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This study, MALE & FEMALE DISCOURSE HABITS IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS AND HABIB YAKOOB’S THE UGLY ONES REFUSE TO DIE contains concise information that will serve as a framework or guide for your project work. The project study is well-researched for academic purposes and are usually provided in complete chapters with adequate References.





Men and women are not only physically different; differences exist in the ways they converse too. Observations about the differences have long been made but restricted to only morphology in many languages. Feminist movement in 1960s observed that language is one of the tools for women oppression by men. Language usage reflects a patriarchal system and emphasizes male supremacy over females. Most works which analyse language use during conversations were produced by men. Labov’s work (1972a, 1972b) for instance describes mostly the speech of men. Conclusion that people speak based on their sex i.e. their gender affects the way they talk during conversation was reached. As a result, women researchers started looking at how linguistic codes are transmitted based  on gender in 1970s.

This project studies two texts, Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus (2004) and Yakoob Habib’s The ugly ones refuse to die (2012).

1.1       LANGUAGE

The origin of the human language has continued to bea controversialissue among scholars. According to Akindele & Adegbite (2005), no one can certainly explain the origin of human language. It has for long been a debatable issue among various scholars. It has been a subject of study for over two centuries.  There are over 5000 languages spoken in the world today. Scholars have grouped them into about twenty families. Languages are connected to one another by shared words, sounds, pronunciation and grammatical expressions. It has been observed that the members of each linguistic family have descended from one ancestor. Some people have traced the origin of the human language to Adam. They believe since Adam gave names to the animals, he was also responsible for the construction of the first language which has now been transformed into many forms.

The human language is characterized by sounds produced from the vocal cords which can be decoded. These sounds are produced by the human organs of speech- lips, tongue, teeth, larynx, pharynx, lungs etc. The sounds produced by the organs of speech are used in different ways although their combinations are rule governed. Language is however, human phenomenon that can be described and analysed in terms of sounds, morphemes, words, phrases, sentences and paragraph or conversation. Sounds in language are connected meaningfully to make expressions.

Human language is distinct and unique. It is made up of its own rules, structure and pattern. There is a special way the component units of the language are organized into meaningful pattern. This means that there are rules governing the organization of sentences. Such rules include tense, concord etc.

Language is composed by the combination of arbitrary symbols. There is no direct correspondence between the object and symbol which represent it. There is no correlation between the referents and what is being referred to. That is, there is nothing on the part of the object that makes it to be called the name it is known to be. For instance, the word “pen” in English does not mean that there is something significant about it that makes it to be called “pen”. What is referred to as pen is called “jiigi” in Yoruba. This buttresses the point that there is an arbitrary relationship between the objects and the names given to them.

Human language is conventionally acquired. The symbols acquire their meanings based on written or oral agreement between people in a society. The word “book” in English for instance was coined for the object it is used to refer to not because there is something “bookish” about it but because the English Society agreed to call the object, book. The same object called book in English is referred to as “iwe” in Yoruba.

Language is transmitted culturally. It is a major part of culture. Language reflects the culture of a given people. Language is learned just as culture itself is learned. Language can be facilitated and aided through direct and indirect acculturation. No one is born with language although every human being has innate capability to learn language. The language is learnt as a result of contact with people in the society. A child learning language is influenced by people in his environment i.e. he uses language the way members of his society use it.

Language is productive and creative. Words, sentences, discourse etc. are derived out of the limited letters of the alphabets. Various literary works have been produced with those letters too. Limitless and uncountable expressions can be generated from the alphabet. This is unlike the sounds made by animals- roaring of lion, bleating of sheep, neighing of horse, screaming of eagle which is fixed. The sounds made by animals can be predicted unlike the human language. Language is a powerful tool of communication in the human environment. It is used to communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings, experiences and personal psychology. The functions language performs in human society are limitless.


Language exists in a sociological setting; it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There is usually a connection between language, culture and the society. In the next three paragraphs, the relationship between language and culture will be discussed.

