A STYLISTIC-LINGUISTIC STUDY OF SELECTED NIGERIA-BIAFRA WAR NOVELS

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A STYLISTIC-LINGUISTIC STUDY OF SELECTED NIGERIA-BIAFRA WAR NOVELS

ABSTRACT

 

This study interpreted the Nigeria-Biafra War novels from the stylistic-linguistic viewpoint. It began by describing the key concepts and sub-concepts of ‘stylistic- linguistics’ and ‘Nigeria-Biafra War novels’. Five research purposes were stated. Among them was “to identify the commonalities of linguistic features in the war novels”. The literature review examined works in the fields of stylistics and the Nigeria-Biafra War literature. The research relied mainly on the descriptive survey design, which is explanation based, with little quantitative matter. The eclectic text linguistics formed the theoretical base of the analysis, though other theories of foregrounding and meaning were also employed as subsidiaries. The analyses of samples were guided, particularly, by a checklist of linguistic categories adapted from Leech and Short. The four samples of the study were chosen following some criteria: for instance, that each sample must belong to the novel category of the Nigeria-Biafra War literature, and that each must give perspectives of the male and the female authors, and of the earlier and the more contemporary novels. The findings of the study include: (i) Nigeria-Biafra War novels are mainly satires, blending history and storytelling, (ii) military register and formulaic usages, examples similes and idioms, are mainly deployed by the male writers, and (3) the more contemporary war texts differ significantly from the earlier war texts, in objectivity and creativity. This study confirms that stylistic-linguistics is a useful tool in the interpretation of literary texts and by extension a requirement in the composition of original texts. The study should also inspire further studies in subjects such as “the Nigeria-Biafra War novels as satires”.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

 

 

Seven main categories have been discussed in this chapter: background of the issue, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, significance of the study, theoretical perspective, the audience for the study, and delimitations.

 

 

Background of the Issue

 

Despite the many novels on the Nigeria-Biafra War, there seem to be no detailed study yet, known to the researcher, analyzing the stylistic-linguistic contents of the novels. A few literary reviews have been done on some of the novels, but these reviews have only stressed issues of theme, plot, and characterization, leaving a yawning gap in matters of style and language of the novels. No text can exist without language. It is only through a close scrutiny of the language of a text that its real meaning can be grasped. A carefully done stylistic-linguistic analysis of the Nigeria- Biafra War novels, therefore, is necessary; more so as the event of the Nigeria-Biafra War has continued to generate attention from literary artists, environmentalists, military strategists, historians, social and political analysts. For Isiguzo (writing in Nigeria News), Biafra/ Ojukwu has become a passion, almost a profession, especially to some who use the subjects as reference points in the larger fight for group relevance seen in Nigeria, today. The level of enthusiasm and controversy which greeted Achebe’s most recently published work on the war (There Was a Country, 2012) is evident of the fact that Nigerians are yet to have and learn enough of ‘Biafra’.

 

Furthermore, Hawley has observed that not many Nigerians, living now, know much about the Nigeria-Biafra War:

Today’s Nigeria is a young country in several striking ways, and the most telling is the age of its people: well over half are less than thirty; an amazing forty-four percent are under fifteen years of age. The Biafran War ended thirty-seven years ago [sic] and so was not experienced by most living Nigerians; indeed, for many Nigerians it figures much as “Vietnam” does for most Americans: as a symbol of a bad time that our elders went through … (16-17)

This observation was made in 2008, which is recent enough; the same situation still applies. The implication, therefore, is that more studies should be done on issues concerning the war so that more Nigerians would be aware of what that experience was like. This reasoning is similar to Emezue’s argument that the age of silence on the Nigeria-Biafra issue should have been over by now and thus has advocated that Nigeria-Biafra War literatures be properly studied and carefully analysed (2) to bring out their intrinsic values. Nwoga has also been of the opinion that though the disastrous events of the Nigeria-Biafra conflict are over, the tragic consequences, and the lessons which the sufferings should teach, must not be allowed to dissipate (1977, 10).

The above views indicate the need to study the Nigeria-Biafra War from every ramification. Considering the gap in the area of the style/ language of the war writers, the present researcher intends to plug it by engaging in this study. The key terminologies of this study are discussed in the sub-section following.

 

Key Terminologies of the Study

 

The key concepts upon which the study is based are ‘stylistic-linguistics’ and ‘the Nigeria-Biafra War novel’. These concepts have other sub-concepts which have all been explained below.

 

 

Stylistic-Linguistics

 

Stylistic-linguistics is concerned with the application of linguistic and stylistic elements in the analysis and the interpretation of literary works. An attempt is made, below, to describe the concept of ‘stylistics’, which is the home discipline of stylistic- linguistics.

 

 

Stylistics

 

Two main descriptions of stylistics will be taken here: (1) Stylistics is a study of the linguistic features of texts and (2) Stylistics is an area of mediation between literary criticism and linguistics.

Many writers recognize the fact that stylistics examines the language of a text. Widdowson in an interview with ELTNEWS, for example, states that stylistics is “the study of the linguistic features of texts, the actual verbal texture of occurrences of language use and its effects”. In a similar way, Simpson has also viewed stylistics as “a method of textual interpretation in which primacy of place is assigned to language” (2). As Simpson explains,

The reason why language is so important to stylisticians is because the various forms, patterns and levels that constitute linguistic structure are an important index of the function of the text. The text’s functional significance as discourse acts in turn as a gateway to its interpretation.

 

While linguistic features do not of themselves constitute a text’s ‘meaning’, an account of linguistic features nonetheless serves to ground a stylistic interpretation and to help explain why, for the analyst, certain types of meaning are possible. (2)

Implicated in the above statement is the fact that though stylistics is primarily about the language of a text, meaning is the ultimate end of the exercise.

On the issue of ‘form’ and ‘content’, Stockwell is of the opinion that to describe stylistics as only ‘form’ is to relegate it to the practice of traditional rhetoric where style was merely ‘ornamentation’ of an utterance (746). Stylistics, as Stockwell explains, goes much further than that, for every form is motivated by personal and socio-cultural factors and, thus, should be evaluated along these ideological dimensions. Thus, for Stockwell, both form and content should always go together in stylistic analysis. That is not to say, however, that the linguistic elements of a text serve only as a means for interpreting the text. Apart from meaning-making, they provide a good means of understanding how a language (in which the text is written) works. For this reason, stylistics has been a resource in the teaching of language, especially in the second language situation. Also, scholars training for rhetorical leadership or skills have relied on stylistic analysis for practical examples of how words and texts are used creatively.

