Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 10, No 1-2 (2016)

All I want is your waist: Sexual metaphors as youth slanguage in Nigeria

Eyo Mensah, Linda Nkamigbo
Issued Date: 4 Jun 2016

Abstract


This paper explores the use of sexual metaphors as slang as spoken by youths in Nigeria, with a particular focus on these speakers in the Calabar metropolis in the Cross River State of South-eastern Nigeria. These metaphors are used to express the mechanics of sexual activities and their gratifying appeal. Young people utilize lexically and contextually driven sexually explicit codes to reconceptualize and reconstruct sex and sexual relations within their social universe and group dynamics. The study is rooted in Lakoff and Turner’s (1989) conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) which involves a cross-domain mapping of meaning within the utterance from a source domain to a target domain through a series of ontological correspondence, whereby a new meaning is processed in the conceptual system behind the transfer to create new expectations. The study conducted reveals that young people use sexual metaphors for a variety of motivations, these being (i) to enhance intimacy, (ii) to negotiate power relations, especially hegemonic masculinity and (iii) to conceptualize youth-centred collective belonging. These metaphors have become commonplace everyday narratives that define identity formation, social experience and sexual agency.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v10i1-2.27809

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