Culture is the total way of life. Culture reflects the ways of people’s life. According to Akindele and Adegbite (2005), language is connected to culture in three major ways. First, it is the aspect of culture- one of the very many objects and institutions of culture. Second, language is an instrument of thought. It helps to concretize thoughts and also to explore, discover, extend and record the experience in a culture. Third, language expresses culture. It is the only way by which the social experiences and values of a group of people are perceived and understood.

The psychological, social and physical aspects of the members of the environment are reflected in language. One can easily detect the environment a person comes from or grew up in due to the way he uses language. Language use is reflected through culture.

Kinship vocabulary reflects the system of a society. The terms used to refer to members of the family gives information about the culture of the people. In English communities for instance, family relationships are signalled by mono-vocabulary items: daughter, son, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunty, nephew, niece, husband, wife, grandfather, grandmother etc. In Yoruba, kin relationship is signalled by father, mother, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather and no distinction is made between uncle, aunt, nephew, niece and cousin. This shows the difference between English and Yoruba community.

One area culture reflects on how people use language is in the aspect of taboo. Taboos are the don’t(s) of a culture. Some parts of culture are handled with carefulness, sometimes because they are seen as being immoral or unacceptable. However, how these taboos are taken differ from one culture to another. What is regarded as being forbidden in culture “A” might be acceptable in culture “B”. The values and beliefs of people reflect in the way they use some words in the language. The Yoruba people for instance believe that there is a supernatural connection between a king which is referred to as “Oba” and the position he holds. As a result of this, if a king dies in Yoruba land, it is a taboo to say the king died – Oba ku instead ,you say “Oba waja”. It is forbidden in English to use words like “fuck”, “cunt” etc. Societies reflect in language although social change is gradually erasing these taboos.


There are two major forms of language namely; the written form and the spoken or speech form. Writing is a tidied, relatively contained form of communication. Writing is a deliberate exercise involving physical, psychological and mental process. The spoken form is regarded as secondary. This is because man first learnt how to speak before he learnt to write later in his civilization. Similarly, every child first learns how to speak before he is later thought how to write probably in school. In Africa, for instance, the languages were spoken for many centuries before the intervention of the colonial masters which resulted in reducing language into writing; they invented the letters of the alphabet.

Writing is usually permanent. The written texts cannot be changed or edited once they have been printed out. Speech is usually transient unless it is recorded. Speakers can correct themselves and change their utterances where necessary. A written text serves a long term purpose; it can communicate across the time and space for as long as it is relevant, important and understandable. Speech serves an immediate or instant function. It is used for immediate interactions. Sometimes, it can be difficult to quote a spoken expression verbatim except it is recorded but this is possible in writing.

A written language is usually more complex and full of stringed ideas – complex sentences with many subordinate clauses than the speech. This is so because the readers of the written texts can always refer to their dictionary for meanings of words. They can also take time to break down the complex sentences to their best understanding but this is not possible in the spoken form of language. However, some forms of written language such as instant messages and emails are closer to spoken language. Spoken language is characterized by repetitions, incomplete sentences, corrections and interruptions. The case of formal speeches is different. In written language, the author organized himself well and avoids unnecessary repetitions or broken syntax.

Writers do not receive instant feedback or response from their readers except in computer-based communication or a classroom situation where the teacher marks essays of the students and return immediately. It therefore means that writers cannot rely or depend on situation to clarify things. A writer needs to be clear and precise in his writing for his readers to understand him well. Speech is usually a dynamic interaction between two or more people. Context and shared idea of the participants play a major role in the speech form of language. Writers make use of punctuation, headings, colours, boldness of letters, layout d other graphical effects in their written texts but this is not possible in the spoken medium of language. Instead, we may have timing, tone, volume, etc.

Written texts can be read continuously and repeatedly, this enables the writers to use as many complex and difficult expressions as possible and as the text entails. In speech, the speaker has to be patient and be careful with his words so that his listeners can understand and decode what he is saying easily without having to repeat himself. Although in recorded speech, the case is different since the listeners can play it as many times as possible.