Stylistics is also described as an area of mediation between literary criticism and linguistics. The morphological make-up of stylistics suggests this link: the ‘style’ component relates it to the former, and the ‘istics’ component to the latter (Widdowson 3). Widdowson has emphasized that what distinguishes stylistics from literary criticism, on the one hand; and stylistics from linguistics, on the other hand, is that stylistics is essentially a means of linking the two and has no autonomous domain

 

of its own. Enquiries of a linguistic kind can be conducted without any reference to literary criticism and vice-versa. But stylistics involves both literary criticism and linguistics.

Other writers who have noted this connection between the three fields of linguistics, literary criticism and stylistics include Leech and Short (1995), Short and Candlin (1988), and Carter (1997). Leo Spitzer, one of the founding fathers of stylistics, regarding this connection, has observed that stylistics while using the analytical techniques of modern linguistics strives to unite the analytical description with a critical interpretation that relates the style to a larger conceptual or situational frame (Catano). Leech and Short, as cited by Tallapessy, describe this analytical technique as ‘cyclic motion’, where a linguistic observation stimulates a literary insight; a literary insight in turn stimulates further linguistic observation.

Stylistics is not literary criticism. Literary criticism is largely concerned with literary history, incidents of an author’s personal life, sources of his inspiration, political, social and economic history of the age and only at the end may give considerations to the literary work itself, its language (Hough 39). Literary critics often differ in their judgements of literary texts – such judgements, like, “Soyinka is a great novelist but only next to Achebe”. The stylistic study, on the other hand, starts from a positive and identifiable point – the precise verbal manifestation. A stylistic critic shows dissatisfaction with what Halliday (1970) calls “amateur psychology, armchair philosophy or fictitious social history” (70). For Agrawai, the concentration on linguistic method, in stylistics, results in impersonal reproducible truth. This implies that, at any time, a person can approach the text applying the identical stylistic procedure to arrive at the same results.

 

Also, stylistics is not the same as linguistics. Linguistics studies language in general, beginning by observing the way people use language, on the basis of which linguists establish underlying rules concerning language as a whole. Once the rules for particular languages have been mapped out in this empirical fashion, the linguist hopes to provide a model which will explain how all languages work. The production of this model, a universal grammar, is the pinnacle of linguistic enquiry (Finch 2). Stylistics, on the other hand, only borrows from the methodology of linguistics to study the concept of style in language.

Concerning the mediating role played by stylistics in the two fields of linguistics and literary criticism, Enkvist, as quoted in ‘Literary Stylistics: Lecture Notes No. 1’ asserts:

We may…regard stylistics as a subdepartment of linguistics, and give it a special subsection dealing with the peculiarities of literary texts. We may choose to make stylistics a subdepartment of literary study which may on occasion draw on linguistic methods. Or we may regard stylistics as an autonomous discipline which draws freely, and eclectically, on methods both from linguistics and literary study.

The two major traditional approaches to stylistics – linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics – are natural developments resulting from the fact that stylistics relates to linguistics as well as to literary criticism. Note that Enkvist (1973) constantly refers to linguistic stylistics as stylolinguistics. In actual practice, the division between linguistic and literary stylistics is not easy to define. Concerning this difficulty, Michael Short, a professor of Linguistics in the University of Lancaster and a leading authority in stylistics, with profound contributions in textual analysis and interpretations, has argued that:

 

…stylistics can sometimes look like either linguistics or literary criticism, depending upon where you are standing when looking at it. So, some of my literary critical colleagues sometimes accuse me of being an unfeeling linguist, saying that my analysis of poems, say, are too analytical, being too full of linguistic jargon and leaving insufficient room for personal preference on the part of the reader. My linguist colleagues, on the other hand, sometimes say that I’m no linguist at all, but a critic in disguise, who cannot make his descriptions of language precise enough to count as real linguistics. They think that I leave too much to intuition and that I am not analytical enough. I think I’ve got the mix just right, of course! (Qtd in Missikova 15)

The above implies that Short is interested in both the linguistic forms and the contextual meanings/messages of the analysed texts.

In spite of the similarity between the methods of linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics, these two sub-fields of stylistics are recognized, traditionally. Invariably, the academic specialty of the scholar determines the nomenclature s/he uses. Nonetheless, the views of some scholars concerning the two sub-fields will be examined below.

 

 

Linguistic Stylistics versus Literary Stylistics

 

There are two broad branches of operation generally identified in stylistics – linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics. The two branches can, alternatively, be termed ‘text-oriented’ and ‘context-oriented’ stylistics, respectively. As observed in the discussion above, some of the approaches of stylistics sometimes interrelate or overlap. Short’s dilemma over whether he is a literary stylistician or a linguistic

 

stylistician, shown above, is a strong pointer to the fact that the two main areas of stylistics are interconnected.

The descriptions given by Carter and Nnadi may help us to make a distinction between linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics. Linguistic stylistics, for Carter, is the purest form of stylistics in that its practitioners attempt to derive from the study of style and language a refinement of models for the analysis of language and thus to contribute to the development of linguistic theory (10). On the other hand, literary stylistics is more concerned with providing the basis for fuller understanding, appreciation and interpretation of avowedly literary and author-centered texts (Carter 10). For Nnadi, any such study that leans heavily on external correlates with none or just a smattering of attention to the rules guiding the operation of the language can be regarded as literary stylistics (24). As Nnadi further states, “The converse of this premise (i.e. a study that relies heavily on the rules guiding the operation of the language in the explication of a literary text) is what we regard here as linguistic stylistics (24)”. Though Carter and Nnadi attempt to point out the difference between the two main operations of stylistics, it cannot be denied (even from their definition) that there is a strong connection between the two; at least both, to a greater or a lesser degree, are concerned with language.

Enkvist, in his own case, seems to think like Short above. For him, many of the assumed differences between linguistic stylistics and literary stylistics have acquired political overtones. In actual practice, according to him, these differences solve themselves pragmatically, as long as each investigator allows himself/herself the freedom of choosing and shaping his/her methods to achieve his/her own particular goals (33). Wisneiwski, discussing this issue in “Stylistics”, is of the

 

opinion that the three terms, ‘stylistics’, ‘linguistic stylistics’ or ‘literary stylistics’, can be used interchangeably.

