders of military attainment and spiritual calling.
The name ‘Boko Haram’ is symbolic since it easily reminds people of Islamic extremism, terrorism and the destruction of life and property. It is a name that resonates with every attachment of condemnation to the global concept of pacifism. The flag in the background (green white green) is the symbol of Nigeria. The colours are also of symbolic importance. Green signifies the green vegetation and the richness of the agrarian Nigerian society while the colour white symbolises the relative peace that the nation should enjoy.
Colour signification is further strengthened through the juxtaposition of contrasting elements. The name Boko Haram is cast in red letters and in a mixture of capital and small letters. The initial words begin with capital letters because the noun is a proper noun. However, the contrasting terms are cast in capital letters and therefore made to assume a posture much superior to the projection given to the insurgent group because of their activities which are a danger and threat to society. Consequently, the expressions, “A general’ and ‘A pastor’, cast in black colour, are presented as the right selection in the fight against the terrorist group. Black in the meme is used to predict the doom or utter destruction of the insurgent group.
The issue of lexical parallelism is obvious in the meme. For example, the meme is built around lexical pairs of ‘best team’, ‘Boko Haram’, ‘A General’ and A Pastor’, spiritual and physical’ and the pictures of the two men with contrasting professional features. The ampersand (;) is used as a conjunction and a symbol for ‘and’.

Meme 7
Table 10

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 7
Iconic Signifiers
dressing, colour,
hospital, stethoscope,
drug, map, bed, drip Indexical Signifiers
emaciation,
stethoscope, drip Symbolic Signifiers
APC, flag, umbrella,
Iconic Signifieds
Muhammadu Buhari, Bola Tinubu, Ogbonnaya Onu, Ahmed Shettima, Nigeria, Indexical Signifieds
sickness, diagnosis,
transfusion Symbolic Signifieds
political party,
Nigeria, PDP

Memes 7 and 8 are drawn from the health sector of the nation. The meme are analysed based on the discernible features that make them up. The analysis focuses on the semiotic meanings that are revealed through the iconic, indexical and symbolic validity.

Iconic signification
The images in the meme are those of key political figures in the All Progressives Congress (APC) such as President Muhammadu Buhari, former Senator Bola Tinubu and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu. These men are represented as a team of medical experts. The identifiable images of the politicians mentioned are iconic representations of them. The dressing of the persons represented is also iconic since it is an indicator of the dress code of those in the medical profession. The context of the meme bears an iconic reflection of the physical presence of the objects that typify a hospital, namely drugs, a sick bed, a sick patient and a stethoscope.
The name ‘ASIWAJU’ is iconic. It is the titular epithet of the APC chieftain, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The ellipsis … is iconic since it signifies a breaking off a discontinuation in speech. The drug bottle labeled APC is iconic since it reminds anyone of drugs in bottles and any other type of drug. The repetition of the drug name ‘APC’ is of iconic significance. It underscores the iconicity of quantity since repetition intensifies the meaning of the word. The hospital bed is iconic because of the mental imprint of a place of convalescence it carries with it. The skeleton on the bed with the team of medical doctors is reminiscent of what happens in hospitals when a patient’s case is critical and there are efforts at trying to save such a person. The emaciated skeleton-like representation is iconic since it signifies a critically sick person.
Indexical signification
The presence of many doctors is an index of exigency.The skeleton-like person (the emaciated Nigeria) in hospital is an index of being sick over a period of time. It is also indexes malnutrition, lack of care and abandonment. The hand of one of the doctors holding down a stethoscope on the patient is an index of an on-going diagnosis. The hand holding the point where the flow of the drip is controlled indexes control over the life of the sick patient. The manipulation of the control point determines the survival or not of the patient. The implication of this that the survival of the Nigerian nation is determined by the politicians- turned medical experts who have the solution to heal the ailing nation.
Symbolic signification
The Skeleton is symbolic of a nation that is critically sick and that needs urgent medical attention from the best medical experts. APC is symbolic as the name of the drug that the sick patient (Nigeria) needs to survive and symbolically represents the All Progressive Congress, the ruling political party in Nigeria.
2015 is a representation of the year Two Thousand and Fifteen. The misspelt word ‘UMBLELLA’ parodies ‘Umbrella’ which is a lexical symbol of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which has an umbrella as it party logo. The spelling and pronunciation of the word ‘Umbrella’ can index a particular geographical place of a social group in Nigeria. The misspelt word is a direct indictment on the party’s activities. A map is the bed covering for the patient, and it symbolises Nigeria. The metaphorical projections in this meme are APC is a metaphor for the right political party; APC is metaphor for solution. The umbrella is a metaphor for the PDP and a metaphor for the nation’s problem.

Meme 8

Table 11

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 8
Iconic Signifiers
pictures, dressing,
ebola
Indexical Signifiers
Distance, ebola,
hands over the nose Symbolic Signifiers
raised hands, closed
nostrils, ebola
Iconic Signifieds
a young man, a young lady, a disease Indexical Signifieds
fear, suspicion,
distrust, a virus,
contagious Symbolic Signifieds
recognition, salutation,
death

This meme is also drawn from the health sector. It focuses on the outbreak of the Ebola virus and the concomitant reactions and counter-reactions that trailed the outcome of the virus in Nigeria. The Peircean triadic constructs of icon, index and symbol are explored as the conduits for meaning conduction.

Iconic signification
The two pictorial representations in this meme are those of a young man and a young lady. The ellipsis… is a representation that the expression is incomplete and could also mean that more information is intended than is being conveyed.
Indexical signification
The closed nostrils index suspicion (that the other person is a possible carrier of the virus). The raised hands are a sign of recognition and greeting (this may be partly indexical too) since a raised hand may be a response to a greeting.
Symbolic signification
The Ebola type of greeting is symbolic since it reveals the level of awareness created by the government in the wake of the viral outbreak in Nigeria and the precautionary measures that people adopted in the hope of not contracting the deadly virus. The proximity between the people in the meme is of symbolic essence. It implies that the virus could be contracted through bodily contact. The symbolic essence of the meme is that it exposed the nature of the healthcare sector and put the government on its toes in the face of a national epidemic. However, the prompt response of the government helped in forestalling the calamity.

Meme 9

Table 12

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 9
Iconic Signifiers
portrait, hat, weight,
belt, words Indexical Signifiers
belt, open mouth Symbolic Signifiers
lopsidedness weight,
colour
Iconic Signifieds
former president Goodluck Jonathan, Indexical Signifieds
champion,
bewilderment Symbolic Signifieds
instability, unevenness

Memes 9 and 10 are drawn from social infrastructure, especially electricity. In Meme 9 two power types are mirrored, namely Executive Power and Electricity Power.
Iconic signification
The pictorial representation is iconic since it bears a close resemblance to former President Goodluck Jonathan. The hat is iconic; it is a marked feature of the paraphernalia of the ex-president’s dress code. In this meme, he is portrayed as a weightlifter. Another element of iconicity, especially of quantity, in this meme is the expression from the masses (keep going! keep going!!). The expression is an iconic sign accentuated by lexical repetition as a way of reinforcing their demand.
Indexical signification
The belt is an indexical sign of the former president’s past successes. Since belts are a mark of personal achievements at competitions, the assumption is that he is a champion. However, the lopsided nature of the weight is an index of inability to keep the two major forms of power equal or with a sense of balance. The weight before the lifter tends to be too big for him to lift, hence the lop-sidedness. As a champion, the lifter shows off his belt as evidence of his ability to solve the perennial problems of electricity alongside those of the executive arm of government. The underlying message of the meme seems to suggest that the weightlifter does not have what it takes to solve the two major problems (poor electricity supply and ineffective government) that have bedevilled the nation’s soci-political landscape. Similarly, the memetic portrayal reveals that attention is always paid more to Executive power to the detriment of Electricity power, which is the major concern of the masses.
Symbolic signification
Executive power symbolises the power of the president to use his good offices in administration. Electricity power symbolises the ability of the government to generate and distribute adequate power supply. Executive power is held up while Electricity power is down. The message of the meme is symbolic since it suggests that the power of the executive which is up does not affect in a positive way the electricity power which is down. The struggle to keep the two on par is represented as an onerous task. Another symbolic angle to this meme could also be that electricity power suffers because executive power is always given more priority. The belt is therefore symbolic because it is a mark of failure to balance the two powers.
The expression, ‘Keep going! Keep going !!’ which is cast in an almost invisible form is the cheering from the crowd. This represents the masses who hope that the point of equilibrium will be reached ultimately. The faint nature of the expression from the masses is symbolic. It symbolises the unheard voices of the majority and the illusory nature of their aspirations.

Meme 10
Table 13

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 10
Iconic Signifiers
pole, emoticon,
wires,cloud, Indexical Signifiers
broken pole, sticking
out tongue emoticon, Symbolic Signifiers
Cloud, colours-blue,
yellow, emoticon
Iconic Signifieds
an electric pole, a face, the Nigerian air space Indexical Signifieds
decay, neglect,
challenge, disgust Symbolic Signifieds
unclear, assertiveness,
sunlight

This meme captures how electricity is transmitted and distributed in Nigeria, through high tension cables passed through wooden or concrete poles which hold the conductors in place for the passage of current. The poles provide an intersection point for the directional movement of the electricity cable. Meme 10 is interpreted based on the elements that are visible in their constitution of iconic, indexical and symbolic meaning constructs. The meme is drawn from area of public power supply.
Iconic signification
The presence of loosely hanging cables is reminiscent of the nature of electricity distribution in Nigeria and in some African countries. This contrasts with what exists in advanced countries, where electricity cables are buried underground. The sight of the loosely hanging cables is therefore iconic. The acronym PHCN is iconic in nature since it used to represent the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. The concept of iconicity is also visible in the Nigerian pidgin expression, ‘come cut’, from a phonological point. The transcription of the words /k?m/ and /k?t/ shows some iconic similarities since the property of iconicity also includes the narrow category of sound symbolism. The sounds at the initial, medial and final positions in the words share a lot in common. First, the sound in the initial position in each of the words is a voiceless velar stop sound /k/. The sound in the medial position of each of the words is an open back unrounded lax vowel. The sound in the final position of each of the words is similar in nature since they are both voiced stops. The sound /m/ is a voiced bilabial nasal stop while /t/ is a voiced alveolar stop. The word light /l??t/ also has the feature of a voiced stop sound and the word contains three sounds. The dominating recurrence of the stops, especially the plosives is iconic since it tends to signify the intensity of the challenge ‘come cut light make I see’. More meaning is signalled by the preponderance of a particular form in a given context (Sapir, 1921:57-81).
The word ‘light’ is iconic since it a direct pointer to electricity. The icon on the meme is one that tends to mock the power holding company, the power generating firm in the country. The tongue-sticking out icon is used to show disgust.
Indexical signification
The wires are an index of electricity distribution in Nigeria. The suspended half log is an index of rot and the broken nature of the log shows the long existence of usage, a possible indication of the absence of a maintenance culture. The construction of the words that makes up the meme is indexical of Nigerian Pidgin English expressions. A cluster of verbs of the same class or type is a common feature of Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE). The expression ‘come cut’ has two lexical verbs without a conjunction to separate them (come and cut) to make the actions distinct and different.
Symbolic signification
The broken electricity log suspended in the air is symbolic since it is reminiscent of the rot in the power sector and the absence of a maintenance culture in Nigeria. The untidy nature of the cables shows that the process of electricity distribution in Nigeria is still old-fashioned and largely analogic. The colour of the Nigerian sky is not sky-blue. This could be attributed to the nature of environmental degradation owing to pollution from gas flaring, bush bushing, and the like. The yellow colour is symbolic. It is the colour of sunshine which is the natural source of light. This juxtaposition is instructive. It contrasts with electricity, an artificial source of light. Again, the yellow colour of the icon in the meme symbolises the presence of light; it contrasts with the black colour of the half-broken electricity log. The black colour indicates the absence of light. Consequently, the electricity cables on a broken black pole illustrate a symbolic relationship that characterises power generation and distribution in Nigeria. The message driven by the colour configuration in the meme is that the source of power supply from the sun is more reliable than that produced through artificial means. Perhaps the underlying message is that the Nigerian government and the electricity regulatory body should explore solar energy for an alternative source of power generation in the face of the challenges posed by hydro-power generation.

