A SOCIO-PRAGRAMATIC STUDY OF AMA ATTA AIDOO’S CHANGES AND CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE’S HALF OF A YELLOW SUN
Gender and language differences are integral field of study in sociolinguistics that accounts for the way language is used in the society and the choices people make when speaking. This is usually complemented by pragmatics. A number of studies have been done on gender and language differences, however, there appears to be inadequate research on the socio-pragmatic investigation of gender and language differences in these African literary texts; Ama Atta Aidoo’s Change and Chimamanda N. Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and applying Speech Acts and Mood system as analytical tool of study. Therefore, the study investigated the language differences of both genders and how they relate to context in the selected texts.
The study employed both the qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis to foreground the differences in the language choices of both. Using the purposive random sampling technique, a total of twenty inter-gender dialogues were selected from Ama Atta Aidoo’s Changes and Chimamanda N. Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. For data analysis, the research employed Speech Acts by J. L. Austin and J. Searle and Mood Systems tool as propounded by M.A.K Halliday.
Findings showed diverse language features in utterances made by male and female interlocutors in the selected African texts. It was discovered that within the socio-cultural context of love, marriage and family events, men and women language differed. In Changes, male interlocutors used more indicative interrogatives, directives, tag questions and minimal responses while female interlocutors used more indicative declaratives, imperatives, assertives and expressives hedges, polite expressions and intensifiers. In Half of a Yellow Sun, male interlocutors used more indicative declaratives, commissives, expressives, intensifiers, vernacular, polite expressions and hedges while female interlocutors used more indicative interrogatives, assertives, directives, tag questions and minimal responses. Within physical, socio-cultural and psychological contexts as identified in the texts, it was discovered that socio-cultural context dominates the texts in form of marriage and family events.
The study concluded that males interrogate more while females expressed more of simple, polite but emphatic sentences. However, the study discovered that context is the ultimate determinant of human language choices.
Keywords: Gender, Speech Acts, Mood System, Inferior Language and Superior Language