The present researcher keeps in constant view the flexible nature of the stylistic meta-language. She also realizes the cross-disciplinary nature of stylistics. The nomenclature ‘stylistic-linguistic’, found in the title of this study, mean the same as ‘linguistic stylistics’. For purposes of precision and conciseness, the researcher prefers to use the compound word, stylistic-linguistics, to the two words, linguistic stylistics. The researcher’s preference for the linguistic type of stylistics (as against the literary stylistics) is due to her academic background; she is stressing the area of language, not literature, in the Department of English/Literary Studies. However, her study has encompassed some aspects of literary stylistics, having used a deictic methodology to accommodate the literary works she has analysed. The researcher believes that much as an analysis of the real linguistic elements of the texts is worthy of interest, nevertheless, she cannot jettison the individuality and situational components of the literary texts being examined.

 

 

Nigeria-Biafra War

 

The Nigeria-Biafra War (alternatively referred to as the Nigerian Civil War or the Biafran War) is the major source of the creative works upon which this study is based. The war began on 6th July 1967 and ended on 12th January 1970. It was between the then Eastern Region of Nigeria (which seceded and declared itself the Republic of Biafra) and the rest of the country, Nigeria. Many writers have traced the cause of the war to the colonial period, when the British came and merged peoples of different histories and traditions into one country they called ‘Nigeria’. In addition, the colonial government in Nigeria made little effort at genuinely uniting the different

 

ethnic groups in the country. This heightened the divisions among these ethnic groups. It has been alleged that Lord Lugard at the 1914 amalgamation insisted that his task was “to unify administrations not peoples” (Odogwu 187).

The ethnic divisions in Nigeria clearly manifested after the 1960 independence, with the disorganized political parties. This degenerated to general confusion and insecurity in the country, until the military intervention of January 15 1966 – the Nzeogwu-led coup. A counter-coup by military officers from Northern Nigeria shortly followed on July 29, 1966. Both coups seem to be organized along ethnic lines; the second was clearly a reprisal against the people of Eastern Nigeria whom the Northerners felt purposely eliminated their key politicians (the Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, and the Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello – all victims of the first coup) to make way for their own leadership in Nigeria. The pogrom against the Easterners, especially those who lived in the North, followed this second coup. By October 1966, over 30,000 Igbos had lost their lives, several thousands more were maimed, and an estimated 1,800 Igbos fled from other parts of Nigeria back to the East (Forsyth 83).

Under this horrifying situation, and at the failure of the two sides to agree to any peace talk, in May 1967, the Eastern Nigeria, under Governor (Col.) Odumegwu Ojukwu, broke away from the rest of Nigeria. Their new nation, the Republic of Biafra, was declared on 30th May 1967. Following this was the 30-month gruesome war, the Nigeria-Biafra War. It has been estimated that about three million souls perished in that war, a reasonable percentage of that from hunger and disease. Most of the casualties are from the Biafran side.

Since the end of the civil war, creative artists who participated in, witnessed or heard stories of the war have tried to recapture their experiences in many literary

 

genres, especially the novel. In the next sub-section, the researcher examines the novel, the genre to which the war texts selected for this research belong. For the researcher, the novel is the most effective art-form for presenting the experiences and emotions of characters, real or imagined, that lived during the War.

 

 

The Novel

 

A novel is “a work of imagination grounded in reality” (The Columbia Encyclopedia). In modern literary usage, it is a sustained work of prose fiction a volume or more in length. What distinguishes the novel from its predecessors, romance, epic and ‘histories’, is its realistic treatment of life. Its heroes are ordinary men and women (not super-human), and its chief interest, as Northrop Frye asserts, is “human character as it manifests itself in society” (cited in Wikipedia). Novelists, like historians, can depict the social, political, and personal realities of a place and period, but with a clarity and detail historians cannot dare to explore.

The novel is the youngest of the three main literary mediums (novel/ fiction, play/ drama and poem/ poetry). This reason is obvious. Poetry can thrive in an oral tradition; dramatic performances can do without the printed word; short stories, like poetry, can be passed on from generation to generation, but the novel has to be read from the printed page, simply because of its length. To produce a novel, it has to be printed. It also has to be transported from the print-house to points of sale. More over, there has to be enough people who can read and a level of economic power to be able to buy this ‘relatively expensive and non-essential product’ (Stephen 61). Such conditions did not prevail in Europe until the seventeenth century and in Africa until the nineteeth century. In English literature, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722) are regarded as the first novels.

 

In Nigeria, the emergence of the novel followed the introduction of the written art in the country, starting with the Arabic language (Ajami literature) in the North, the Nigerian vernacular languages and, eventually, the English language, which developed mainly from the South. The earliest writers of Ajami literature were Islamic scholars such as Abdullahi Suka who wrote Riwayar Annabi Musa, and Wali Danmasani Abdulajalil who wrote the Hausa poem “Wakir Yakin Badar” (Umaisha). However, the bulk of the writings in Nigeria came after the arrival of European missionaries, from 1840. The vernacular novels of Isaac Thomas (Itan Emi Segilola Eleyinjuege, Elegberun oko laiye, in Yoruba, 1930), Pita Nwana (Omenuko, in Igbo, 1933), and Daniel Olurunfemi Fagunwa (Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale, in Yoruba, 1938) are some of the early attempts at novel-writing in Nigeria.

The efforts at writing in English, in Nigeria, came in 1952, with Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-Wine Drinkard and His Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads’ Town. Then, the Western world became interested in the distorted but recognizable version of English noted as the lingua franca of many semi-educated Africans (Gerard 629). People of the City, written in 1954, by Cyprain Ekwensi, is among the first African novels (written in English) to achieve international recognition. After Ekwensi’s book, many other Nigerian novels were published. That gave rise to the Onitsha Market literature, which provided the impetus for greater literary development in Nigeria and throughout West Africa. The greatest trend in the development of the novel and literature in Nigeria came with the publication of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Achebe’s novel has been described as the “first literary fruit of the intense imaginative ebullience that had gathered momentum since the foundation of a University College at Ibadan in 1947” (Gerard 630). A host of other Nigerians soon joined in the art of novel writing. They addressed basic Africa’s

 

problems like colonialism and neo-colonialism, and propagated African values to the outside world. Their main interest then was to correct the misrepresentation of Nigerians and Africans in literary works, like Joyce Cary’s Mister Johnson and African Witch, Rider Haggard’s She, King Solomon’s Mines and Allan Quartermain, and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Thus, the Nigerian novel contributed immensely in giving African literature focus and direction.

 

 

The War Novel

 

Wikipedia has defined a war novel as a novel in which the primary action takes place in a field of armed combat (battle front), or in a domestic setting (home front) where the characters are preoccupied with the preparations for, or recovery from war. For Stephen, the concept of war literature can no longer be ignored because there is a vast canon of writing inspired by the First World War and other modern conflicts which are coming in for increasing critical attention after years of neglect (270). As Stephen further opines, the interest in war writings allows a full expression of one of the healthiest developments in literature – “the willingness to blur the lines between the traditional academic disciplines of English Literature and History, and even the newer ones of Sociology and Economics, and write about literature in its widest possible context, and not merely as lines upon a page” (270).