Meme 11
Meme 14

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 11
Iconic Signifiers
portraits, dressing,
CD pack, bible
covers,bottled water,
apple drink Indexical Signifiers
Street hawking, close
vehicles Symbolic Signifiers
Goods, vehicular
movement
Iconic Signifieds
ex president Goodluck Jonathan, Arc.Namadi Sambo Indexical Signifieds
Unemployment, traffic Symbolic Signifieds
Cheap business, busy
road

This meme is drawn from the social-conomic business situation of most Nigerian cities. The meme is analysed to account for signification processes built around the constructs of iconicity, indexicality and symbolism with the humour focusing on the ex president and his vice president.
Iconic signification
The iconic representations in the meme are those of the former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his former vice, Arc. Namadi Sambo. The other iconic emblems in the meme are the president’s ‘Niger Delta’ hat and the vice-president’s hat which is typical paraphernalia of dressing among the northern Nigerians. The contents of the basket held by the former president are iconic too. They bear a resemblance to bottled water and apple drink (La Casera). The items held by the former vice president, Arc. Namadi Sambo are iconically congruous to CD packets, bible covers and other things. The image of vehicles that are close shows traffic moving slowly.
Indexical signification
The context of the meme is indexical of the social situation of the unemployed Nigerian youths who engage in hawking or street trading as a survival strategy in major cities of the country. The cold bottled water and the apple drinks are indexical of the hot weather conditions in Nigeria. Street hawkers take advantage of the weather and traffic situations to sell their goods to commuters who are often very willing to patronise them because of the long hours spent in traffic in the hot sun. The dressing of the persons in the meme satirically indexes poverty.
Symbolic signification
The meme is emblematic of the problem of unemployment in the Nigeria. It symbolises the pains of the common people who devise several ways to eke out a living for themselves. It is also a subtle reflection of the inability of the government to check the phenomenon of street trading because of the absence of better means of livelihood.

Meme 12
Meme 15

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 12
Iconic Signifiers
Pictures, Indexical Signifiers
Dressing, food basket Symbolic Signifiers
Colour, Okon
Iconic Signifieds
President Buhari, Okon Indexical Signifieds
Pupils, learners, Symbolic Signifieds
assertiveness,
unseriousness

Meme 12 is drawn from the field of education. The meme is analysed from the angles of images, dressing and words that are visible in the meme. The meme evolved in the wake of the controversy concerning the level of education of the political elite.
Iconic Signification
The pictures point to President Muhammadu Buhari with a Nollywood actor and comedian, Okon. Their mode of dressing is emblematic of the way pupils dress for school. The food basket reminds us of children, especially nursery school pupils.
Indexical signification
The picture of the adults in school uniforms is indexical of school children in Nigeria. The adult depicted as children is a quick reminder of the school enrolment age in the country, especially at the secondary and tertiary levels.
Symbolic signification
The meme is a satirical portrayal of the educational qualification of Nigerian leaders. It symbolises that the educational sector suffers because the leadership neglect giving priority to early education. Of symbolic importance also is the subtle suggestion that education has no age limit. The need for adult education is hereby implied in the meme. Also, the juxtaposition of personalities is symbolic. In the make-believe industry, characters can take up different roles. Bringing the president to the level of memetic equilibrium with a comedian is a status reduction strategy and a low grade on the president’s scorecard in the face of his presidential candidature.

Meme 13
Meme 16

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 13
Iconic Signifiers
Picture, name Indexical Signifiers
Dressing Symbolic Signifiers
Horse, colour
Iconic Signifieds
President Buhari Indexical Signifieds
northerner Symbolic Signifieds
Strength, peace

Meme 13 is drawn from the banking sector. The meme is analysed based on the apparent features that foreground it. The features include images, colour and words. The meme is analysed to account for the presence of icons, indices and symbols and how these contribute to the overall meaning of the meme.
Iconic signification
The iconic image is that of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari. The image of the white horse is the trademark of Union Bank, presupposed bank that the president uses for his financial transactions. This logo is iconic in nature.
Indexical signification
The word ‘President’ is a pointer to the picture in the meme. The smile on the president face is an indication that he is happy with the Bank. This is an indexical signifier. However, the fact that pictures and words can be superimposed on a given context is one of the creative strengths of memes.
Symbolic signification
The president’s picture alongside the bank’s logo is symbolic in that it connotes the president’s endorsement of the bank as one of the reliable financial institutions in the country. This endorsement is implied and operationalised through pictorial superimposition. The white horse is a symbol of Union Bank. The whiteness of the horse is a symbol of financial credibility and reliability. The polysemous nature of the word bank has also been exploited in this meme. It is used as the name of a financial institution (Union Bank) and the act of carrying out financial transactions with a financial establishment (to bank- banks).

Meme 14
Meme 17

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 14
Iconic Signifiers
Picture, Indexical Signifiers
Dressing, red cap Symbolic Signifiers
Red, proverb, goat, lion,
grass
Iconic Signifieds
Pete Edochie Indexical Signifieds
South easterner, Chief Symbolic Signifieds
Respect, hidden
message, stubbornness,
strength, food

Meme 14 is taken from the entertainment industry, namely Nollywood. The meme is analysed based on the image, colour and words therein. These form the basis of the meaning projection captured through the semiotic lens of icon, index and symbol.

Iconic signification
The picture in this meme is that of Pete Edochie, a foremost Nollywood actor. The red cap on his head is iconic; it is an easy reminder of the type of cap that men who hold traditional titles in South-eastern part of Nigeria usually wear. The actor’s picture is iconic of the personality who played the role of ‘Okonkwo’ in the screened version of Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart.
Symbolic signification
The expression in Meme 14 is an African proverb. The proverb is ‘When a goat laughs upon hearing that the lion is around, one needs to find out what kind of grass it has been eating.’ Proverbs are symbolic in the African society as communicative ornaments that garb direct meaning. Proverbs communicate more meaning than they seem to express. Therefore, the meaning of a proverb bears resonances of its cultural context. The meaning of the proverb in the meme is that any meek person that challenges a very strong person or that does not show any fear when a strong person confronts him must have a secret that must have emboldened him, which the opponent is unaware of. The goat is a symbol of a weak person, the lion is a symbol of a strong person and the grass signifies the source of strength. The word laughs signals scorn.

Meme 15
Table 18

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 15
Iconic Signifiers
Picture Indexical Signifiers
Dressing, grey hair Symbolic Signifiers
body, money, colours
Iconic Signifieds
Adams Oshomole, Lara Forte Indexical Signifieds
Wedding. old age Symbolic Signifieds
complexion, age,
wealth, white, black

This meme is analysed based on the configuration of images, context, dressing and words that are found therein. The meme centres on relationship even though it is built around a political figure. The institution of marriage is mirrored in the meme to reveal how the semiotic elements can be explored to provide a clearer understanding of the interplay of imagery and humour.

Iconic signification
The pictures in the meme are those of Adams Oshomole, the governor of Edo State and his wife, Lara Forte. The pictures are iconic since they are imagistic representations of the then Edo State first family. This meme is drawn from marriage. The expression ‘oooo’ is iconic. The extra letters add length to the word, signifying that the expression is stretched out when spoken. Shawty is a stage-name and iconic from a phonological point since it is pronounced as ‘shorty’ and it easily reminds the Nigerian youth of the name of a Nigerian hip pop artiste. ‘Shawty’ is a slangy word for a short person.
Indexical signification
The dressing of the couple is indexical because it reveals a wedding context, their wedding. The black colour of the governor’s suit and the white wedding gown worn by his wife index their Christian religion and therefore the Christian wedding. The nature of words in the meme is an index that they are written to be sung. The language of the meme is indexical of Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE) popularly used in hip pop music.
Symbolic Signification
The message of the meme is easy to decode. The body signifies the man’s appearance or age. It is implied in the meme that ‘the body of the governor’, who is apparently older could not have been the reason for the lady’s acceptance of his hand in marriage. The meme states that the money, which represents the governor’s political clout and financial position, is the factor that has made the contractual relationship feasible.

4.2.2 MEMES FROM INDIAN FACEOOK INTERACTIONS

Meme 16
Table 19

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 16
Iconic Signifiers
human, girl, rope Indexical Signifiers
pulled hair, torn dress,
open mouth Symbolic Signifiers
colour, black, white
Iconic Signifieds
a noose, a girl Indexical Signifieds
brutality, force, assault,
scream Symbolic Signifieds
darkness, innocence,
helplessness

The following memes are drawn from the interactions of Indians on Facebook, especially memes that border on one of the major social issues that generated a lot of public outcry in India. Memes were deployed as ways of speaking against the incessant cases of rape in the country. The memes that have been selected basically focus on this social issue, but are not restricted to the issue alone since other areas of social significance and of human interest are indirectly reflected in them. Meme 16 is drawn from the area of social insecurity. The meme is analysed based on the conspicuous features that are represented in it. The features include those of images, colour and words which are accounted for through the icon, index and symbol semiotic trajectories.
Iconic Signification
The iconic elements in this meme are those of a noose for hanging a convicted rapist, a girl being sexually molested and the hands of people who are perpetrating the vice.
Indexical signification
The elements of indexicality are pronounced by the deducible ideas that are created through the actions depicted in the meme. Some of the indexical traces include the pulled hair and the torn dress which signal some form of violence informed by hard pulls, the open nature of the victim’s mouth which indexes a shout or scream and the several hands which depict the number of people who hold the victim in captivity. The number of hands indexes the involvement of a sizable population in the vice. The indexical elements add to present an agonising gang rape scene.
Symbolic Signification
Colour configuration adds to the symbolic constituents of this meme. The colours that are visible are white and black, two contrasting colours. White is the colour of the victim’s dress. It depicts the state of the victim’s innocence and state of helplessness. Black connotes the context of the scene of the crime. It further restates the fact that a lot of socially unacceptable things are carried out under the guise of darkness. From a psychological point, the colour depicts the level of moral depravity of the victim’s captors. By extension it shows the collective effort by a group to continually indulge in social vices.

Meme 17
Table 20

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 17
Iconic Signifiers
images, ring Indexical Signifiers
hand held over face,
stretched hand Symbolic Signifiers
colour, white, orange
Iconic Signifieds
woman, engaged Indexical Signifieds
fear, horror, capture Symbolic Signifieds
innocence, pale,
insensitive, vulgar

Meme 17 is analysed to account for meaning depicted in the image of the meme as they mirror iconic, indexical and symbolic elements of signification. In this meme, the objects of signification include the images, a hand and colours. The meme mirrors the concept of social insecurity.

