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Language use as stancetaking on motivations for romantic relationships among female undergraduates

God'sgift Ogban Uwen, Omotosho Moses Melefa, Mary Emmanuel O’Neill

Article ID: 1851
Vol 9, Issue 3, 2024, Article identifier:

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This paper explores motivations for love as stancetaking in the discourse on romantic relationships among female undergraduates in two Universities in Southern Nigeria. Insights from Community of Practice and Appraisal Theory were used to instantiate the use of situated linguistic choices to establish the different impulses for female undergraduates’ engagement in heterosexual relationships. Data for the study were generated through (non)participant observation, informal interactions and semi-structured interviews involving a representative sample of 44 female undergraduates. The findings show that the participants utilised youth culture of sexual expressiveness to establish their motivations for love, cognitively construed as stancetaking on romantic relationships with their male sexual partners. Participants’ language use shows that the female students’ motivations for loving their male sexual partners include: high sexual performance, good academic performance, financial benefits, intention to get married in future, access to power and security, and physical attractiveness. This study, aside from establishing the increasing practice of heterosexual relationships among Nigerian university undergraduates, has also presented participants’ motivations for sexual practices as the girls’ peculiar sexual narrations of their worldview. This also shows the creation of situated linguistic choices as outcome of ‘new’ youth expressive culture as demonstrated in the discourse of their sexual relationships and experience within the liberal university environment.


language use; stancetaking; romantic relationships; sexual motivations; female undergraduates

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