There exists in every part of the world a large number of literatures on the primordial tribal wars, the Greek/Trojan wars, the Israelites’ wars, the Chinese Civil War, the American Civil War, the Vietnam War, World Wars I & II, the different anti-colonial conflicts in parts of Africa, and the recent wars in Algeria, Sudan, the Congo, and Burundi-Rwanda. It is an endless list. The subject of war has been ever- recurring in many historical and fictional works. It has been suggested that, in

 

contemporary fiction, time and art may by default have become the only effective means to digest the poison of the past, and to slowly heal from within the damage that has been done (Hawley, 16). This quotation seems to be mainly directed at the war fiction.

Apart from war fiction, many notable philosophers, statesmen, and writers have expressed various opinions on the issue of war and war study. Machiavelli, for example, has warned that the ruler must never let his mind be turned from the study of warfare:

A Prince … should have no other aim or thought, nor take up any other thing for his study, but war and its organization and discipline … The chief cause of the loss of states is the contempt of this art, and the way to acquire them is to be well versed in the same (37).

Following Machiavelli’s dictums, John Ruskin (1819-1900), a famous art historian and critic, in a lecture to a group of young English soldiers asserted that war alone determines “who is the best man; who is the highest bred, the most self-serving, the most fearless, the coolest of nerve, the swiftest of eye and hand” (cited in Ogunpitan 3). The Doctrine of Fascism (Enciclopedia Italiana) also extols war and the inherent ‘virtues’ in them. These assertions on war, however, should be weighed seriously by any responsible leader. Certain world leaders have already gone to dangerous incredible extents, in their skewed understanding of the principles of war, for instance Hitler (1889-1945), the Nazi dictator who led the World War II, with all its atrocities. The study of war writings, especially the war novels where ‘real’ emergency situations are created, is not to encourage the idea of war, but to make people and society abhor war in its entirety.

 

The war novels take their roots in the epic poetry of the classical and medieval periods, especially Homer’s The Iliad, Virgil’s The Aeneid, the Old English saga Beowulf, and different versions of the legends of King Arthur. The concept of war novels came of age during the nineteenth century, with the publishing of works like Stendhal’s The Charterhouse of Parma, featuring the Battle of Waterloo, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, about the Napoleonic Wars in Russia, and Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, about the American Civil War. These earlier novels established the conventions of the modern war novel as it has come down to us today. They give significant insights into the nature of heroism, cowardice, and morality in wartime.

In East, South, South-Central and West Africa, several wars have broken out at different points in history and novelists have tried to relive the different forms of experiences in their works. In East Africa, the war novels have focused on the anti- colonial struggle, like the autobiographical work of Jomo Kenyatta, Suffering without Bitterness (1967), and Julius Nyerere’s Uhuru na Umoja/ Freedom and Unity (1967). In Uganda, Return to the Shadows by Robert Serumaga gives a fictional account of the 1966 armed conflict in Uganda between the forces of Kabaka of Buganda and those of President Milton Obote. Two wars have received the greatest attention from writers in South Africa: the Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902, and the anti-apartheid conflict of the 1970s and 80s. The Dop Doctor (1910) by Richard Dehan, for instance, gives some indication of the brutality of the first war. Almost all the black South African writers of the 1970s and 80s could be said to be writing war literature, if the apartheid struggle is defined as war. Mongane Serote’s To every Birth Its Blood, specifically, deals with the guerilla war waged by the ANC and its allies, and has been described as the most faithful to the actual experiences of combatants at that time

 

(Killam & Rowe 297). Some white writers in South Africa have written to endorse the apartheid regime, regarding the liberation guerilla fighters as terrorists, like Peter Essex in The Exile (1984).

In West Africa, the Nigeria-Biafra War constitutes the greatest theme of the war writings. Novels on the Nigeria-Biafra War will now be discussed, in the following sub-section.

 

 

Nigeria-Biafra War Novel

 

What is referred to as Nigeria-Biafra War novels (or Nigerian War novels) here are those novels written in Nigeria by Nigerians (and non-Nigerians alike) about the Nigeria-Biafra War. The researcher has included ‘non-Nigerians’ in this description because Achebe, while discussing what constitutes Nigerian literature, has asserted that “a national literature is one that takes the whole nation for its province, and has a realized or potential audience throughout its territory” (cited by Griswold and Bastian 215). Therefore, any novel written by a Nigerian and/or discussing issues relating to Nigeria, written in either the national language (English) or any of the indigenous languages, is a Nigerian novel.

Nigeria-Biafra Civil War of 1967-1970 has generated so much literature that literary critics have come to regard this historical event as important in both periodization and the aesthetic development of Nigerian literature; (Killam & Rowe 178). The boom in the publishing of novels in Nigeria after the civil war was possible due to a number of other reasons, apart from the obvious need to comment on the war. First, the number of British publishers interested in creative African and Nigerian literature increased. Also, several new Nigerian publishing houses were established; among them, Ethiope Publishing Co., Benin City (1972), Onibonoje Press and Book

 

Industries, Ibadan (1973), African Far-East Publishers, Onitsha (1973), Di Nigro Press, Lagos (1976), and Fourth Dimension Publishing Co., Enugu (1977). More over, there is ample proof that the majority of publishers /writers were encouraged by examinations boards (like, West African Examinations Board) and cultural ministries who wanted the inclusion of African literature in schools’ and universities’ syllabuses. Hence, the number of authors rose considerably at the end of the war.

It is difficult to give a chronological list of the Nigerian War novels, but an attempt will be made to capture some of them. The first decade after the war witnessed the publication of many of these novels. Behind the Rising Sun by Sebastian Okechukwu Mezu was published in 1971, a year after the civil war. Kole Omotoso’s allegorical narration, The Combat, came in 1972; followed by Elechi Amadi’s autobiographical account of the war Sunset in Biafra (1973). Unlike most of those who wrote on the war, Amadi did not support Biafra, but the Federal Government of Nigeria. John Munonye’s A Wreath for the Maidens (1973) and I.N.C. Aniebo’s first novel, The Anonymity of Sacrifice (1974) portray the same issue – death and the futility of war. Flora Nwapa’s Never Again, a satire of the Biafran war efforts, came in 1975. Chukwuemeka Ike’s Sunset at Dawn, Eddie Iroh’s Forty-eight Guns for the General, Isidore Okpewho’s The Last Duty, and Cyprian Ekwensi’s Survive the Peace all came around 1976. Eddie Iroh wrote another war novel, Toads of War, in 1979. Iroh’s episodic style can be contrasted with John Munonye’s broad epic presentations. Among all the writers of the war, Soyinka was exceptional. He did not directly refer to the events of the war, yet his works “represent the largest body of writing inspired by the war” (Ime Ikkideh, as qtd. in Gerard, 1986)”. Soyinka’s The Man Died was published in 1972, followed by Season of Anomy in 1973.