Written texts are always formal. As a result, formal words are mostly used when writing. In spoken language, slangs are used. In the spoken form of language, vocatives are used. Vocatives are the names or titles of the people interacting in a speech situation. The names of interactants are called from time to time to call their attention to the speaker. In public speech, the use of vocatives will be part of the protocol- Mr. Chairman, guest of honour, gentlemen of the press, distinguished callers, ladies, and gentlemen etc. In personal conversation, the calling of names or titles of the fellow interlocutor is one of the freedoms the interlocutors exercise. In written form, this is not found except in written works that will later be said or spoken. Writing as a mode is usually associated with formal communication, even though we distinguish between formal and informal writings. The writer exercises freedom to choose his diction without the fear of not being understood by the readers because the latter can always turn to the dictionary for help. Speech is usually characterized by informal words and expression. This is because speech is mostly used in informal interaction. Words like fridge instead of refrigerator, jalopy instead of old car, dad instead of daddy etc. are used in speech.

Speech is characterized by prosodic features. Prosodic features are the supra-segmental features of language. This includes – loudness, stress, intonation, rhythm, rhyme, alliteration etc. In writing, what we have is graphological features – punctuation (comma, full stop, semi colon etc.), underlining, capitalization, italicization etc.

Having discussed the between differences between written and spoken forms of language, one can tell which is more preferable between the two forms. However, this is only possible based on what it is being used for. The function to be performed dictates the form to be used at different time.

Language cannot be separated from man. If there is no language, it means there is no man because members of a society communicate their needs, feelings, attitudes and experiences to people. No wonder, when people of different background and culture meet, they find it difficult to communicate with one another as a result of their differences. Language reflects every aspect of human’s life. Culture, social background, emotional statues, race, educational background, statues, etc are reflected in language.

1.4       STYLE

Style can be defined as the manner of doing or presenting things. Style can be applied to anything. It is possible to associate a form of dressing style, eating style, talking type, greeting type etc to a person or group of people. There is architectural style i.e. the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable. One may also talk of fashion style which means the prevailing mode of clothing style.

The style being referred to here is language and textual presentation i.e. how language is used to present a text. It refers to deliberate or motivated manipulation of the language resources to achieve a particular goal or structural effect. Style is the way language is handled in discourse presentation.

Style is the way a writer writes and it is the technique which an individual author uses in writing. The techniques deployed by authors differ. Style varies from one author to another and depends on one’s syntax word choice, tone etc. there are four different basic literary styles used in writing — Epistolary, Descriptive, Persuasive and Narrative. These styles distinguish the work of different authors from one another.

  1. Epistolary Style

Epistolary style of writing is a subject-oriented style. An epistolary text is written in form of letter. The focus of the writer using this type of writing style is to tell the readers about a specific subject or topic. In the end, the author leaves with his own opinion about the topic.

  1. Descriptive Style

Just as the name entails, this textual style is used to describe an event, a character, place, situation or occurrence in details. It gives full analysis of the subject in question. Sometimes, descriptive writing style could be poetic in nature. The author specifies an event, an object or place rather than merely giving information about an event that has happened. A descriptive text incorporates sensory details. It aims at giving full analysis and description of the “topic” being discussed.

  1. Persuasive Style

Persuasive style of writing is a type of style in which the writer tries to give genuine reasons and justification to make the readers believe or accept his point of view. This style used to persuade and convince the reader. This type of style is used by politicians during campaigns, advertisers etc.

A persuasive style is used by writers to urge writers to accept and agree with their own opinion about the topic or issue being discussed.

  1. Narrative Style

Narrative style is a type of writing where the writer narrates a story or an occurrence. This could be short stories or novels or novellas or biographies. Some poetries are usually written to narrate experiences. These experiences could be at the warfront, competition etc.

The aim of a narrative writer is to narrate an experience of someone, people or the writer himself.

Style is a means of accommodating our everyday activities, events, thoughts and perception of life.

