A Corpus-Based Lexical Study of Religious Sermons in Nigeria


African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships


Arts & Education


This study investigates lexical behavior in religious sermons to uncover peculiarities of sermon-words and their combinatorial tendencies in meaning making. It is an empirical analysis of naturally occurring language as opposed to artificial, intuitive language. As such, the study entails the construction and use of a corpus of sermons as data, which will be analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Sermons belong to a macro-genre of religious language which, to date, has received scant research attention. There are good reasons, however, for linguistic investigation of language in religious contexts. Such investigation provides a realistic framework for discussing religion, which may suggest principles for constructive thinking. Thus, beyond providing linguistic insights, the detailed knowledge of the character of local religious language in relation to secular speaking styles may also aid in understanding the religious conflicts that characterize the Nigerian polity.