 

Novelists in the second decade after the war include both fiction and non- fiction writers. Among them is Ossie Enekwe whose fictional work, Come Thunder, came in 1984. Other war writers of that decade include Alexander A. Madiebo (The Nigerian Revolution and the Biafran War, 1980), Adewale Ademoyega (Why We Struck, 1981), Ben Gbulie (Nigeria’s Five Majors, 1981), and A.M. Mainasara (The Five Majors: Why They Struck, 1983), all military men discussing their parts in the coups and the war, following. There are also Frederick Forsyth (Emeka, 1982), Kalu Okpi (Biafran Testament, 1982), Victor Nwankwo (The Road to Udima, 1985), Odogwu Bernard (No Place to Hide: Crises and Conflicts inside Biafra, 1985), and Joe Achuzia (Requiem Biafra, 1986).

The third decade did not produce much work on the war, but, surprisingly, there is a resurgence of ‘Biafra’ from the fourth decade. Novels produced in this period include Emeka Otagburuagu’s Echoes of Violence (2004), Dulue Mbachu’s War Games (2005), Uzodinma Iweala’s Beast of No Nation (2005), Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Ngozi Ogbonna’s The Nigerian Civil War: Personal Experiences of a Student Nurse (2008). Right now, a few years into the fifth decade, writers and analysts are still enthusiastic to recount and analyze the ‘Biafran’ story. With the death, on 26 November 2011, of Emeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu, the Biafran military leader who executed the war, some writers seem to be even more inclined to reflect on the War. Achebe’s recent work, There was a Country (2012), among other treatises, bears testimony of this.

It is remarkable that most writers who have written about the Nigeria-Biafra War belong to area of the defunct Republic of Biafra, the present southeast and south- south region of Nigeria, who are predominantly Igbos. The explanation is that it is these people who bore the brunt of the war; their homes were the battlegrounds. It is

 

therefore only natural that they would make more emotional and psychic meanings out of the events that preceded, postdated and went on during the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War. Hence, the four novels analyzed in this research are works of authors from this area of Nigeria.

 

 

Statement of the Problem

 

There is a dearth of studies on the stylistic-linguistic analysis of the Nigeria- Biafra War novels. Previous studies on the war novels have been in forms of literary criticism, largely focusing on issues of theme, plot, authorship, and characterization. Stylistic-linguistic examinations in such works are relegated to the background. For instance, Emenyonu’s article on some Nigeria-Biafra War novels only has this to say about Nwapa’s use of language: “The style is plain and ordinary, devoid of imagery or any form of linguistic manipulation” (96). No further effort is made to give details. Readers of analytical works have often yearned for more details on certain stylistic- linguistic issues raised in the texts analyzed. Ebeogu, for example, has regretted that Ogonna Agu’s essay, “Songs and War: the Mixed Messages of Biafran War Songs”, “allows little room for a detailed stylistic scholarship, and the reader is left somewhat disappointed that certain fundamental stylistic factors that are raised … cannot be pursued in the same breath” (127).

Other instances abound where readers have been left disappointed about issues of language left unattended to in literary analysis. This situation is worrisome because no text exists without language. It is only through a close scrutiny of the language of the text that the text’s precise/ retrievable meanings, values, emotions and truths – all that the text embody – could be revealed. Again, in an environment like Nigeria, where English is used as a second language, any detailed stylistic-linguistic study of

 

literary texts written in English usually provides practical opportunities for active language learning, for the comprehension and interpretation of texts, and the composition of one’s own original texts. Hence, such researches should be of primary interest to students and teachers of English. The neglect of this highly valued stylistic- linguistic aspect of the Nigeria-Biafra War novels, therefore, makes imperative the present study, in order to fill this gap.

Furthermore, the importance of the Nigeria-Biafra War novels is seen in the growing number of these texts, which even after forty years of the War are still being written and published. These texts, through their art, seem to provide the much- needed psychological and socio-political healing to Nigerians and Nigeria after the damages of the War. There is, then, the necessity to study carefully and analyze properly these novels, to harness their intrinsic elements.

In addition to the above, there are perspectives of the Nigeria-Biafra War novels which needed to be clarified. For example, writers like Feuser and Iroh were of the opinion (in the 1980s) that “time” might have a role to play in the shaping of the “art” of the Nigerian-Biafra War novelists. For them, the war writings done immediately after the War might not be the same with those writings done a generation later. Feuser puts it thus: “[I]t will probably take another generation to come to terms fully with the past, be it politically or artistically” (150). For Iroh, “we express sentiments now because we remember it so closely, but I believe the greater work about the war is yet to come – an unbiased, total assessment of the whole tragedy – and it will be necessary (cited in Feuser 150). The authenticity of these predictions needed to be confirmed. Also of interest is the fact that the novels comprise both male and female writers. This seems to have implications in the nature

 

of the stylistic-linguistic elements seen in the war novels. All these issues constitute the problem which this study is meant to tackle.

 

 

Purpose of the Study

 

The main purpose of this study includes:

 

  1. To identify the commonalities of linguistic features in the war novels

 

  1. To determine the degree to which the field (war/military) has affected the military registers of the
  2. To determine the stylistic/ linguistic differences between the male versus the female writers
  3. To identify any marked stylistic difference(s) between the earlier and the more recent war

 

 

Research Questions

 

The following research questions will, therefore, guide this study:

 

  1. What are the dominant stylistic-linguistic features found in the war novels under study?
  2. How has the field (war/military) affected the vocabulary (registers) of the writers?

 

  1. What is unique about the stylistic/ linguistic devices of the female war authors in comparison with the male war authors?
  2. How has time/period (age of the work) affected the linguistic orientation of the war novels?