1.5       STYLISTICS

Stylistics is the combination of the word “style” and “linguistics”. Linguistics is the backbone of stylistics. Just as physics is inconceivable without mathematics, so stylistics cannot exist without linguistics. Stylistics is supported, branded and underpinned by linguistics. One has to be familiar with other branches of linguistics when studying stylistics.

Stylistics is “catholic” and “eclectic”, it is multi or interdisciplinary in nature. It has no clearly defined boundary. Stylistic discussions usually draw from any subject that is relevant to the discussion. Within linguistics itself, stylistic discussions are usually eclectic, drawing from almost every part or aspect of linguistics including grammar, phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics etc.

Stylistics stands between literature and language. It has a foot in literature and a foot in language. Non literary texts could be analysed in stylistics. There is stylistics of preaching, religion, law, advertisement etc. However, the most fundamental is the style of the study of literature.

The preferred object of study in stylistics is literature, whether that be institutionally sanctioned, ‘literature’ as high art or more popular ‘non canonical’ form of writing. There is a connection between stylistics and literature that brings about two important caveats- creativity and innovation in language use. These should not be seen as the exclusive aspect of literary writing. Other caveat is that the technique of stylistic analysis is about deriving insights about linguistic structure and function as they do about understanding literary texts. Linguistics, the backbone of stylistics is sometimes called linguistic studies. It is called that because it borrows many features from science. These features are then borrowed by stylistics. The first of these features is emperism. Anything that is empirical can be verified. Just like science, linguistics verifies everything. Claims in science are based on observation and verification, so also linguistics.

The second feature is objectivity. The humanities emphasise subjective judgement but linguistics has been supported by science in terms of objectivity. The judgement of the reader of the literary work is not based on intuition.

Linguistics is descriptive rather than prescriptive. Like science, linguistics describe ‘how it should be done’, it does not prescribe. The above explained features of linguistics have been borrowed by stylistics and these make the latter dependable on linguistics. These qualities are not found in traditional literature. It has to be noted however, that despite these scientific qualities borrowed by stylistics from linguistic, there are still some aspects of stylistics that have to be analysed subjectively. To analyse a text, one must first enjoy it. Responding to this text enjoyed, one can be intuitive. From this intuition, one can then give an objective response to the text.

One other area stylistics borrows from linguistics is the use of terminologies e.g. noun, main clause, adjective, adverb, root, base, phonology (vowel, consonant, stress, intonation), Grammar (phrase, clause) etc. linguistics gives terms that provide handle for stylistics. With these terms, stylistician can call a spade a spade. For instance, one can pass a judgement on a text saying there are ten adverbs in a sentence or the main clauses in a text are more than the subordinate clauses. This is possible because of the terminology accuracy linguistics has borrowed stylistics.

Stylistics is a method of textual interpretation in which primacy is placed on language. Language is very important to stylisticians. The various patterns, forms and levels that constitute linguistic composition are important index of the function of the text. Stylistics has been considered ä developing and controversial field of study for several decades Crystal and David (1969). The existing approaches to stylistic analysis are numerous and diverse. However, the most important approach to the study of stylistics is choice — The theory of choice.

Choice is fundamental in that it underlies all other theories and approach. There is no theory of style that does not involve choice. Every linguistic act involves choice and choices are made at all levels of language. M. K. Halliday in his “systemic grammar” explains that language structure is the way it is because of the communicative demand the users put into it.

Choice is about option and availability of options. Choice is possible only in a situation where there are options and alternatives. Choice implies that there is more than one option. It makes no sense to talk about choice where only one option is available. The choice of word deployed by authors is the major thing in stylistics. The use of words, phrases, clauses and sentences to bring out intended meaning since stylistics emphasises context while trying to rely on formal linguistics. How has the writer been able to present to us his subject matter or concept? Stylistics aims at answering this question.

Language is used in sequence and an order of element of rules; otherwise the message/utterances will be senseless. Every language has its combinational principle. This principle makes word combination meaningful.

When discussing choice, there are two important axes to be noted — The vertical and horizontal axis. The vertical axis can also be called paradigmatic axis while the horizontal axis is also called syntagmatic axis


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