Iconic signification
The image in the meme is that of a female with a raised hand over her face. Another object in the meme is that of a hand that is stretched towards that frightened lady. Of iconic significance also is the ring on the lady’s finger which suggests her betrothed status.
Indexical signification
One patent mark of indexicality in the meme is the raised hand over the face. This action indexes fear. The imminence of danger or threat before the lady causes her to raise her hand to cover her face in fright. The relationship between cause and effect as a clue to detecting indexicality is underlined by this image. The hand that is stretched towards the frightened lady is the source of her fear. The hand suggests an attempt to grip, capture the intended suspect. The hand therefore indexes horror, insecurity and anything that is inimical to the lady in the meme. The memetic interaction indexes what goes on in the parts of the world where the rights of people are violated with impunity.
Symbolic signification
The element of symbolism in the meme is realisable through the interplay of colours. The colours are white and orange with a hue of yellow. The white colour suggests fear, paleness in the sight of horror and maybe naivety. The orange colour of the hand of the abductor is also of significance. Orange is a secondary colour; it is a blend of yellow and red. The colour has meanings that are positive and negative. The positive meaning is adventurous, energetic, exuberant, youthful, warm and the willingness to embrace new ideas with enjoyment and a sense of exploration. The negative meaning, especially for dark orange, includes deceit and distrust. Orange also stands for frivolity, crass and lack of seriousness or thoughtfulness. Obviously, the connotation of this colour directly aligns with the intention behind the out-stretched hand.

Meme 18
Table 21

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 18
Iconic Signifiers
Word picture Indexical Signifiers
Rape Symbolic Signifiers
Colour-pink; argument
Iconic Signifieds
Human family, members Indexical Signifieds
Immorality, depravity Symbolic Signifieds
Compassion, kindness,
Love

Meme 18 is analysed to account for elements that highlight the semiotic constituents of focus, namely icon, index and symbol. The semiotic evidence of these concepts is provided by the mental pictorial projection of words and contrastive pigmentation. This meme examines the social problem from point of the family as a microcosmic composition of a larger and more complex world.

Iconic signification
The presence of iconicity in the meme is ferried through mental image projection. The words ‘mother’, ‘father’ and ‘brother’ leave an imprint of the family unit on the mind. The words directly evoke the idea of consanguinity and a sort of matching correspondence with the lexical referents.
Indexical signification
The word rape is an index of the perpetrator’s mental disposition. When examined from the point of the relationship between the word and its cause, one can argue that the cause is depravity and the lack of strict moral codes in the country in question. The situation itself is also an index of what goes on in other countries where the issue of rape is taken with levity.
Symbolic signification
Pigmentation is one of the prominent features of this meme, especially the colour pink which provides the basis for the line of argument. Pink is a colour that is often associated with femininity. It has both positive and negative meanings. From a positive perspective, the colour represents care, compassion, kindness and love. From a negative perspective, pink can connote a lack of will-power, a lack of self-reliance and self-assertiveness. The word ‘her’ has been foregrounded by the deliberate use of a particular colour to reflect the natural qualities of the ‘her figure’ in everyone. The colour markedly contrasts with other any other one in the meme and is given some prominence. Another symbolic feature of the meme is the use of argument. It is argued in the meme that everyone has a bit of ‘her’ in them. The import of this is that all the good qualities possessed by the ‘her figure’ is also present in everyone. The implication of the argument is that anyone who violates ‘her’ indirectly destroys himself and the good qualities that make up the person.

Meme 19
Table 22

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 19
Iconic Signifiers
Images, people,
context Indexical Signifiers
Blood stain, folding of
arms, sitting position,
torn dress, hands in the
pocket,bruises Symbolic Signifiers
Brown uniform, colour,
Bollywood
Iconic Signifieds
Woman, blood, policemen, police station, table,book Indexical Signifieds
Attack, rape, aloofness,
disinterest, complaint,
torture, violation Symbolic Signifieds
Indian police, the
entertainment industry

Meme 19 contains meaning-bearing elements that relate to icons, index and symbols. The images reference a woman, a group of policemen in their station, a torn, blood- strained dress and certain forms that are subject to paralinguistic construal. This meme evaluates the social problem of insecurity from the perspective of the reactions of law enforcement agents of the state.

Iconic signification
The identifiable iconic elements in this meme are those that reveal the identities of the images represented in the meme. The images in the meme are those of a lady squatting on the floor, some policemen in their office and a book, with the inscription ‘Bollywood’.
Indexical signification
The presence of blood on the woman’s body suggests that she has been under some attack. The place where the blood is found is a direct indication that she is a victim of rape. The open nature of her mouth in the meme indexes a sign of complaint and anguish over her plight. The attitude of the men in uniform is one that implicates their nonchalant attitude towards the woman’s complaint. This attitude of the security officers depicted in this meme is a reflection of the relationship between the people and the government that should make the protection of life and property a cardinal responsibility. The interaction between the victim and the security indexes the failure of the state at providing some of the basic need of its citizenry of which security is pre-eminent.
Symbolic signification
The word ‘police’ does not only denote the law enforcement agents of a state but also connotes the government that has established it and from where they get their legitimacy. Also, the inscription Bollywood on the book is symbolic; it refers to the name of the entertainment industry in India. The connection, therefore, is that the superior officer, as his rank and sitting position indicate, who is paid by the state to take charge, has abandoned his responsibility for more trivial things. He is more interested in entertainment rather than the situation before him that requires urgent attention. He represents those leaders who do not have anything exemplary to teach their subordinates as his attitude in the meme shows. This meme raises the question of the attitude of people toward neighbourliness and work generally.

Meme 20
Table 23

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 20
Iconic Signifiers
images, objects Indexical Signifiers
Dress, gesture Symbolic Signifiers
Colour-black
Iconic Signifieds
Men, women, motorcycle, brief case, car Indexical Signifieds
Religion, society;
intention Symbolic Signifieds
Unattractive, formality

Meme 19 is analysed to account for iconic, indexical and symbolic elements of signification. The presence of these meaning patterns are sought from the elements that are obvious in the meme and these include images, dressing, paralinguistic feature and colour. This meme highlights the social problem from the angles of culture and public transport.

Iconic signification
Images and objects actuate the iconicity in the meme. The images of people from two divides are visible in this meme. One is a more civilised society than the other. In each of the memetic contexts, a woman is placed in the middle of the discourse to give validity to the centrality of the message that forms the dividing line between the two cultures. In the first culture mirrored in the meme, the lady walks past a group of men who are busy with different forms of engagement, without talking notice of the lady’s presence. In the second case, however, two men on a motorcycle are distracted by a woman who is all covered in a black outfit, signalling her religious stance. In the circumstance of the second culture, the woman whose appearance has been concealed by her mode of dressing is still the object of ‘attractive distraction’. The import of the action of the men in the second culture is a subtle reminder of one of the causes of road accidents. So, the meme indirectly mirrors another social problem and one of the possible causes of it.
Indexical signification
The indexical elements in the meme are revealed through the dressing and the paralinguistic feature of lustful look. The dressing of the woman indexes her religion; she is implicated as a woman in purdah. The dressing also indexes the societies mirrored in the meme as belonging to two different cultural divides. One of them is depicted as being more civilised than the other. The look on the faces of the men on the motorcycle reveals the lustful intention and also mirrors them as unserious people.
Symbolic signification
The colour black is of symbolic essence in this meme. The woman in purdah is clad in black as the men on the other side of the cultural divide. While the black suits make the men look very formal and attractive, the black attire of the woman does not make her attractive. Hence, she is put in purdah to hide her good looks as dictated by her religion. Therefore, the colour, black, suggests a deliberate attempt at obscuring the woman’s attractiveness.

Meme 21

Table 24

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 21
Iconic Signifiers
Children,
plates
Indexical Signifiers
Empty plates, sitting
position, stare Symbolic Signifiers
Plates, mother
Iconic Signifieds
Indian children,
Indexical Signifieds
Hunger, expectations Symbolic Signifieds
Food, caregiver

Meme 21 is drawn from the socio-economic point of poverty in the country. Children, who are always the most affected in this general malaise within society, form the forcus of this meme. The signs represented in the meme are explored to account for meaning configurations that are iconic, indexical and symbolic in nature.
Iconic signification
The iconic features present in this meme are those of the picture of children and plates lying on the floor. The picture of the children shows that they are both males and females as their dressings reveal. With the picture of children in the background, one is easily reminded of the spate of suffering children in all countries of the world and the level of poverty on a global scale in developing countries.
Indexical signification
The indexical markers in the meme are the empty plates, the children’s sitting position, and the staring looks on their faces. The empty plates index the absence of food and therefore underscore the nature of poverty and the concomitant hunger that the children live with on a daily basis. The picture is also indexical of the situation that greets children in war-ravaged countries or situations where, through human actions, the vulnerable in society are not adequately taken care of. The children’s sitting position is also significant. That they are sitting on the ground is a clear indication that there are no seats for them to sit on. It is a pointer to the fact that they are on the street begging for alms and food, a further endorsement of the level of poverty on the domestic front in particular and society in general. The maxim that children should only be seen and not heard is not tenable in this meme since they form the centrality of the meme. The absence of parents or any guide is a proof of their loneliness as mendicant children. The staring looks on their faces is also indicative of their expectations, the hope that food would be provided for them.
Symbolic signification
The plates are symbolic; they represent food as one of the basic human necessities and a basic requirement for the physical, social and mental development of growing children. The meme is symbolic for its sublime interrogation of food security as the bane of developing countries and the corollary of social problems like mendicancy and the likes of it. Though the meme evokes the idea of gratitude through verbal nudging and repetition, the focus is still sustained through filial-matrilineal relationship and functional gastronomic juxtaposition. The filial relationship is subtly suggested through the blending of the lexeme with the image since the image of a lonely child makes the absence of the mother conspicuous. The functions of a mother do not essentially exclude her culinary responsibilities. However, the meme reverberates with the tripod-based argument of child/maternal mortality, motherlessness (others don’t have mothers) and food insecurity (some don’t have food).

Meme 22

Table 25

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 22
Iconic Signifiers
Human, male,
Exclamation
marks Indexical Signifiers
Tear, frown Tear,
Iconic Signifieds
Man, Indexical Signifieds
Crying, sorrow Symbolic Signifieds
Weakness, emotional,

Iconic signification
The image of the meme bears an iconic resemblance to a man. However, the man is presented as one who has a drop of tear in his eye, which is a test of his masculinity. The three exclamation marks where one would have sufficed are iconic; it is used to emphasise the last part of the sentence in the meme which is the conclusion of the argument. Also, a type of iconic relation exists between form and meaning which has been established through repetition. Thus, the more meaning created is predicated on the more form represented.
Indexical signification
The lachrymose face indexes sadness. The tear drop is indexical of crying. The word ‘cry’ indexes pain. The meme, through lexical balancing of the words weak and strong, indexes the paradoxical nature of human existence. It reveals a world of contrasts that does not follow the same principles all the time.
Symbolic signification
The word ‘cry’ is symbolic in this memetic context; it is not a sign of weakness, but of perseverance and strength of character. Time is also symbolic; it is a barometer for measuring personal strengths and weaknesses. The word ‘cry’ is symbolic of weakness and an assumed feminine charactersistic; man who cries is considered effeminate. However, the argument in the meme is that it is not a sign of weakness, but of strength burnished by time.