 

Significance of the Study

 

This study is significant in several ways:

 

  1. It will serve as resource material to learners of English as second language needing to understand the art of creative compositions. In the same vein, teachers of language and literature can, drawing samples from this study, demonstrate to their students how works can be analysed using the stylistic- linguistic
  2. It will assist stylistic, linguistic and literary scholars to further appreciate the expanding frontiers of stylistics as a discipline. The eclectic procedures adopted in the study, with a strong anchor in text linguistics, will help in fostering the spirit of stylistic ecumenism, and contribute towards a rethink of the divisions between linguistic and literary modes of stylistics.
  3. Global leaders training for communication/stylistic/rhetorical skills will find this study invaluable. Campbell and Huxman, for example, believe that a rhetorical art (an essential for rhetorical leadership) “involves the description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of persuasive uses of language” (5). The many stylistic/ linguistic devices exposed and described in the war texts would serve as samples in the learning of creative, stylistic, and persuasive skills of
  4. In the field of mass communication, this study, through its interpretative analysis, can be used to teach students the skill of text-editing and meaning synthesis.
  5. Security and forensic agents can also apply the stylistic-linguistic principles, exhibited in this study, in the detection of fraudulent mails, example the 419 scams.

 

  1. The war registers and language found in the novels will help linguists to develop further the military ESP (English for Special Purposes).
  2. The study will provide a good source of information to many Nigerians and non-Nigerians seeking to learn more about the events and experiences of the 1967-1970 Nigeria-Biafra War. By extension, the work will help to deter readers from such practices capable of plunging communities/ nations into war. In this regard, Emezue, among others writers, has advocated that Nigeria- Biafra War literatures be properly studied and carefully analysed (2).
  3. Youths needing insights into human behavior and ethical leadership, especially in times of crisis, will find this study
  4. Nigerian linguists, culture experts and translators searching for new insights into the National Language question in Nigeria will find useful the aspects of this work dealing with code-switching, transliteration and Nigerian expressions
  5. Generally, this kind of analysis could be learnt and applied in many different situations and fields, for problem-solving. So the study is highly

Theoretical Perspective

 

This sub-section has discussed the theories of stylistics under two main umbrellas: text-oriented and context-oriented stylistics.

 

 

Text-oriented Stylistics

 

Considering the flexible use of terms in language, an attempt shall be made to state what is meant by ‘text’, here. Borrowing from Halliday and Hassan, ‘text’ is “any passage, spoken or written, of whatever length, that does form a unified whole”,

 

defined by “relations of meaning” or by cohesion and register (14, 23). The term, ‘text-oriented’ stylistics, therefore, refers to stylistic practices/analyses that pay more attention to issues of linguistic form rather than contextual or thematic issues raised in a text. As mentioned above, ‘text-oriented’ stylistics can be equated to ‘linguistic’ stylistics. Its main theories have gone from formalist, mentalist, to text-linguistic stylistics.

The term ‘formalist stylistics’, as Zyngier states, is preferable to that generally called ‘linguistic stylistics’. To support this, she purports that if Halliday (1967) points out that stylistics is the linguistic study of literary texts, then calling it ‘linguistic’ would be a tautology (369). Formalist stylistics, for Zyngier, is the grandchild of Russian formalism and an offspring of structuralism. According to Stockwell, Russian formalism and their practitioners were branded formalists by their detractors (744). Formalist stylistics came into being as a number of radical analysts from the tradition of practical criticism (formalism) resorted to aspects of linguistics in search of a detail practical criticism did not offer. Their strategy was to concentrate on the text as an object and their main interests remained on the formalistic and mechanical description of patterns of phonology, lexis and syntax at sentence level (Zyngier 369). Formalist stylistics has been criticized for disregarding the way literature functions in context (Mackay 81-93). For formalist stylisticians, literature is not a living discipline, it is stone dead, only marks on paper, or particular frequencies of sound wave, or the visual and aural phenomena at a dramatic performance, or in poetry, the lines and nothing else (Sinclair 98-99). Hence, critics, like Mackay, have resumed attacks on stylistics (in the manner of Stanley Fish’s 1973 criticism of stylistics), based on the practice of formalist stylistics.

 

Since formalist stylistics originates from formalism and structuralism, the two schools of analysis will be briefly surveyed below.

Formalism is an interpretive approach that emphasizes the ‘form’ of the text. In the age of Positivist philosophy in the 1920s, the question of the ‘nature’ of literature, not just the ‘utilitarian’ view became of interest to linguistic scholars. In that age, as Akwanya purports, grammar became a positive science and with it the study of literary texts, which are linguistic constructions (131). The two concepts of ‘defamiliarization’ and ‘literariness’ were then the concerns of analysts. The former deals with “the particular ways in which words are used in the text of literature, and the deviations they are subjected to” (Akwanya 118), while the latter refers to the structure and elements of the text objectively analysed (Akwanya 118). As Brewton puts it, “formalism, like structuralism, seeks to place the study of literature on a scientific basis through objective analysis of the motifs, devices, techniques, and other ‘functions’ that comprise the literary work”. Formalism studies the devices of literature, like traditional rhetoric, but unlike in rhetoric, these devices are not meant to give pleasure and to persuade, they are in themselves the object of study, meant to be understood, in order to understand the principles behind their use. Hence, formalism is sometimes referred to as the ‘new criticism’, indicating a break with traditional methods. Some of the well known Russian formalist critics are Roman Jakobson and Viktor Shklovsky. However, the American universities of the 1930s and 40s helped to a large extent in developing this area(s) of analysis.

In structuralism, which is an off-shoot of formalism, the ideas of the Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure, plays a dominant role. Saussure regards the signifier (words, marks, symbols) as arbitrary and unrelated to the concept to which it referred (the signified). Within the way a particular society uses language and signs, meaning

 

is constituted by a system of ‘differences’ between units of the language. This means that particular meanings are of less interest than the underlying structures of signification that make meaning itself possible, often expressed as an emphasis on ‘langue’ rather than ‘parole’. Structuralism, thus, becomes a metalanguage (a language about languages) used to decode actual languages, or systems of signification.

Other prominent structuralists include Claude Levi-Strauss, Tzvetan Todorov,

 

A.J. Greimas, Gerard Genette, and Roland Barthes. In Levi-Strauss’s structural anthropology, the two parts of structural analysis – constituent structure and transformations – are shown. One notion of structuralism ‘literary structuralism’ is that developed by Barthes. It focuses on the constructional format of the sentence – the subject, predicate, noun, verb, etc, analysis of the sentence. These categories, renamed noun phrase (NP), verb phrase (VP) by Chomsky, have provided a rigid frame for looking at sentences. For Barthes, there is a relationship between the sentence and the narrative. In explaining this, Akwanya has asserted, “The same way a sentence is analyzed into a subject and a predicate , so does discourse involve verbs in all their categories, as well as subjects of operation, as characters (134). Barthes is a key figure on the divide between structuralism and poststructuralism.

