International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Themes and Lexical Choices in Selected Roman Catholic Bishops’ Lenten Pastoral Letters in the Ecclesiastical Province of Onitsha, Nigeria
V.C. Okafor

This study examined the themes and the lexical choices deployed in the Lenten pastoral letters of the Roman Catholic bishops in the Ecclesiastical Province of Onitsha, Nigeria, with a view to establishing a correlation between the two. Ten pastoral letters of five Roman Catholic bishops were used as data, and these were purposively sampled from five out of seven dioceses in the province, that is, two letters from each bishop. The sampling was based on consistency in the publication of the letters as well as their thematic preoccupations. Data were analysed based on M.A.K. Halliday’s (1985) model of Systemic Functional Grammar, because ofits emphasis on form-function correlation in language use. Analysis, which revealed four major themes, namely: faith, loyalty, repentance, and love, conveyed through the use of theme-related words, antonyms, synonyms and lexical repetitions, showed a correlation between theme and lexical choice.

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