Meme 23

Table 26

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 23
Iconic Signifiers
Image, context Indexical Signifiers
Foetus, save Symbolic Signifiers
foetus, colour, argument
Iconic Signifieds
Tree, foetus, womb, forest; girl Indexical Signifieds
Pregnancy, growing
life, baby;endangerment Symbolic Signifieds
Life, the green
environment

In Meme 23, the issue of the protection of the girl child is mirrored from the angles of ecology and biology. The signs represented in the meme are those of an arboreal ambience that covers trees and a foetal representation of a growing life inside the womb. The same information is used for indexical and symbolic analysis.
Iconic signification
The elements that contribute to iconic signification in the meme are contrived within an arboreal context. The picture of a tree with a foetus in it forms the centrality of the meme. The image is that of a still life foetal portraiture. Similarly, the presence of some element of iconicity is not lost owing to the relation between the quantity of form and the quantity (strength, degree) of meaning in the repeated forms: Save the girl child, save the human race; save the tree, save the human life. Thus, the more the form, the more meaning itself is given accentuation. In this case, the iconicity of quantity is underscored by the repetition of the forms. The concept of synthetic parallelism which indicates a pattern of adding thoughts to explain or develop an original expression is also visible in the memetic forms. E.g. Save the girl child, save the human race; save the tree, save the human life.
Indexical signification
The foetus is an index of pregnancy and the evidence of a growing life inside a womb. It paints an artistic picture of a stage of life during gestation. The word ‘save’ resonates with the feeling of endangerment. The meme navigates through a method of paired dialectical juxtaposition of ideas in the reinforcement of its thematic stance.
Save the girl child,
save the human race!
save the tree,
save the human life!!

Symbolic signification
This meme focuses on the girl-child; therefore, the image of the foetus symbolises a girl. Other symbolic signifiers are the expressions ‘human race’ and ‘human life’. The phrase, ‘human race’, emphasises the point that there is only one race and that is the human race. Despite notions to the contrary, there is only one human race. The symbolic signature of this meme is further driven through the argument that representative logicality. Here, the girl child represents both the points of entry and exit as far as human procreation is concerned. This notion is suggested by a personified triadic projection in the meme.
First, the tree is personified as a female with reproductive intactness and robustness. This idea is strengthened by the contextual credence provided by the green context. Therefore, the fecundity of the tree and those of the other surrounding ones is implied. Second, the womb-like nature of the tree is reminiscent of an attribute that only female mammals possess – the ability to carry their young ones inside of them. Third, the image in the womb is also a girl child with the same productive capacity as the mother and the tree figure. The meme seems to suggest that the continued existence of the human race is tied to the existence of of the human life, which the foetus represents.
The second line of reasoning in the meme raises the issue of the environment, especially the disappearance of the forest regions due to the felling of trees. The meme argues that trees support human life and anytime the existence of trees is threatened by human activities, human life is affected proportionately.

Meme 24

Table 27

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 24
Iconic Signifiers
Picture, pen,
number, context Indexical Signifiers
Dressing, frown,
grey hair Symbolic Signifiers
Man, pen, Number,
Reasoning, aptitude,
argument
Iconic Signifieds
Man, writing material, office, laboratory Indexical Signifieds
Formality, disapproval,
old Symbolic Signifieds
Teacher, Skills for logical thinking, Skills for employment

The visible elements in this meme are analysed to account for their full composition of the triadic meaning constructs of iconicity, indexicality and symbolism. The focus of this meme is education which is made operationally discursive from the point of the teacher.
Iconic signification
The elements that hold some iconic signification are the picture, pen, number and the context of the meme that tones it. The image is that of a man who is the presumed utterer of the expression superimposed on the image. The assumption is that since the meme is drawn from the field of education the person is an educational instructor, tutor or teacher who is holding a pen. The number 45 is an iconic representation of the word forty and five, the number of subjects which the students are taught in that school. The identifiable objects in the meme help to situate its context as that of an office.
Indexical signification
The man’s dressing is indexical of the formal dress code of people who teach in schools. The frown indexes disapproval. The grey hair is indexical of the number of years in teaching and this might be a pointer to the fact that the personality involved is not just a secondary school teacher but someone at the tertiary level of learning, where many courses are undertaken by students before they are awarded a degree in their chosen disciplines.
Symbolic signification
The man symbolises a teacher; the pen is a writing instrument, reasoning refers to the ability to understand complex verbal information and successfully extract the correct meaning using the concepts found therein; aptitude refers is a constituent of competence and is the innate capacity to effectively carry out some tasks. Aptitude measures a person’s suitability for a given assignment. The meme is used to satirise the activities of people in the educational sector. The teaching of many subjects is symptomatic of beleaguered education curricula which are theory based and overly inapplicable to true life situations. Apparently, the failure of the ivory towers to teach areas that would help the students to understand and meaningfully interpret complex information and areas that could help them to develop their competences is an indirect indictment of the quality of those in the system and also harbingers a bleak future for the youths. The failure on the part of the teacher would is to render the students incompetent, unproductive and unemployable in the long run.

Meme 25

Table 28

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 25
Iconic Signifiers
Picture, beta Indexical Signifiers
Marriage, acting,glasses Symbolic Signifiers
Dad, actor, doctor
Iconic Signifieds
Man, better or the name of the child
Indexical Signifieds
Fatherhood, popularity,
eye defects
Symbolic Signifieds
Family man, diligence responsibility,
unseriousness,

Meme 25 focuses on career choice in the home. The interactions are between a child and a father. The meme is analysed to account for meaning configurations which are ferried through the iconic, indexical and symbolic modus.
Iconic signification
The iconic elements of signification in the meme include the picture of an Indian man, a pair of glasses and a word marked by its unique pronunciation.
Indexical signification
The words that hold indexical meanings in the meme are the word ‘dad’ which indexes fatherhood and marriage. The role of an actor in Bollywood, the entertainment hub of the Indian society, brings about widespread popularity. Hence, the word actor indexes popularity. The pair of glasses indicates that the man has some eyes defects which the pair of glasses is meant to correct.
Symbolic signification
The word ‘dad’ is an informal way a child addresses the father. The informal and conversational nature of the discourse connotes conviviality on the home front between parents and children. The fact that the child is able to openly tell the father about the choice of a career is a pointer to the open nature of communication in the home and the made it possible for the father’s input. The father’s correction, from the point of pronunciation, signals his disapproval of the child’s intended career choice of acting. The father prefers the medical profession which is more dignifying than acting.
4.2.3 MEMES FROM WHATSAPP INTERACTIONS

Meme 26

Table 29

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 26
Iconic Signifiers
Bus, water Indexical Signifiers
Bus, Nwanne, igbatago Symbolic Signifiers
Ticket, red
Iconic Signifieds
Bus Rapid Transport, lagoon Indexical Signifieds
Movement, journey,
Igbo Symbolic Signifieds
Payment, access, danger

This meme is drawn from the transport sector. It is analysed based on the identifiable elements such as colour, context and words.

Iconic signification
The picture of the bus in the meme is iconic; it reminds Lagosians of the Bus Rapid Transmit (BRT) Scheme, the State government’s effort at providing affordable transport for commuters in the State. The context of the new bus that is tagged “Lagoon Bus” is the creative aftermath of the assumed threat from the regent of Lagos to drown in the lagoon, those who did not vote for his candidate in the 2015 gubernatorial election in the State. Again, the bus is packed beside a pool of water. The mental similarity created here is that of the Lagos Lagoon.
Indexical signification
The presence of the bus indexes a movement. Hence, the bus itself is an anticipated type of special bus for the movement of the said group of people for their easy movement around the State from their aquatic habitation. The expression,’Nwanne Igbatago’, is indexical; it represents the Igbo language, a language spoken by people in the South-eastern part of Nigeria. The expression means ‘ comrades have you bought (your ticket)?’
Symbolic signification
The dominant colour of the meme is red. It is an iconic signifier of the danger that flouting the wish of the regent would attract. The word ‘ticket’ is also polysemous in nature. A ticket entitles a passenger entry on a bus. A ticket is a symbol of payment.

Meme 27

Table 30

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 27
Iconic Signifiers
images Indexical Signifiers
folding of the hands, tears Symbolic Signifiers
colour, blue black
Iconic Signifieds
a husband and wife, an emoticon Indexical Signifieds
loss of interest,
aloofness, hilarity Symbolic Signifieds
romance, anger, regret

This meme is drawn from relationship and is analysed based on the prominent features in the meme. The iconic, indexical and symbolic features form the pivot around which meaning is sought in the meme.
Iconic signification
The images in the meme are iconic since they have pictures of a man who represents a husband, a woman who represents a wife and an emoticon or smiley of a laughing face with tears in the eyes. The emoticon is used to represent how funny the discourse is.
Indexical signification
The woman in the meme has her hands folded. The folded hands indexes disappointment or regret. The expression on the husband’s face (the open nature of the mouth) indexes annoyance. The broad-spread nature of the mouth of the smiley indexes excessive laughter, hilarity or derision. The tears on the face index excessive laughter.
Symbolic signification
The colour background of the meme is symbolic. The colour is blue and it symbolises that the context of the discourse is family romance. The exclamation mark ‘!’ in the woman’s utterance is symbolic; it creates an extra force of meaning to show the level of disgust with the relationship while the question mark ‘?’ in the man’s utterance queries the woman’s level of intelligence at decoding the meaning behind his utterance. This underlying message is that in relationships words can assume different dimensions of meanings which may escape an unsuspecting person.

Meme 28
Table 31

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 28
Iconic Signifiers
Images, water
Ambode Indexical Signifiers
Won, raised hand Symbolic Signifiers
river, shop
Iconic Signifieds
Men, women, lagoon guber aspirant, Lagos State Indexical Signifieds
context, jubilation,
surrender Symbolic Signifieds
death, business people

This meme is drawn from the business world even though the refraction of its aquatic context is cast in religious silhouette. The meme was created during the 2015 gubernatorial election in Lagos State following the pronouncement of the Oba of Lagos who was alleged to have threatened to drown people in the lagoon for not supporting his candidate.

Iconic signification
The pictorial evidence of the meme includes those of people in a river. The name Ambode is an iconic sign since it signifies the identity of an important personality, the governor of Lagos State. The riverine context is an icon of a river, probably the Lagos Lagoon. The ellipsis is an iconic sign that shows a trailing off or a discontinuation in speech.
Indexical signification
The raised hands index total surrender or jubilation. The word ‘won’ is an indexical marker; it is activated by the existence of a contest or fight. The win reflected in this meme is political in nature and is a direct reference to the gubernatorial election in Lagos State.
Symbolic signification
The expression ‘come out’ suggests hiding and the word ‘shops’ connotes that the people in the river are business people or traders. The word ‘open’ seems to suggest that the shops had been closed, locked up and abandoned probably because of the fear of being drowned in the lagoon as they were allegedly threatened by the Oba. The religious nature of the aquatic context is validated by the superimposition of the words on the context. The religious activity captured in the meme is a baptism scene for members of the Christian faith. In some dominations of the Christian faith, baptism by immersion is one of the basic tenets. The persons in the meme are representatives of the tribe that was allegedly threatened.