Poststructuralism, as a theoretical movement, seems to be less unified than its precursor, structuralism. The works of the advocates of post-structuralism are known by the term ‘deconstruction’, and it calls into question the possibility of the coherence of discourse, or the capacity for language to communicate. ‘Deconstruction’, ‘semiotic theory’ (a study of signs with close connections to structuralism), ‘reader response theory’ in America/ ‘reception theory’ in Europe (chief proponents, Stanley Fish, Jane Tompkins, and Wolfgang Iser) and ‘gender

 

theory’ (informed by the psychoanalysts Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva) are areas of inquiry located under the banner of ‘poststructuralism’. If signifier and signified are both cultural concepts, as they are perceived in poststructuralism or deconstruction, the argument, then, is that this loss of reference causes an endless deferral of meaning (a system of differences between units of language). This would mean that language has no resting place, or final signifier that would enable the other signifiers to hold their meaning. Hence, Jacques Derrida, the most important theorist of deconstruction, asserts: “There is no getting outside text,” indicating a kind of free play of signification in which no fixed, stable meaning is reached. Barthes, similarly, applies these currents of thought in his famous declaration of the “death” of the author: “writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin” (cited by Brewton, web).

Mentalist stylistics (the theory of transformational grammar) is interested in discovering how the surface structure reflects the deep structure of particular poems (Thorne 44). For Roger Fowler, surface structure is ‘the observable, or the expressive, layer of the sentence’, while the deeper level is ‘the structure of meaning which is being expressed; while we experience surface structure directly, we retrieve deep structure or meaning by a complex act of decoding (cited in Akwanya 148). While structural linguistics is concerned with the components of the narrative and their cohesive techniques, the mentalists investigate the origin of the components themselves. The mentalists regard the narrative as a ‘surface’manifestations of the work of ‘deeper’ simpler elements. It is these simple elements (now lost after the work is finished) that the deep structure analysis tries to reconstitute. Thus, the analysis can be regarded as a search into the ‘origin’ of a ‘given’ work, concerned with “unveiling the structural frame where insertions, movements, embellishments

 

take place” (Akwanya 147). The most important data for mentalist stylistics are responses relating to what is intuitively known about language structure. The transformational grammarians (mentalists) criticize the formalists for being concerned only with the surface structure; whereas, as they believe, stylistic judgements belong to ‘deep structure’. This ‘mentality’ has, however, been criticized by several writers. Cook, for instance, points out, that the metaphors ‘deep’ and ‘surface’ are pejorative; surface is associated with ‘trivial, false and empty-headed’, whereas deep is ‘serious, genuine and thoughtful’ (71). Toolan criticizes mentalist stylistics for being too narrow and for following the “microlinguistic turn of generativism” (2).

‘Algebraic’ linguistics is a product of the mentalist tradition. It is the formalization (mechanization) of the determination of syntactic structure. Just as mathematical logic, regarded for years as the most abstract and abstruse scientific discipline became overnight an essential tool for the designer and programmer of the digital computer, so algebraic linguistics regarded for years as the most abstract and speculative branch of linguistics is now considered by many a must for the designer of automatic translation routines (Bar-Hillel 2).

  1. Ajdukiewicz (1935) and R. Carnap (1937) started working on the logical syntax of language even before Noam Chomsky. There were other authors like Z.S. Harris, C.F. Hockett, L. Hjelmslev and H. Udall, all structural linguists, who being more and more conscious of the syntactic theory deliberately gave their theory an algebraic look. It was E.L. Post (1943) who succeeded in formally assimilating ‘rules of formation’ to ‘rules of deduction’ which paved the way for the application of the powerful theory of recursive functions, a branch of mathematical logic to all ordinary languages viewed as combinatorial systems (Bar-Hillel 1). However, Chomsky’s investigations on linguistic structures were unlike all these models. Chomsky’s model

 

(1957) exhibited a degree of testability which was unheard of before that. Bar-Hillel, in the quotation below, gives a modified view of Chomsky’s phrase structure grammar:

…a context-free phrase structure grammar, a CF grammar for short, may be defined, again in slight variation from Chomsky’s original definition, as an ordered quadruple <V,T,S,P>, where V is the (total) vocabulary, T (the terminal vocabulary) is a subset of V, S (the initial symbol) is a distinguished element of V–T (the auxillary vocabulary), and P is a finite set of production rules of the form X→x, where XεV– T and x is a string over V. (4).

It has been proved that for each CF grammar, there exists a weakly equivalent restricted categorical grammar and vice versa (Bar-Hillel 4).

Text linguistics, an eclectic type of the text-oriented stylistics, developed around the 1970s. Like formalist stylistics, it is concerned with form, but unlike formalist stylistics, it sees the text as a unit of discourse, not as a string of sentences. Hence, as Van Dijk states, text linguists may study narrative organization, intersentential cohesion and levels of meaning to point out “textual macrostructure” (cited in Zyngier: 2001). In text linguistics, the term, ‘discourse’ (instances of written language; not including instances of spoken language) also comes into the picture. Text linguists place their work on the level of discourse, where the two terms, ‘text’ and ‘discourse’, are regarded as equivalent. Both mean “a continuous stretch of language larger than a sentence…” (Nunan 5). To other linguists, however, discourse implies the interpretation of the communicative event in context (Nunan 6-7). The method of analysis employed in this study relies mainly on the text linguistic theory;

 

hence, the subject of text linguistics shall be dealt with in greater detail in Chapter Three (Methodology).

 

 

Context-oriented Stylistics

 

‘Context’ is defined here as “the extra-linguistic situation” (Bataineh 6). The context-oriented stylistics refers to the sub-types of stylistics which are not only interested in the language of a given text, but are also interested in the non-linguistic or experiential situations surrounding the text (Zyngier 371). As Zyngier further states, contextualized stylistics is an umbrella term which refers to all those approaches which consider literature as an event within a specific situation. The context-oriented stylistics includes pragmatic, radical, empirical/critical, and pedagogical stylistics.

Pragmatic stylistics, for instance, looks at everyday conversation as a means to understand literary discourse. Leech describes pragmatic stylistics as the tendency to consider the text from an interactive point of view (cited in Zyngier 371). For Fowler, illocutionary and pragmatic theory leads us to study explicitly manipulative constructions such as imperatives, interrogatives, responses, etc. (at a more superficial side of linguistics). It also deals, at a more abstract level (literary theory and analysis), with implicature, presupposition, and other assumptions (1979, 15).

