Points of View and Modality in the Discourses of Homosexuality in Selected Nigerian Newspapers
The practice of homosexuality has over time generated serious debates world-wide. Studies on homosexuality in the Euro-American context have focused on how this phenomenon is represented socially, psychologically, linguistically, etc. Though opinions diverge, but the central argument is of social justice and human right. Studies on the phenomenon in the Nigerian context have focused on Nollywood movies and other arguments centered on ethics, culture and religion, with little attention to points of view and their linguistic representations. This study, therefore, explores modality choices in the representation of points of view. This study adopts Uspensky’s (1973) notion of point of view on the ideological plain and Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics with special attention on Simpson’s (1993) classification of modality. These approaches provide a method for studying language use and points of view. Two popular Nigerian newspapers (Vanguard and The Punch) within the period of three years (2013–2015), are critically examined and subjected to linguistic and qualitative methods of analysis. Data are purposively selected from editorials, open letters and comments based on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The analysis reveals that modality is used by writers in questioning the anti-gay bill, resisting homosexuality as well as to incite the readers to rise to the occasion of radically opposing any culture that will destroy the African cultures, religions and the African worldview about sexuality and marriage.