Meme 29
Table 32

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 29
Iconic Signifiers
images Indexical Signifiers
Swollen stomachs, torn
clothes,unkempt,
senators, Symbolic Signifiers
Three children
wardrobe allowance,
colour, people, senate
Iconic Signifieds
Children, Indexical Signifieds
Poverty, lack of proper
Care, the elite Symbolic Signifieds
The three major ethnic groups in Nigeria,poor children,

Meme 29 is drawn from the angle of poverty, social imbalance and inequality. The meme is used to bring to the fore the level of social neglect in the Nigerian society. It is used as a sort of social protest against the ruling class who benefit so much from the collective patrimony to the detriment of the people who elected them in those political positions. The meme is analysed to account for how the triadic semiotic elements intersect in the production of meaning.
Iconic signification
The images in the meme constitute its element of iconicity. The picture of three children in tattered clothes forms the centrality of the meme. No evidence in the meme reveals the gender of the children. The implication of the suppressed gender information is that poverty is a social construct that is not gender-skewed. The picture is a quick reminder of many children in the country who are deprived of clothing, a basic necessity of life.
Indexical signification
A lot of elements in the meme are indexical in meaning. The swollen stomachs, the torn clothes and the children’s dirty nature index their poor background. The concept of social disequilibrium does not only resonate pictorially but also is lexically re-echoed. The word ‘people’ in reference to children is used to represent the general poor populace who suffer in the midst of abundant natural mineral resources in the country.
Symbolic signification
The three children in the meme are emblematic of the three major ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the meme is used to underscore the point that the Nigerian people are wallowing in abject poverty while those who lead them exude in affluence. The lexemes ‘people’ and ‘senators’ exist in an antonymous relationship to reveal the two ends of the social divide occupied by the rich and the poor. Also, the word ‘wardrobe’ visually stands in contrast with the torn clothes on the children’s body. The senators, the people’s representatives and those who should make laws to protect the people, make laws that favour and protect their interests. They take allowances from tax payers’ money to further enrich their already rich wardrobes, without making laws that would protect the poor masses. The symbolic significance of the meme lies in its interrogation of the future of the children, the presumed tomorrow’s leaders and the hope of nature.

Meme 30

Meme 33

PROCESS ICON INDEX SYMBOL
Signify by Resemblance Causality Convention
Examples
in
Meme 30
Iconic Signifiers
Images, building,
crowd, mats,
people, women Indexical Signifiers
Hospital, church, mats, Symbolic Signifiers
People, hospital,
church, mats,
Iconic Signifieds
Church, hospital, worshippers, patients, stadium, mothers Indexical Signifieds
Sickness, religious
activity, lack of beds Symbolic Signifieds
Christianity, patients, aliment,

This meme straddles two social areas, namely religion and health. The meme juxtaposes the flourishing religious sector with the ailing health sector. The meme is used to broach the issue of religiosity in the country and the deplorable state of the healthcare sector. The analysis is undertaken to explicate how the Peircean constructs of icon, index and symbol interweave to establish the meaning infrastructure of the meme. The meme is used to satires societies where there is the proliferation of worship centres and the dearth of medical facilities to tackle the challenges in the health sector.
Iconic signification
The images in the meme are those of a people in a hospital and a stadium that is used for a religious gathering. Other identifiable objects in the meme are mats, women sitting on mats on the ground outside the hospital.
Indexical signification
Meaning the meme does not only reside at the level of denotation but also at the level of connotation. The stadium is a place for physical and sporting activities. However, in the memetic context, it is used as a place of religious worship. Stadium indexes places where spiritual answers to problems are provided. Hospital indexes places where medical solutions are provided to solve ailments. The mat is an index of discomfort because is marks the absence of a mattress on a bed. It is a subtle reminder of some hard surface which also markedly contrasts with a soft one. Lying on the mats on the floor is an indication that there are no bed spaces for the sick patients inside the hospital wards and this is a reflection of the reality that exists in the Nigerian health sector.
Symbolic signification
The women in the meme symbolise the vulnerable that do not have access to medical facilities. The symbolism is further stretched to connote those who are unable to pay their medical bills and are consequently held back to do menial jobs to make up for their inability to pay their medical bills as is common with some Nigerian hospitals. The place of worship represents Christianity and the large number of people signifies the growing population of religious groups in the country. The symbolic significance of this meme lies in its interrogatation of the unfavourable business climate in the country that has contributed to the closure of companies and helped foster the metamorphosis of those places into religious centres. The picture of the stadium filled with people lends credence to the fact that sports facilities are sometimes used for religious activities.

4.2.4 Emoticons and Emojis
One of the accompanying elements in cyber communication is the deployment of images to complement textual insufficiency in the passage of meaning during interpersonal interactions. The permissive nature of online communication allows people to express their emotions by using images that represent their moods or facial expressions. Emoticons which are sometimes referred to as Emojis are symbols that are used in textualised interactions. They were created to allow people to add emotions and tone to their communication if they intend to convey a felling or mood that cannot be fully captured in words. Emoticons are special cyber signs created to reflect emoticons. They are used to compensate for the lack of non-verbal and paralinguistic cues and the drawbacks of online communication (Sukyadi, Setyarini and Junida, 2011:38; Dresner and Herring, 2010:1; Lawson and Leck, 2006).

Scott Elliot Fahlman, professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, introduced the first emoticon used on the Internet on September 19, 1982. He suggested, in his message, the use of the emoticon 🙂 for humorous posts and the use of this emoticon 🙁 for everything else that was not meant to be funny and serious. The emoticon of the frowning face is used today as an indication of anger and sadness. However, a large number of similar signs have developed, and have been listed in dictionaries (Dresner and Herring, 2010:1). Emoticons are a blend of ’emotion’ and ‘icons’ and refer to graphic signs that often accompany textual computer-mediated communication. Emotion refers to the tendency for having special feelings when faced with particular objects in an environment (Sobur, 2003). Icons, on the other hand, are signs whose signifiers take a close resemblance to the things they refer to. According to Peirce, icons are the only means of directly communicating an idea. There are numerous emoticons that convey different meanings; the prototypical facial emoticons are facial emotion icons. Dresner and Herring, (2010:1) note that, ‘Emoticons are construed as indicators of affective states, the purpose of which is to convey non-linguistic information that in face-to-face communication is conveyed through facial expression and other bodily indicators.’ In online written interactions where the paralinguistic cues that naturally aid interactions are missing, emoticons are adopted as replacements for verbal absences. In the data for the research, some of the emoticions and what they represent are discussed in the table below.
Table 34
Extracts Icon Types Signifier Signified
1,5,16, 19, 20,21,25, 27, 36 ,42,45, 46 emoticon of a smiling face with open mouth The sender of the message is in a happy mood.
31, 45 emoticon of a winking face The sender of the message is not happy or is worried.
15 emoticon of a sick face The sender of the message feels sick because of the matter. The matter is disgusting.
34 an image of a raised thumb This shows a sign of approval or agreement
24, 28 an image of a raised hand
The sign shows that the sender of the message does not want to be associated with the issue involved. It is a sign of aloofness.
20 tears of joy The sender of the message is in a state of ecstasy because the funny nature of the discourse
30 —)>
——–)>
;;;——)> Arrows Punctuation marks ( dash, closed bracket)
31 an emoticon of a cool face This emoticon shows that the sender of the message is relaxed and not bothered by anything.
31,43 emoticon of a disappointed face Somewhere between sleepiness and sadness. The sender of the emoticon feels disappointed
46 grin face The emoticon is characterised by turning up the corners of the mouth; usually shows displeasure or anger.
40,43, 50 worried Face The sender of the message is worried about the state of affairs
43 expressionless Face The sender is straightforward
23 tongue out The sender of this message is making a jest, just kidding, being unserious or generally jovial.
Extracts Icon Types Signifier Signified
42 crying face The sender of the message tends to show that s/he is crying
24 ok hand sign The sender of the message has given an approval or
23 open hands This is used to show that the sender of the message does not want to be connected with a thing or someone.
24 clapping hands The sender of this message applauds the comment received.
A lot of icons are available on virtually all social media platforms, namely Facebook, WhatsApp, Yahoo Chat Rooms, Twitter, Skype and other available outlets, and the essence of their addition is to simplify the communication process. This obvious simplification strengthens strategies of communication and attempts to bring written communication in the virtual world, which is often marked by paralinguistic absences, on par with face to face interactions.
4.3 INTER-LINGUAL STRATEGIES
Inter-lingual strategies are linguistic manifestations that are seen to exist between two or more languages in contact. Under this category are borrowing/ code-switching, literal translation and foreignising. Interlingual strategies come under different labels such as ‘Literal Translation’ and ‘Transliteration’ (Dornyei ; Scott 1995b; Tarone, 1977; Faerch ; Kasper, 1983b; Bialystok, 1983; Paribakht 1985) and Transfers, the lebel by the Nijmegan Group. However, Willems (1987) categorises borrowing/code switching, literal transfer and foreignising under interlingual strategies.
4.3.1 Code Switching
This is a process of including L1/L3 words with L1/L3 pronunciation in L2 speech situations; this may involve stretches of discourse ranging from single words to chunks or even complete turns. Examples of code-switching that are found in the data include:
Ext. 1 Heads off to u yaar… jigra chahida e is tra dastep chukan vaste
Ext. 7 some ppl simply comment k “ladkiyo k galti hai”.. zara apne girebaan
mai bhi jahk lo janab- the video is depicting tht , n more to tht “…
This is the real life. Us women face it almost everyday. Women be she in short skirt or burqa, all face it.
Ext. 12 God save us, na people like this dey draw us back! …God is watching!! Nigerians Shine Your Eyes!!

Ext.14 Eku ojo ma. How’s the family ma?

Ext. 16: Obukwanu ikwu ya n’onu bu ime ya. Let’s stop all diz grammar n start doin it.
Ext. 20 I don tire. I had to read it three times to get the semantic implication. O ga o.
Ext. 28 Good morning, folks! Jackie, for your information, fish no dey sleep. …Ekenekwa m unu!
Ext. 28 Hmmmm! On the side of nwanyi ibe m. I will come to you for Use of English
Ext. 31 I take God beg u, jeje for the linguistic reactionary bombardment…
Ext. 31 …well done o. Ikee is on her way. Just exercise some patience. You go chop belleful today.