Radical stylistics (another instance of context) searches for the ideological imprint of the text. The term ‘radical’ was coined in 1982 by D. Burton. Like pragmatic stylistics, radical stylistics goes beyond the text into the social, political and historical forces influencing its production and reception. Stylisticians who propose for the radical analysis of literary works include T. Eagleton, 1983; M.L. Pratt, 1989;

  1. Birch, 1989; G. Graff, 1990; A. Durrant and N. Fabb, 1990; W. van Peer, 1991;

 

and M. Montgomery. In the opinion of Peer “textuality is partly a linguistic characteristic and partly the result of socio-cultural forces which provide the text its place and function within society as a whole” (30). In his own argument, Birch has stated that stylistics is “a study not just of structures of language and texts, but of the people and institutions that shape the various ways language means (167)”.

Empirical/ critical stylistics has been described as the approach that best accommodates developments in linguistic, literary and culture theories (Zyngier 372). It is the offspring of Empirical Study of Literature (ESL) which began in Germany in 1973. One of the main propositions of ESL is the idea that text-meaning is not an intrinsic property of the physical text; meaning is created in the process of response. About this view of critical stylistics, Schmidt holds that,

…texts are no longer regarded as autonomous entities but always in relation to those actions which are necessarily performed by agents within the system of literature [–]…the roles of producing, mediating, receiving and post-processing [–] those actions, objects, or events which are considered literary by agents according to the norms internalized by the agents. (1982, 243)

Here, ‘production’ refers to authors, ‘mediation’, to books and publishers; ‘reception’, to readers, and post-processing, to critics. Hence, empirical stylistics goes hand in hand with developments in linguistic, literary and cultural theories. The inter- disciplinary nature of stylistics is highly portrayed in empirical stylistics.

Pedagogical stylistics, mainly developed by H.G. Widdowson, R. Carter, and

 

  • Long, is aimed at using literature for the teaching of language. A web document, ‘Lecture 2’, has asserted that this kind of stylistics alerts students to the way language works; stimulates them to exercise and develop their own creativity, and helps them ‘deautomatize’ their own language (being consciously creative) and thus more persuasive in their writing and speaking. More recently, the emphasis is on sensitizing students to the use of metalanguage in literature. Metalanguage is a professional ‘linguistic’ language for discussing language. It draws from developments in Language Awareness and Critical Discourse Analysis to help students verbalize the ideological implications of linguistic choices.

The walls of separation which have customarily existed between textual and contextual theories are virtually collapsing in the practice of stylistics today. Stylistics as a discipline today is building bridges across many disciplines; hence its methodologies have gone from the monolithic to the pluralistic. This implies that any researcher in the field of stylistics must be largely eclectic in his/her approach.

The Audience for the Study

The audience for this study includes budding scholars of stylistics, linguistics and literary criticism, who can apply similar principles employed in this research in their interpretation of literary texts. Learners of English as second language are also among the targeted audience. Through analysis like this, they understand how language works and learn to use it more creatively for different communication purposes. In this regard, global scholars/ leaders training for rhetorical/stylistic- linguistic arts are also potential audience for the study. Other potential audience for this work includes: the media practitioners who ‘constructs’ and ‘deconstructs’ news; security officials working with forensic evidence; Nigerian linguists and culture experts working on multilingualism, culture-synthesis and the National Language Question in Nigeria; military personnel eager to discover their particular

 

terminologies; all readers of texts written in English; translators; and any Nigerian or non-Nigerian who wants to learn more about the Nigeria-Biafra War novels.

Delimitations

 

This study is concerned with only the novels written about the Nigeria-Biafra War. Plays or poems on the War are not included, except where they have been analyzed along with some war novels, as seen in some reviews in Chapter Two. The field of stylistic-linguistics is the study’s main interest. The study’s method of analysis has emphasized the text linguistic theory. The design is the descriptive survey, which has relied on stylistic-linguistic categories adapted from Leech and Short (1995). The nature of this study has given rise to the choice of this methodology, which belongs to the qualitative and not the quantitative type of research. The sample texts being analysed provide the primary data for the analysis, unlike in quantitative analysis, where the data is obtained through questionnaires distributed in the field.

 

 

Limitations of the Study

 

A common problem experienced in most stylistic-linguistic analyses is that formal structures of any text are too many and complex. Any detailed study in this field, therefore, produces a mass of data, in such areas as lexis, grammar, foregrounding, cohesion and context. This becomes cumbersome to the researcher and perhaps unpalatable to the reader. About this situation, Fowler has commented:

“…this grubbing out of facts is the least of the services of linguistics to the study of literature. Some of it may be invaluable in certain facets of literary history. But the difficulty of the exposition, the unfamiliarity

 

and chaotic documentation of the method will seem to inhibit immediacy of contact between critical mind and text. (27)

One method the researcher has used in controlling this problem has been to limit her analysis to just four Nigeria-Biafra War novels. While this reduces the quantum of data and analysis, it ensures thoroughness in scrutinizing the novels.

Another limitation experienced in this study is the lack of practical scholarly examples (works which have done something similar) from which to borrow ideas – both in the area of the war novels and in the area of text linguistics. No meaningful study found in the area of the Nigeria-Biafra War novel has addressed the subject of stylistic /linguistics. Again, most books on text linguistics are not easy to come by. Though the internet has helped in sourcing a reasonable number of materials, yet some of the internet resources have not been very extensive or intensive in treating the topics.

There is also the issue of the vastness of the field of stylistics; it is hard to limit the area of operation of this field. There are variations of techniques and terminologies and a reasonable freedom in their use. It becomes difficult to tell, for instance, what is meant by ‘text linguistics’ in a particular work until the work is read. ‘Text’ may mean a book, and the text linguist becomes, for example, the writer or reader; or it can mean ‘text grammar’, where the rules of grammar are checked, or ‘newspaper editing’, or it can mean a synchronic or diachronic account of some events. Fowler (1979) has observed this problem as it concerns the use of the term, “Linguistic Analysis”:

A linguistic analysis of a literary text could, judging by some precedents, be exclusively grammatical, or metrical, or lexical, or

 

phonetic, and, whichever of these emphases governs it, it could use the language of any of a number of existing forms of linguistics. (2)

For Adejare, this is a case of lack of scientificity and precision for the concept of style or stylistics (2-3). Hence, some scholars, according to Adejare, have asserted that it is impossible to analyze style.

However, notwithstanding these limitations, the present researcher believes that the study and analysis of style are inevitable, for they are the only way that the full potentials of a literary text could be harnessed, and the text’s precise meanings revealed. Because the study of style and language encourages creativity, individuality and originality, many analysts in this area, intentionally or unintentionally, choose methodologies that are creative too.

Finally, this study may be misrepresenting, unintentionally, some writers or scholars whose works have been consulted in

 

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