Varieties of English Language in three Selected Nigerian Novels

Varieties of English Language in three Selected Nigerian Novels

Abstract

This study investigates varieties of English language in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, Kaine Agary’s Yellow Yellow and Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. The study was motivated having studied the controversy of which language is to be used in defining and writing of African/Nigerian novels that was triggered off at the 1962 African Writers Conference held at Makerere University in Kampala. This study therefore, is a linguistic search to identify the language use in writing Nigerian novels, the reason(s) for using such language, unveil the different varieties of English language used in writing the Nigerian novel and give reasons for using such variety(ies) The study applied the integrational theory of linguistic variability and variation theory using qualitative descriptive research design to analyse the novels. The procedure for analysis was to extract the conversations of characters from the selected novels and indicate the variety of such excerpts. The study reveals that the moment a language leaves its original domain, there are bound to be variations that accounts for varieties of that language depending on the geographical location, education, religion, age, sex and interference of the user. The study reveals broad varieties and sub-varieties of English language used in these novels. They are: Standard British, American and Nigerian English varieties. Nigerian novelists have employed different varieties of the English language to distinguish between different characters based on the geographical region, education, age, religion and interference of the characters and to reveal the peculiarities of the Nigerian people based on the socio-cultural setting of the environment. The study maintains that the English language should be continuously used in writing the Nigerian novel hence it cuts across the globe but can be altered to suit the social cultural setting of the people. Consequently, this study will be useful to Nigerian creative writers that have no cultural knowledge of their environment. Again, the work will be of immense benefit as a resource material to researchers in Arts and Humanities who seek to explore language variation in other Nigerian\African novels and also as a guide to philologists in Nigerian English.