The extracts above provide clear evidence of different forms of Dornyei’s strategies as encapsulated in language switches (code- switching and code-mixing). Extracts 1 and 7 reveal codes mixes from the English language to a linguistic form which is Indian because the language users and can alternate between the codes with flexible ease. Some of the expression in India are ‘yaar… jigra chahida e is tra dastep chukan vaste’ and ‘ladkiyo k galti hai”.. zara apne girebaan mai bhi jahk lo janab’. Similarly, in Extracts 12, 13,15, 16,18, 23, 26 33, 36, 39,41 there are vestiges of code-mixing and code-switching that oscillate between English and some indigenous Nigerian languages, and pidgin. Examples of codes- mixes with the Nigerian Pidgin English flavour include: ‘…na people like this dey draw us back’; ‘I don tire’; ‘abeg, chop your food…; ‘it is mbuzo’; ‘..are u now a bat, usu?;’fish no dey sleep’; ‘I take God beg u’; and ‘You go chop belleful’ and ‘Make una help me pray say make i make i chop my bet9ja game…. Instances of code mixes that involve the Yoruba language are ‘O ga o’,’jeje’; ‘Ko ye mi o’; and’eku ojo’;and ‘ekale’. Some expression in the Igbo language include:’Ekenekwa m unu’; ‘nwanyi ibe m’; ‘O bukwanu ikwu ya n’onu bu ime ya’; ‘ihe ka nte’, and ‘ndi nne mama’.
4.3.2 Literal Translation
This is a process of transferring literally a lexical item or an idiom, a compound word from L1/L3 to L2. This term comes under different names such as ‘interlingual transfer’ Tarone,1977; Faerch & Kasper, 1983b; Bialystok, 1983; Nijmegan Group and ‘transliteration’ Paribakht 1985. The extracts below provide examples of expressions that evince reflections of transliteration in the data.
Ext. 5: May God shower his choicest blessings and may she be back to her toes.
Ext. 12: God is WATCHING!! Nigerians Shine Your Eyes!!
Ext. 15: is this a bottle of good news about our country? see what nigerians know hw to do best is run their mouth.

Ext. 15: Students of today are nothing to write home about they are busy online so they should blame their parent not government or teacher

Ext. 15 To add salt to injury, most of them are with d latest gadgets (Ipad, expensive phones) diverting their attention from education.

Ext. 15: Students of today are nothing to write home about they are busy online so they should blame their parent not government or teacher

Ext. 20 Ugo and Steve are men with wives
Ext. 21: Must your common jollof rice with a few burnt, non-sorbefacient dodo and two unfertilized eggs, as escorts, be designed to abort one’s appetite?

Ext.22: Have you not heard that the eyes eat before the mouth?
Ext.23: Curiosity kills the cat. If eaten by an unmarried person, the consequences will tarry till the person’s wedding day.

Ext.23: …we who are born of the ocean do not find solace in the rivers.You have announced it youself. Is this a case of giving a dog a bad name….?

Ext. 15: Wrong use of the social media and lack of proper time management is d cause. As u lay ur bed, so u lie on it.

Ext.43: She has nailed her colours to the mast. If na to send us fofo with human face, she go rush do am.

Ext.44: When possible, bite your tongue and compromise.
The concept of literal transfer in the data is made evident by the modifications of idiomatic and proverbial English forms, direct lifting of L2 forms and expressions that bear outright reflections of home-grown usages.
4.3.2.1 Modified English Forms
English expressions such as idioms and proverbs are modified to reveal cultural coalescence and interplay in the following: Extract 5…back on her toes(feet),a bottle (piece) of good news,as u lay (make) ur bed, so u lie on it and to add salt (insult) to injury (Ext. 15). The modifications are occasioned by the replacement of assumed lexical equivalents in the target language.
4.3.2.2 Direct Lifting
Extracts 15, 23 and 43 contain instances of English idioms and proverbs which are directly lifted since the medium of communication is English, and the expressions tend to underline the users understanding of the correct forms. Some examples of directly lifted forms include: curiosity kills the cat… nothing to write home about, nailed her colours to the mast,
4.3.2.3 Home- grown Expressions
These are expressions that bear no direct resemblance to any codified English idiom or proverb, but are used in non-native English situations to communicate meanings that are understandable among people who are defined by the same socio-linguistic perimeter. For example, the expressions ‘Shine Your Eyes’ in Extract 12 and ‘run their mouth’ in Extract 15 are common expressions in Nigeria that cut across different educational divides.While ‘to shine one’s eyes’ is advisory in nature, ‘to run one’s mouth’ is censorious. Some other forms of home-grown expressions include: men with wives, (married men) to abort one’s appetite,( to make one lose one’s appetite) the eyes eat before the mouth (the first impression matters) and we who are born of the ocean do not find solace in the rivers(a highly placed person should not do despicable things).
4.3.3 Foreignising
This is the process of using an L1/L2 word by adjusting it to an L2 phonology (i.e an L2 pronunciation) and/ or morphology. The non-native speaker uses an L1 term that s/he attempts to adapt to the L2 as much as the L1 allows. In this case, the speaker controls two (or more) codes, and transfers one item from one code to the other and then adapts it to the receiving code. This is one example of code control.
Ext. 16: What do you say about our south- south brothers whose names are Igbo names, languages are Igbo language yet refuses to accept their Igboness.
Ext.20: It reveals the entry point of the antique romance with culture and graceful ‘lekparism’ belied by the present craze for foreign materials…..
Ext. 40: I never new my sister don turn Alisonic person in an Madiekestic manner.
The concept of foreignising exists within the purview of lexical delineations. Words are foreignised when elements of two different languages are fused together to yield new lexical realities as the words lekparism, Igboness, Alisonic and Madiekestic have revealed. From the morphological configuration of these words, it is apparent that foreignising is achieved in communication when English affixes, especially suffixes, are added to non-English words.

4.4 INTRALINGUAL STRATEGIES
Intralingual strategies are those that are used within a language and are subsumed under approximation, word coinage, paraphrase, circumlocution and CS (appeal for help) and the use of all-purpose words.
4.4.1 Approximation
This is a process of substituting a single lexical item such as a superordinate or related term which shares semantic features (semantic contiguity)with the target word or structure based on the assumption that the substituted word shares enough semantic features that make correct interpretation possible. ‘Approximation’ means that a non-native language useris able to create an approximate phrase. In Dörnyei’s (1995) words, the person uses ‘an alternative term to express the meaning of the target lexical item as closely as possible’ (56).
Ext. 2: … to those men who criticise this article God bless forgive them in this birth but kindly do make them women in their next birth and allow them to go thru serious phases of a woman’s life…( the italicised word’birth’ shares semantic contiguity with the lexical item ‘generation’).

Ext 2: ya I belief there should be equal rights and opportunities to women and also given by our system but I am totally deteriorating to this article.

Ext. 4: The main problem with Indians that they know things are going wrong even after that women being a victim of lusty bastards further she tolerates the taunt of our Indian society.

Ext. 4: kindly think before u say such things, in India an analysis was done which showed tht raped girls were wearing sarees, suits, burqua, n more importantly a kid of 6 months ws also raped… nw do u say tht she would be wearing exposing clothes .

Ext. 5: Such brave hearts shld be encouraged. Let there be more born like her. I pray for ur speedy recovery.

Ext. 8: Yeah, it’s is clear that you are seriously healthy in mind. Not all males think like you…

Ext.12: the main thing you have to do first is to find out who she loves, because the current game of the world is that a girl can never date one man why she is still a market.

Ext. 18: Vacancy!!! Are you a talented weeper? Do you know how to cry this is an opportunity for you to cry your way into good money….

Ext: 43: Ahhh! Thesy happy wedding anniversary! Where are we meeting for the big chops.

Some of the expressions that have been approximated because of assumed semantic contiguity include birth and deteriorating in Extract 2. In the context of usage, the word ‘birth’ is assumed to share the same meaning as the words ‘generation’ or ‘life’ while the word ‘deteriorating’ in the expression: ‘I am totally deteriorating to this article’ is used as a verb that shows how disgusting the article is to the person. In Extract 4, the word ‘lusty’, which means healthy and strong has been substituted for ‘lustful’ that aptly modifies the noun ‘bastard’ which already has a negative attachment. Also, in this extract, the word ‘exposing’ is substituted with ‘revealing’ which is a more appropriate term for modifying the word- clothes. In Extract 5, the word ‘born’ used in the expression, ‘Let there be more born like her’, is assumed to be interchangeable with ‘children’ in the Indian Facebook interaction, hence the use of the term.

In Extract 8, the phrase ‘healthy in mind’ is used as a substitute for ‘reasonable’ since the next sentence implicates the phrase as something that relates to a line of thinking. In Extract 12, the word ‘market’ in the expression ‘…why (while) she is still a market’ is used a replacement for ‘product’. This case underscores the point that in Nigeria the word ‘market’ can refer to the place where a transaction takes place and goods or products involved in the transaction. In Extract 43 the word ‘chop’, a West African type of English is deployed as a hyponym for food. In Extract 18, the word ‘weeper’ is substituted for ‘mourner’. The reason for this substitution is perhaps because mourning is a hyponym of weeping. In sum, lexical transposition, a common feature of non-native English approximation strategy, is predicated on the concept of semantic contiguity, and can be subsumed under meaning replacement as a functional reduction strategy.
4.4.2 Word Coinage
This is a process of creating a non- existing L2 word by applying a supposed L2 rule to an existing L2 word. This process is morphological in nature. Examples of word coinage exist in the following extracts:
Ext. 8: Girl rape are killness

Ext. 12: ok that’s cool its really commendable the toutish party full of miscreants…
Ext. 15: @Tochi eagle Isreal: that was a teacher. Now hear the junior minister for education:- ” I was at Rivers state and I shedded tears. Hmmmm?
Ext. 22: @ Nwakego you and your ‘unsumptious’ and ‘diappetising’ dish again?
Ext. 23: @Nwakego abeg, no drag me into ur witchdom. You are ruining my rep.
Ext. 23: Jackie, you now have a witchy reputation. Congrats!
Ext. 26: Abeg, enjoy a beautiful night rest. You deserve it elephantly.
Ext. 26: Hahaha Nighttttt I would have preferred hippotampusly. Funny you
Ext. 33: Stoppage of the importage of rice 4 2 yrs. Wot do you think frnds
Ext. 42: I studied womanology from heaven @ Ann

The above extracts contain many instances of word coinage as a communication strategy. The process involves the deployment of one of the morphological imperatives, namely affixation. The following lexemes have been inflected morphologically through prefixation and suffixation as contained in Extracts 8 killness; 12 toutish; 15 shedded; 22 unsumptious & diappetising; 23 witchdom & witchy; 26 elephantly & hippotamously; 33 importage, and 42 womanology.
4.4.3 Circumlocution
This is a process of exemplifying, illustrating or describing the properties of the target object or action instead of using the appropriate item in the target language. Circumlocution also means to go round an issue in an indirect manner. As a communication strategy, it is made obvious in the extracts through description and exemplification as seen in the following extracts :
Ext. 4 : Above all, its just an excuse that rapist give, reason for rape is only rape, u dont gt a right to rape a girl at any situation
4.4.4 Exemplification
This is the process of providing evidence through examples to lend credence to one’s communicative effort. Exemplification helps to provide illustration and amplification to issues raised in interactions. Examples of this strategy abound in the data as seen in the extracts below:

EXT. 4: kindly think before u say such things, in India an analysis was done which showed tht raped girls were wearing sarees,suits,burqua…

Ext. 6: Indian Politicians, Judiciary men, Police Officials ; Media guys all r against death penalty 4 rape. Clearly, they all r rapists. Justice Ganguly, Tejpal etc r clear examples.

Ext. 15: … Let d studnt go back to d library nd stop being in d’studio'(viewing centre, cinemas etc)

Ext. 15: To be sincere with everyone, Immorality, sexual relationship, social network, fashion, smoking among others is d reason 4 d mass failure of WAEC.
Ext. 15: Instead of reading their books, they are busy on 2go, facebook, BBM, whatsapp, gossip news, etc. To add salt to injury, most of them are with d latest gadgets (Ipad, expensive phones) diverting their attention from education.

Ext. 31: Pls I want to use this medium, media, avenue, commonplace whatever to invite you all to my house tomorrow after service for a special get together.

