DEVIATION IN STYLISTICS: A CASE STUDY OF ABUBAKAR ADAMS OTHMAN’S “BLOOD STREAM IN THE DESERT” AND NEREUS YERIMA TADI’S “VOICES FROM THE SLUM”
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1.0 Background to the study
Deviation, as Widdowson, (2014) characterizes, is an aesthetically purposeful distortion of standard language. Deviation is the energy at the back of foregrounding of all sorts. All great poetry is a product of one or other kind of deviation. In a liberal view of stylistics every utterance, sentence or expression, however simple or brief it may be, is a product of style resulting from deviation (Widdowson, 2014). Understanding of deviation increases the literal and the literary awareness of the reader. Prague school of poetry propounded the idea that poetry is bound to violate the norms of everyday language (Wales, 2012). Deviation is closely associated with 51 poetic languages. One reason is that in case of poetic language the tolerance of the unusual by the reader, whether phonological, grammatical, lexical or semantic, is very high (Malmjaer, 2013).
Poetry has always been a major component and the most intense of man’s literary activity in ancient and modern times. In addition to making use of language in a unique and creative way, poetry, as a form of literature, often mirrors the social, political, economic or cultural context which produces it (Osoba, 2013).From other angle, there are many similarities in language definitions. On the other hand, there are very technical uses of the word “language” which reflect the way in which the term has been applied figuratively to all forms of human behavior such as the language of writing, the media, Politics, music, law and advertising. Halliday, (2011: 332) also gives succinctly the function of language:
Language is used to express content. The speaker or speaker embodies language, its experiences of the internal world of its Consciousness, its reaction, its knowledge and its perception, as well as its linguistic acts of speaking and understanding.
Language stands out as the only phenomenon through which human being in certain speech community successfully interact and pass across information. Certain scholars have tried to define what language is; Henry, (2014) sees language as: “A shared, learned, arbitrary symbol through which human beings in the same speech community or sub-culture communicates and hence interacts in terms of their common experiences and expectations.” Odebunmi (2011, p.26) opines that “language is the rope that ties members of a speech community together in a continuing relationship”. He goes further to summit that “it is the common instrument that they draw on for socio cultural identification”. From this excerpt, language is portrayed as an inevitable phenomenon and the basis of mutual communication in man’s life. Language is glimpsed as an instrument for social identification and unity in a speech community. It is when they are able to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas using the same language that they can have understanding which is one of the foundations of unity.
Also, Duranti and Godwin, (2013) asserts that “Language is human vocal sound, or it is the graphic representation of signs, symbols, gesticulations and signals for the purpose of communication “In this regard, Man uses language in conveying meanings and tends to display different attributes and most cases different styles. These styles therefore, determine the language habits and language use utilized by certain individuals. This research therefore, intends to study the style used by Abubakar Adams Othman’s in blood stream in the desert and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s “voices from the slum”
1.1 Functions of language
As it is noted in the introductory aspect, language is used by man to express his mind, views, and contributions to the society. Speech acts such as sympathy, admirations excitement, ideas, jokes, reprimands, warnings, feelings, greetings and so on, are carried out through the use of language. Brown and Yule (2005) referred to by Odebunmi (2011, p.27) have described these as transactional and interaction functions of language. Transactional function of language simply refers to the use of language as a medium of communication, in other words, it serves as a medium of information dissemination .For instance, certain traditions, cultures and the likes have been kept into existence through the use of language. In this function, vital information about old tradition has been brought into the new generation in order for them not to go into extinction. Societal issues have also been talked over through the use of this function of language. Odebunmi (2011, p.28) notes that:
Right from the home when the child is moving close to school age, parents start giving academic Instructions to him or her literate parents especially, use English to order the child around and to request some responses which are either supplied verbally or through child’s reaction or obedient to the Instruction given, thus the child is being prepared in the school situation where instructions are provided in the classroom through language.
Transactional function of language is portrayed as a kind of mutual interaction that serves as a background for effective communication. On the other hand, when language is used for the purpose of establishing, boosting and sustaining relationships that exist among members of a speech community, the language function is referred to as interactional. This can also be referred to as the secondary functions of language.
1.2 English Language in Nigeria
Nigerians had contact with English language as far back as 1553. Through colonization, the colonial masters attacked Lagos in 1861, they entrenched Ilorin in 1920 and though the northern part were very strong, they were later captured in 1900 and by 1914, the amalgamation of Nigeria took place .Ever since then , through colonialization, constitution , commerce, christianity and trans-atlantic slave trade, English language was robbed into the language system of Nigeria and has captured a very pertinent role in the intra and international communicative system of Nigeria (Abiola, 2014). According to Tomori (2008) cited in Babatunde (2015, p.105-108) “It (English Language) has been with us for about one hundred and thirty years. Hence it has become our second language.” English Language at present serves virtually all the functions of language in Nigeria. It serves as the language of intra and inter-ethnic communication, language of education, commerce, entertainment, science and technology, international relations, literature .Just to mention a few. At present in Nigeria, if not objected by some illiterate, English is indeed a blessing in Nigeria.
1.3 Statement of the problem
The language stylistic analysis of a given text is generally an attempt to evaluate the use of language in order to disentangle the synthesis of thought in the text. This is necessary in particular with reference to this study because in the study of African literature as a whole relatively little attention has been paid to linguistic stylistics (and more to literary stylistics).This is necessary in particular with reference to this study because in the study of African literature as a whole relatively little attention has been paid to linguistic stylistics (and more to literary stylistics). In other words, an analysis seeks to reveal the meaning that the text translates and, what is interesting, these strands of meaning not clearly presented, and those subtle nuances that a writer tries to convey. Most readers do not find it easy to understand the literary text they read, especially because they belong to a community of overlapping discourses, which can be differentiated by lexicon, pronunciation, Address or any other distinctive stylistic feature.
1.4 Objective of the study
This research is basically on stylistics, to engage stylistics as a branch of linguistics and to study and analyze the characteristics of situational distinctive use of language with referent to Abubakar Adams Othman’s and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s selected poem, also to show the functional significance and the interpretation of the poems.
1.5 Justification of the study
In an attempt to study stylistics and use it as a linguistic tool of analysis, many writers have embarked no stylistics .Example is “A stylistic analysis of Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s coup speech 1996” by Moses Alo and IgbwebukaEbuka, (2011); rhetorical concise, Syntactic features, Declarative mood and acts Referring expressions and lexico-semantic features were all used in analyzing the coup speech. In this research, the importance of writers cannot be over-emphasized because through their literary piece, many socio-political ills in our society have been discussed and possible solutions have been proffered to them. In view of these, there exists a great need to examine the use of language by these writers whose literary works have done a lot in shaping our society. Selected poem of Abubakar Adams Othman’s and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s as the prominent writers whose poems have gone a long way in addressing ills will be subjected to analysis in order to show the style and the aesthetic use of language Abubakar Adams Othman’s and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s has used in “blood stream in the desert” and “voices from the slum”
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of the study shall be limited to stylistics analysis using the features of cohesion, graphology, phonology, pragmatics and lexico-semantics in analyzing Abubakar Adams Othman’s “blood stream in the desert and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s “voices from the slum”
1.7 Research methodology
We shall attempt a brief review of existing materials or body of knowledge in our chosen theory, it various definitions by scholars and the corresponding stylistics element shall be expounded in the next chapter. In the chapter that follows, there shall be the analysis of the data i.e. the application of the theory on the data. The data are: selected poem in Abubakar Adams Othman’s “blood stream in the desert” and Nereus Yerima Tadi’s “voices from the slum”