A Linguistic Analysis of the Language of Sex Workers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Isaac Tamunobelema, Viincent Obobolo


This paper attempted a linguistic analysis of the language of interaction and negotiation among commercial sex workers in Port Harcourt City, Nigeria. It aimed at understanding the language of sex workers by first seeking to understand their lifestyle. To achieve balance, the paper anchored on Yule’s English Word Formation Theory, Jacobson’s Functions of Language Theory and Aristotle’s Rhetorical Theory, as well as rested on the basic foundation of language-gender relations and feminist ideologies. The paper adopted the qualitative research method of data-gathering and investigated/interpreted the foregrounded features in the language of the sex workers and their clients, using the word formation process, functions of language, and the rhetorical analysis. The study finds that the language of commercial sex workers in Port Harcourt City, Nigeria, is largely pedestrian, pidginized and highly infused with slang, jargons and symbolic terms that are highly connotative but mutually intelligible among the sex workers and between them and their clients.

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/9-12-18

Publication date:June 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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