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
Title pages i
Table of contents vi-viii
of the Study 1
of the Study 2
of Study 3
of the Study 3
Brief Storyline of the Play 4
CHAPTER TWO: LlTERATURE REVIEW
of Sociolinguistics 7
as a Speech Community 15
of Language 17
of Language, Thoughts, Culture and Society 20
between Language and Culture in the Play 22
and Bilingualism 23
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
of Findings 40
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
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.
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
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
This essay will also show that culture and language
are interwoven. That culture influences one's usage of language irrespective of
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
The theoretical framework in use in this play is
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;
linguistic category recognized but excluded from consideration as linguistic
phenomena by most accommodating linguists and considered as totally irrelevant
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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