Ext. 36: Why do Nigerians like saying things twice e.g. magomago, crycry, follofollo,yanmayanma, puffpuff, chinchin, kulikuli, wakawaka, moimoi, jedijedi, sharpsharp, See as u dey laflaf ; I know u will resend dis 2 somebody: copycopy…I beg bye by

4.5 Co-operative Strategies

Co-operative strategies are efforts brought into interactive contexts to ensure that communication flow is smooth. They are strategic lubricants adopted in communication to sustain social interactions. Some cooperative strategies in the data include the following:

4.5.1 Direct Appeal for help
This is the process of turning to other people in a communicative event for help or assistance by asking explicit questions concerning a gap in one’s L2 knowledge. Some of the examples include:
Ext: 9: pls 4 dos of us dat r just going 4 registration are we going 2 b given permanent voters card immediately or after 4yrs
Ext. 11: For me oo I will vote but how can I transfer my voter card from Lagos state to ogun state, pls i need to know becos I am now living in Ogun state now
Ext. 26: Hellooo, please for those that speak Igbo, what’s the English word for the term ‘iji- ofo’?
Ext. 24: Good morning, folks! Please, which side of the bed is the wrong one? I don’t know where to place it when I hear people say, He got up on the wrong side of the bed’
Ext. 33: Stoppage of the importage of rice 4 2 yrs. Wot do you think frnds
Ext. 38: morning guys …. What’s new?

4.5.2 Politeness Strategies
When people adopt positive politeness strategies, they seek to establish positive relationships with other people and try to respect their needs. They strive to be liked and understood by others. Our data reveals the following positive politeness strategies: solidarity and in-group identity markers, compliments, showing concern and interest and greetings. This strategy is used to express approval of the person’s personality and positive self-image. This is used to make the other person in the communicative exchange feel that a special bond is in existence. In the following extracts, the italicised words in extracts 21,
This will serve as wonderful brunch to my peeps; 28, folks! Angel, for your information, fish no dey sleep; 29…folks! Please, which side of the bed is the wrong one?; 32, Hello guys good …, i believe your night was splendid; 34, My bank sent me a message today like this: Dear Annette or whatever your name is…; 35,….my darling acolytes members. I am proud of u all; hello broada frm anoda mother; 37, my dear, there shall be lectures. All these expressions in the data show friendliness and have an overall aim of putting the other participants at ease.
4.5.3 Compliments
This strategy serves to put people who are engaged in a communicative event at ease and to make them feel good. Compliments are also remarks that express praise and admiration. This is seen in the following:
Ext. 1: many good wishes for a beautiful married life ahead…
Ext. 8: Yeah, it’s is clear that you are seriously healthy in mind. Not all males think like you…
Ext.20: Wonderful people, all of you. You’ve made my afternoon.
Ext. 22: You are a wonderful person.
Ext.25: Correct woman! You be original. I like this shot
Ext.27: My darling sister, I am alright, many thanks!

4.5.4 Showing Concern and Interest
The aim of this strategy isto show other participants in a communicative event that their interest and well-being are of great essence and always given serious consideration. This strategy is also adopted to put them at ease. In showing concern and interest, people are willing to offer some form of assistance if the need arises. Examples of concern and interest are seen in the following:

Ext. 5: get well soon hero .may god bless you …
I pray for ur speedy recovery. God bless u.
and may she be back to her toes.
Ext. 27bit: How are u Ugo? Am happy for U
,, U deserve it and many more. I beg to retire to bed. Have a wonderful night rest
,, The Lord who saw us through will make your day go like a song.
4.5.5 Greetings
Greetings constitute an important means of showing positive politeness. Through them, people involved in an interaction express regards for others. The primary function of this strategy is to effectuate a series of acts as evident in the use of the phrase ‘good morning’, good afternoon ma, good evening sir. From the above, it is apparent that greetings, as a politeness strategy, are used not only for attracting a hearer’s attention, but also for lubricating harmonious social interactions. In the Nigerian culture, it is customary for younger persons and subordinates to initiate greetings, and in a context between equals, either party could greet first. On social media, people also consider the issue of face and make conscious effort to give people their deserved respect.
4.5.6 Negative Politeness (Deference)
Deference is often communicated by honorifics such as ‘sir’, ‘madam’, ‘Your Excellency’. In Nigeria, it is considered polite to use terms like ‘daddy’, ‘mummy’, ‘brother’ ‘auntie’, ‘pastor’, “chief,” “prof,” and “doctor”, and the like when addressing a superior by age or to acknowledge another person’s professional or social status. Our data reveals many instances of the use of such deference markers as politeness strategies.
Ext. 13 Happy Birthday to my beautiful mom…
Ext. 14: Good afternoon ma! It’s always good to hear from you ma. Eku ojo ma. How’s the family ma?
Ext. 24: thanks so much for your impact on us sir….
Ext. 43: Sir, did you say a new baby?
,, how was Ur day sir
u r an epitome of humility sir. I had a swell day sir, it was less stressful…
Ext.45: sir I sight you b4 now..
gud evening sir, mr Melingho gud to have u back
4.5.7 Begging or Requesting
By ‘begging for permission’, a person can communicate reluctance to impinge on another’s negative face, thereby partially redressing the impingement. This strategy is often used in order to avoid a direct attack on a person’s comments which might be considered impolite. Usually, the presence of certain lexical elements can give such expressions some positive outlook as the examples in the data reveal:
Ext. 4: kindly think before u say such things…
Ext. 7 : …so plz have some maturity.
Ext. 20 …Permission to take cover.
…I beg to retire to bed.
Ext.32 …Please i need these favour, interested people should show interest by commenting positively. Thanks. Please Oooooooo
Imploring all members of acolyte to help our brother to purchase dis product…
Ext. 38: Can you slap (take a snapshot of) it and send it pls?
Ext.40: pls I need someone to explain what ‘total recurring cost’ mean. Pls help d less privileged
Ext.41: dia z a costing accounting lecture going on upstairs beside shemistry class. Plz inform every1

4.5.8 Indirections
As a communication strategy, indirectness is found in everyday interactions. Srinarawat (2005:176) stresses that it can be used to perform different functions that include: giving hints, avoiding confrontation, joking, being ironic or expressing politeness by saving the face of either speaker. The most common form of indirection is the use of the interrogative, which is a term used in grammar to refer to features that form questions. Indirect questions are subordinate expressions used within sentences to refer to a question (as opposed to direct questions, which are interrogative sentences).
Meme 4: am I qualify to be ur president…?
Meme 7: Asiwaju, any pulse ?…
Ext. 4: Nw do u say tht she would be wearing exposing clothes

Ext. 12: so you want to do backyard run? …
For rigging to take place?

Ext. 21: Must your common jollof rice with a few burnt, non-sorbefacient dodo and two unfertilized eggs, as escorts, be designed to abort one’s appetite?

Ext.21: @ Nwakego you and your ‘unsumptious’ and ‘diappetising’ dishes again? Hmm! Have you not heard that the eyes eat before the mouth?
Ext 23: do you know the taboo surrounding the consumption of the cricket?
I don’t know if we still have this species left anywhere again?

Does she remember how the mbuzo tastes?

In the above extracts, the participants in the interactions adopted the strategy of indirection by using interrogatives instead of the more direct wh- questions. The strategy of indirection was used to achieve different acts, especially that of being ironic. In this case, words were used to humorously express the direct opposite of the literal meaning of their expressions. The use of irony is visible in the contrived Meme 4 where the presidential aspirant, who actually wanted to be president, presented certain negative information that could jeopardise one’s presidential ambition. Despite the negative information, he still felt he was qualified to be president. Therefore, the use of the indirect question was a statement of the opposite of what he intended. Also, the textual elements in Meme 7 and extract 4 are predicated on a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect, on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual or a group, here, a political opponent. The other indirect interrogatives provide hints on certain states of affairs.
4.6 AVOIDANCE (REDUCTION) STRATEGIES
Avoidance strategies are of two types following Dornyei’s taxonomy. These are message abandonment and topic avoidance. While the former refers to the act of leaving a message unfinished because of language difficulties, the latter refers to act of avoiding topic or concepts that pose problems in the course of communication. Non-native users of English communicate by adopting ‘reduced’ systems which dwell on old rules they had learnt. In order to avoid producing non-fluent or incorrect utterances, they manipulate the insufficiently learnt rules. When a second language user of a language interacts with a native speaker, the native speaker may decide to simplify the version of what exists in the L1 system in order to operate at a receptive language of communication to help the non-native user, especially at the learning stage. Therefore, reduction strategies play an important role in the communication process. The formal reduction strategies are categorised under the formal (phonological, morphological, syntactic and lexical) and the functional (message abandonment, message replacement and topic avoidance.

4.6.1 Formal Reduction Strategies
4.6.1.1 Phonology
At the phonological level, non-native users of English on social media platforms communicate with others using a reduced phonological system. This phonological reduction result in consonant clustering, phonemic representation, alphanumeric combination, vowel and consonant deletion.
4.6.1.2 Consonant Cluster

Consonant cluster refers to the combination of several consonant letters, and these clustered letters are used to represent full lexical items. Awonusi (2004: 53) makes the point that the use of abbreviated spellings is a response strategy and one of the palpable evidence of his application of the law of energetics. He categorises abbreviated spellings into two total abbreviation for short word and partial abbreviation for long words. Some of the examples in the data include:
Orthography Full words
tht that extract 4
ws was extract 4
nw now extract 4
shld should extract 5
pls please extract 9
gv government extract 9
dts (that’s),
stp (stop),
lyk (like),
tym (time) extract 10
sch school extract 38
ryt (right)
myt (might) extracts 37, 45

The way the following words are spelt shows a complete deletion of the vowels of the words, thus evinces the fact that the consonants provide words with their ‘skeletal’ frame. This spelling pattern shows that consonant clusters are meaningful among those who are familiar with this set of communicative methods of writing. One reason for this pattern of spelling is no longer because of space constraint but for convenience, speed and simplicity of communication.
4.6.1.3 Phonetic orthography

Phonetic orthography is an attempt to represent in spelling, the way words are pronounced. Awonusi (2004: 51) states that phonetic representation is similar to one feature of the telegraphic code which allows the exploitation of diagraphia or pronunciation spelling. Some of the words where this feature is observed include:
Phonetic Representation Lexical items
Galz girls extract 7
thru through extract 2
kuck cook extract 20
enof enough extract 25
fud food extract 33
gud good extract 35
kul cool extract 42
The examples above reveal attempts at writing words the way they are transcribed phonemically. Some of the words point directly to the etymology of the words and what transcription patterns they followed before this present time. For example, the attempted phonemic realisations, without their diacritic marks, show that some of them should be transcribed as food /fu:d/, good/gud/, cool /ku:l/, cook /kuk/, boy /b?i/, through /?ru:/ enough/In?f/, and an attempt at producing the correct allormorph of the /s/ morpheme/z/ in the word girls /g?:lz/.

