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A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF WOLE SOYINKA'S DEATH AND THE KING'S HORSEMAN


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ABSTRACT

Sociolinguistic has become a recognized part of most courses on language study from the point of teaching research at university level. Today we think of the usage of a word and not its meaning. This is because a word means a lot of things different situations and environments. This work examined the place of bilingualism in the play.

That is, bringing out the characteristics of bilingualism, which are code mixing, code-switching and language interference as they reflect in the play.

Also, bringing out those things that reflect African social as they relate to the in Yoruba society in the 1990's.

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENTS                                                                                      PAGES

Title pages                                                                                                       i

Certification                                                                                                    ii

Dedication                                                                                                      iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                        iv

Abstract                                                                                                          v

Table of contents                                                                                            vi-viii

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0       Background of the Study                                                                   1

1.1       Aim of the Study                                                                                2

1.2       Scope of Study                                                                                   3

1.3       Significance of the Study                                                                   3

1.4       Research Methodology                                                                       4

1.5       A Brief Storyline of the Play                                                              4

1.6       Theoretical Framework                                                                       5

 

CHAPTER TWO: LlTERATURE REVIEW

2.0       Definitions of Sociolinguistics                                                            7

2.l        Sociolinguistics Variation                                                                   10

2.1.1    Geographical Variation                                                                       11

2.1.2    Social Variations                                                                                 11

2.2       Speech Community                                                                             12

2.2.1    Oyo as a Speech Community                                                              15

2.3       Definitions of Language                                                                     17

2.4       Aspect of Language, Thoughts, Culture and Society                         20

2.5       Relationship between Language and Culture in the Play                   22

2.6       Language and Bilingualism                                                                23

2.7       Language and Gender                                                                        26

 

CHAPTER THREE: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

3.0       Characteristics of Bilingualism as it Reflects In the Play                   30

3.1       Code-Mixing as it reflects in the play                                                 31

3.2       Code-Switching as it reflects in the play                                            34

3.3       Language Interference                                                                        36

3.3.1    Lexical Interference in the play                                                          37

 

CHAPTER FOUR: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND

RECOMMENDATION

4.0       Summary of Findings                                                                         40

4.1       Conclusion                                                                                         42

4.2       Recommendation                                                                                43

Bibliography                                                                                       44


 


CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

1.0     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Language, either spoken or written can be said to be the most ultimate tool for the expression of fiction, culture, wisdom and knowledge of a people and their creative spirit. Without one's language, linguistic creation by mankind would be unachievable. The way in which language is used in the society is very important.

Sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to the society. That is, how people in the society use language and what makes them use language in a particular way. Also, when we study sociolinguistics, we study the socio­-dialects across regions, that is, how a dialect of a given language can reveal gender, age, culture and social class of a speaker. A lot of people believe that some speeches or sentences are grammatically wrong without considering the gender, age, situation and context in which that speech was made or the speaker involved. Is the speech uttered in an informal or informal setting? A speech uttered in an informal setting (home) can take different forms, depending on the people involved.

However, socio-linguists are not interested in, or particular about the correctness of speech; rather, they are concerned with highlighting the differences in the use of language between individuals in different contexts and situations. They analyse the speaker's behaviour or personality from his speech.

Therefore, the study of language in its social context means specifically, the study of linguistic variation. That is in different social contexts, an individual could speak in different way; this is called STYLISTIC VARIATION. Moreover, speaker's who differ from each other in terms of age, sex and social class, will also differ in speech patterns, even in the same context, and this is referred to as SOCIAL VARIATION. Language also differs due to different geographical origins of individual speakers and this is called GEOGRAPHICAL VARIATION. All the above, codify the social functions of a language.

 

1.1     AIM OF THE STUDY

The aim of this research is to analyse Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman from the sociolinguistic angle. By sociolinguistic analysis of the play, I mean the study of the language (English) used in the play in relation to the society. That is, how the characters in the play used language as a medium of communication and the mode for transmission of culture.

Also, I will discuss why the character used language in a particular way, that is, what is, what prompted them to use language the way they did.

 

1.2     SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The focus of this play is within the scope of sociolinguistics. That is, using the specific play, which is the case study, to discuss sociolinguistic issues. Basically, there is a literature review (Chapter two) which discusses scholars's views on sociolinguistics.

The sociolinguistic analysis will be done from different perspectives of language analysis. Namely, language as it relates to the society and culture; language interference, how the indigenous language (Yoruba) has interfered with English language, language and bilingualism that is, the alternative use of languages. Features of bilingualism shall be discussed; code-switching and code mixing as regards language use in the play.

 

1.3     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The importance of this long essay is to show that people speak the way they do, due to certain reasons, mainly because of their cultural background.

Significantly, this essay will reflect the differences between language use in different contexts and not necessarily "correct” usage of language. This will help us to know that there is a big difference between the socio-linguist and the linguist, the latter being particular about correctness of grammar and language use according to the rules of grammar.

This essay will also show that culture and language are interwoven. That culture influences one's usage of language irrespective of gender.

 

1.4     RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The long essay is library based. That is, there is no use of questionnaire. The text examined is a play, Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka who is ritualistic. The analysis derives from the observation made in the play.

 

1.5     A BRIEF OF THE STORYLINE OF THE PLAY

This is historical play that showcase the event that took place in Oyo, the ancient Yoruba city of Nigeria, in 1900s, Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman tell how Simon Pilkings, a well- meaning District Officer, prevents the ritual suicide of the Yoruba chief. Elesin a sacrificial suicide demanded by the death of the king. There follow drastic repercussions in both indigenous and colonial communities, but in this confrontation of Africa characters wild European, of black with white.

Soyinka is concerned with more than just a 'clash of cultures'. However, devastating, his triumph in this is to evoke the mystery and ritual of Yoruba life, a world of the living, the dead and the unborn, and giving it palpable and breath­taking theatrical form, in sinking contrast to the desiccated life-style of the colonials.

 

1.6     THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

In every language study, there must be a theoretical framework on which the analysis will be based. This is because language is so complex.

The theoretical framework in use in this play is sociolinguistics.

Sociolinguistic is the study of language in relation to society. That is, it studies language by considering the situation and context of its users. It did not look at actual correct usage, rather it looks at how the people in the society use language, what made them to use language the way they did with the SITUATION and CONTEXT of the speech.

Situation as defined by Adejare and Adejare (1996; 6) is:

controversial linguistic category recognized but excluded from consideration as linguistic phenomena by most accommodating linguists and considered as totally irrelevant others.

This definition is not considered true by the sociolinguist. Sociolinguistic analyses are largely based on situation and context. This is because sociolinguistics takes into consideration the situation and context in which an utterance is made before analyzing it.

Situation and context are conditions that give meaning to what we say or show the scene or environment in which to interpret what we see. Sociolinguists are particular about the behavior of the speakers. That is, they are concerned with highlighting the differences between the use of language by different speakers in different context, unlike the linguist who is particular about grammatical errors and giving rules for usage.

Situation refers to the place, environment, participants involved or surrounding in which the utterance was made while context is similar to situation, in that it is the specifics of the situation in which meanings of the utterance made are deduced or derived. Taken this into consideration, one we find why in a society people speak in different ways irrespective of gender. Therefore, Soyinka 's play Death and the King's Horseman we will see how and why the writer made use of language (Via his characters) the way he did, especially language interference that is looking at the situation and context of the language in use.

 


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