4.6.1.4 Alphanumeric Orthography

Alphanumeric orthography refers to the combination of letters of the English alphabet and
numbers to represent a lexical word or item in the language. Some of the combinations found in the data include:
Text orthography Standard
2gether together extract 10
bat3 battery extract 24
every1 everyone extract 39
b4 before extract 43
any1 anyone extract 41

It is obvious that in alphanumeric orthography words are spelt as they are perceived and perhaps in the attempt to simplify communication, non-native English users deploy this combination strategy. A word like ‘before’ which is orthographically represented as ‘b4’ shows that the employment of alphanumeric orthography is overly economical and to a large extent resembles clipping, a minor type of word formation process in English.
4.6.1.5 Numeric Orthography
Numeric orthography differs from alphanumeric orthography because only numbers are used in representing lexical items as they are aurally perceived and spoken. The following are contained in the text.

Number Lexical Representation
1 one ext. 18, 33
2 to, two ext. 9, 30, 32.33,36,42
4 for, four ext. 9, 15,19,33,41
Numerical orthography is an example of total collapsing of letters to give a new form. It is also another variant of word economy. Numbers take less space and because of the fast nature of interactions on the electronic interface, people rely on collapsing words and replacing with a single word. The interesting dimension to all of these is that amongst citizens of the cyber world, these reductions are easily understood and do not hamper the flow of communication.
4.6.1.6 Uni- alphabetic Orthography
The prefix- ‘uni’ means one and in the data some words have been replaced with one letter to represent one word or lexical item. The following examples are found in the data:
Lexical item Representation
And n ext 1
You u ext 1, 18, 20
Are r ext 6, 9, 10
Be b ext 9
The d ext 10, 15
See c ext 10

The examples above reveal that words which are uni-alphabetically represented are usually two and three letter words, and phonologically one syllable words. The dental fricative ‘th’ found in the definite article ‘the’/ði:/ has been approximated to the nearest sound /d/ found in the sound inventory of the non-native users of English. These examples show a case of spelling words the way they are pronounced (spelling-pronunciation).
4.6.2 Morphology
In lexical morphology, a wide range of morphological operations occur in the formation of lexical bases more than are encountered in inflectional morphology. The processes of word formation in English can be divided into the major and minor processes. The most important processes or operations are affixation, compounding and conversion, and these are the areas of concern in this research. The others, which are relatively minor and small-scale include clipping, reduplication, blending, back formation, acronymy and others are not analysis are presented this analysis.
The case at the morphological level is similar to that at the phonological level. In most communicative situations, grammatical morphemes are generally in particular linguistic contexts. That is to say, in the case of morphological reduction, an item has often to be compensated for by the application of various achievement strategies, normally by replacing the avoided morphological item with syntactic or lexical items. Nevertheless, even if grammatical morphemes are normally indispensable components of a sentence, they are frequently semantically redundant. When in a real communicative case, learners may prevent from using some of these unnecessary features.
4.6.2.1 Affixation
Affixation is one of the major morphological imperatives. This process involves prefixation, suffixation (and sometimes infixation in some languages other than English). Affixes are formed by adding meaning-bearing elements to the base of words. There are two types of affixes: inflectional and derivational affixes. Inflectional affixes are added to a base or root word to express a syntactic function without changing the word class. Such affixes that come before the root or base word are known as prefixes. Some examples of inflectional affixes in the data include:Ext. 10 underdevelop, unfortunate, Ext. 23 extraordinary. Ext. 15 malpractise, Ext. 37 submission, Ext.39 enlongated.
Derivational affixes, on the other hand, are those that change the word classes of the root or base words when they are added to such words. Some examples of derivational affixes in the data include: Ext.21 ambrosian, connoisseurised, Ext.31 bombardment, Ext. 17 relationship, Ext. 43 reasonable , Ext, 43 worshippers, consultants Ext.19 achievement
4.6.2.2 Compounding
Perhaps the most productive type of word formation in English is the process of compounding, which yields both root and synthetic compounds. Root compounds are those compounds whose second stem is not derived from verbs. Usually, in both of the compounds the first stem is non-referential in interpretation while the second stem constitutes the semantic head of the compounds. Root compounds are those compounds whose second stem is not a verb. The following compounds in the data for this study constitute root compounds: {crime dept head}crime + dept + head (EXT. 6),{lifeblood} life + blood, {lawmakers}law + makers (Ext.12),{meaning discernment} meaning + discernment (Ext. 13), {jollof rice} jollof + rice, {groundnuts} ground + nuts, breakfast {break + fast} (Exts 14),{month mate}, month + mate (Ext. 17),{handbag}hand+ bag(Ext. 21),{ember months}ember + months(Ext. 22),
(prayer request) Prayer + request (Ext. 24),{government regulations}government + regulations(Ext. 28),{bank account} bank + account (Ext. 29),{exam malpractise}exam malpractise and{facebook} face+ book(Ext. 31),{deadline} dead + line (Ext.34), {wedding anniversary} wedding + anniversary (Ext.43),{fuel scarcity}fuel + scarcity (Ext. 47)
Conversely, synthetic compounds have a second stem which is derived from a verb. Compounds of this type cannot be formed from ditransitive verbs, i.e verbs that able to take both a direct and an indirect object. Examples of synthetic compounds in the data include: {Blindfolded}blind+ folded (Ext.10),{gate keeper} gate + keeper(Ext. 43),{down-pour} down + pour, {cricket choppers} cricket + choppers (Ext. 48)and{power supply} power + supply (Ext. 52).
4.6.3 Syntax
Syntax refers to the study of the rules whereby words or other elements of sentence structure such as phrases and expressions are combined to form grammatical sentences. In linguistics, it is the study that deals with the grammatical arrangement of words or morphemes in the sentences of a language in general. Non-native users of English on social media follow certain patterns in structuring their expressions. The structuring of their expressions leaves textual traces that can be accounted for from a syntactic point of analysis. In this aspect of the analysis, the linguistic constituents of the memes are analysed to reveal the structural and functional nature of the expressions superimposed on the images used in non-native English interaction on social media. The following examples exist in the data:
Table 35
S/N FACEBOOK EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
1 Meme 1:
You people have been shouting ‘change’, and INEC changes the election date what else do you want? Compound + simple declarative + declarative + interrogative
2 Meme 2:
You must go Back to Otueke in 2015. Chaii, chaii, chaii, so we is leave Aso Rock? There is God o! simple + simple + simple interrogative + exclamatory
3 Meme 3:
You must goBack to Bayelsa on 29th May, 2015 simple declarative/imperative
4 Meme 4:
I am Rt. Major general M.Buhari ,I am 73 yrs, I have no certificate, i speak bad english. I believe on sharia . Am i qualify to be ur president…? simple+ simple+ simple+ simple+ simple declarative + interrogative
5 Meme 5:
fubuhari 14 is for the love of nigeria. Vote buhari/ osinbajo simple + simple imperative
S/N FACEBOOK EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
6 Meme 6:
the best thing against Boko Haram: a general and a pastor for physical and spiritual fight. fragment declarative
7 Meme7:
Asiwaju, any pulse ?… He will be ok 2015, he is suffering from umblella simple + simple +simple interrogative + declarative+ declarative
8 Meme10:
PHCN, come cut light make i see simple imperative
9 Meme12:
Who talk say i no go school? Okon is my witness. simple + simple interrogative+ declarative
10 Meme 13:
Even the president banks with us. What’s your excuse? simple + simple declarative+ interrogative

Table 35 reveals that the structures of a lot of expressions are simple sentences which equally yield different functions such as the declarative, interrogative and imperative. The table also reveals that some of the expressions of non-native users of English on the platforms of the investigated social media platforms are laden with syntactic infractions which are informed by absence of an operational verb. However, it has also been observed that the fragmentary infractions do not necessarily constitute any misunderstanding of the meaning directions of the expressions.
Table 36
S/N FACEBOOK EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
11 Meme 14:
When a goat laughs upon hearing that the lion is around, one needs to find out the type of grass it has been eating. complex declarative
12 Meme 15:
shawty say she no come for d body o. She come for the money o. Money ooooooo. simple declarative
13 Meme 16:
death is the penalty for rape. simple declarative
14 Meme 17:
Appreciate the food your mother cooks for you; some don’t have food, others don’t have mother simple + simple + simple declarative+ declarative+ declarative
15 Meme 18:
mother, father, brother: there’s a simple + simple + simple declarative + declarative + declarative
S/N FACEBOOK EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
bit of her in everyone. You never just rape a woman. You rape everyone else too.
16 Meme 19:
it’s not the dress, it’s your attitude simple+ simple declarative + declarative
17 Meme 22:
Don’t harass women. They are our lovely mothers, sisters and daughters simple + simple imperative+ declarative
18 Meme 23:
Save the girl child, save the human race! Save the tree, save the human life. simple+ simple+ simple+ simple Imperative +imperative +imperative+imperative
19 Meme 24:
We will teach you 45 subjects which have no use in real life; we won’t teach you reasoning and aptitude because that might fetch you a job. complex+compound complex declarative+declarative
20 Meme 25:
Dad, I want to be an actor, Beta, it is pronounced doctor simple + simple declarative+ declarative

In Table 36, simple sentences appear more than either the compound, complex or compound- complex sentence types. The table also reveals that the imperative function is more than any other function type. This table does not reveal many sentence fragments. The preponderance of the simple sentence reveals that communication on the outlets of new media is made as conversational as possible. To this end, therefore, the lexical choices that add up to make the syntactic level are chosen from the everyday repertoire of the language users for easy communication.
Table 37
S/N WHATSAPP EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
21 Meme 26:
This isstrictly for igbos. Nwanne, igbatago ticket?
simplet + simple
imperative
22 Meme 27:
Wife: If I had known that you were this poor, I wouldn’t have married you.

Husband: When I was telling you that you are the only thing I have
complex

complex
declarative

interrogative
S/N WHATSAPP EXPRESSIONS STRUCTURE FUNCTION
in this world, what are you thinking?
23 Meme 28:
You shouldCome out guys, Ambode won. You shouldGo and open your shop….
simple +simple + compound
Imperative + declarative+ imperative
24 Meme 29:
These are the people that need wardrobe allowance, not our senators
complex
declarative
25 Meme 30:
If your country has churches like this and hospitals like this, then you should know that your country is filled people that lack common sense.
compound-complex
declarative

Table 37 reveals more simple and compound structures. These expressions reveal functions that point more to the declarative function. The table also reveals sentence functions that are interrogative and imperative. The presence of the compounds, which is structurally made up of two simple sentences, underscores the point that communication on the electronic platform is made as simple as possible since this is the hallmark of language usage and management. The syntactic configuration of the expressions in the above table shows that people who interact on social media understand that that the platforms are informal communication outlets. Thus, they exploit the affordances created by technology and the interactive platforms to make their expressions as conversational as possible.
This Chapter has examined the strategies of communication deployed on social media by non-native users of English. In accounting for these strategies as signification deployments, the objective has been to establish whether such strategies that exist in the spoken tradition, where paralinguistic elements aid interpersonal communication, are traceable to a medium where they are supposedly absent. Dornyei’s (1995) taxonomy of CS was adopted as the analytic guide while the principles of Semiotics as prescribed by Charles Sanders Peirce and Roland Barthes provided the tools of analysis. Memetic representation of events, comments and posts from two non-native English countries, namely Nigeria and India on Facebook, WhatsApp and Yahoo Chat Rooms provided the linguistic and non-linguistic data for this research. The analysis reveals and validates the fact that CS also exist in the written form, owing to the creation of emoticons, emojis and smileys on social media platforms where they are deployed in the conveyance of emotional feelings.