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Examination the language used by the author in the text “Beast of No Nation” by Uzodinma Iweala

 Format: MS WORD   Chapters: 1-6

 Pages: 65   Attributes: STANDARD RESEARCH

 Amount: 3,000

 Nov 18, 2019 |  05:58 am |  2208



1:1 Background to the study

The everyday use of the term, language invokes several senses. Although there have been many attempts to defines it, no one definition has been able to capture all the essentials of the phenomenon. Language ,therefore has been seen variously as patterned ,social activity of human beings displaying patterns of substances [phonic and at least potentially graphics] from grammar and lexis ]and context Halliday et al[1949:224] Chomsky [1957:13] defined language as a set of sentence, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements .He further claims holds true for all natural languages since  they have a finite number of phonemes and each sentences is representable as a finite sequence of these phonemes. {Sapir 1921} defines language as a purely human and non instinctive method of communicating  ideas ,emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced sounds .This definition reveals that language is concerned with only humans beings and constitute a system of sounds produced by them for communication. Bloom field [1933] says that the totality of the utterances that can be made in a speech community is the language of that speech community. Bloom field’s definition of language focuses on the utterances produced by all the people of a community and hence overlooks writing. He stresses form not meaning as the basis of language.

           In writing, it is however difficult to ascertain what aspects of the bodily movements from the shoulder to the fingers are involved in the production of what is put on paper. In written language therefore, what language users are mostly interested is the interpretation of the marks produced on paper. Even less observable is the perceptual process of reading in the sense organs ,the nervous system and the brain. while the social activities of speaking, listening, writing and reading are basis to the understanding of the use of language ,it  essential characteristics [other than its function ]are clearly demonstrated by considering its tristal system which comprises its phonetics, grammar and semantics. Since language is an evolved system rather than a designed one, the relation of grammar to semantics is then a natural one whereby our interpretation  of experience [thinking with language ]and our interpretation exchanges[acting with language]are coded into the semantic structure. Here in lies the concept of lexico-grammar which in functional terms is one of realization of wording which encodes meaning in language. The term “language” has certain characteristics  that makes its unique. Humans are not unique in the capacity to communicate with one another. Animal communicates with one another too. However there are certain features that distinguish human language from other communication systems. Language is arbitrary, language is grammatical, language is dynamic , language is open ended, language is versatile, language is genetic. All these features makes language very important to humans. The primary function of language is communication. However the communication function of language can be broken into many others all of which are referred to as functions of language. The functions of language includes; communicative functions, physiological function,  phatic functions, identifying  functions reasoning functions.

In this point, the importance of language in literature is analysed because the language used in a particular literature text is the topic of this research work. Sarla santwan ;[2018] an academic at university of Mumbai  defines Literature as  written through the medium of a language.   It is a vehicle to express ones thought, feelings and  imagination and without language , literature cannot be possible.To her, literature also aims at preserving itself for future and this preservation is done through written form of language. Language is indispensable in literature.

Burt smiley [1970] underscore, that literature is language. A true writer’s tone is created out of language just as artists use paint in their works. According to him, language to him language importance to literature is innate.

With the relationship between literature and language being highlighted, it entails that there is a literary language. A literary language is the form of a language used in literary writing .It can be either a non-standard dialect or a standardized variety of a language.

It can sometimes differ noticeably from the various spoken lects, but difference between literary and non –literary forms is greater in some languages than in others. For much of its history, their has been a distinction in the English language between an elevated literary language and a colloquial idioms. The English language has been used as a literary language in countries that were formerly part of the British empire. For instance in India up to the present day and Nigeria  were English remains the official language .in carrying out a close literary analysis of a text using the literary language ,it also requires a deep you tom articulate your own ideas about a piece of literature by basing your ideas upon a close examination of the authors use of language. The text “Beast of No Nation”by Uzodinma Iweala was written during the literary time of post –modernism and read and acted on the stage during the 21st century. Beast of No Nation is the impressive powerful debut novel by Uzodinma Iweala in 2005. The narrator of the story was narrating his ordeal during a civil war that ravaged his country. Uzodinma Iweala was born in 1982 in Washington ,D.C. He is the son of Ikemba Iweala and Ngozi okonji Iweala. His parents were Nigerian and insisted their four children embrace both African and American cultures and split their time between the united states of America and Nigeria. Iweala’s father was a surgeon and his mother an economist at the world bank and served as Nigeria’s  finance minister for many years. Educated primarily  in the united states, Iweala is a gifted student who graduated from the well respected St .Albans school and later entered Harvard university. At Harvard, Iweala was a Mellon Mays scholar and concentrated on English and American literature. He was determined to be a writer through his early efforts in his first creative writing classes. Iweala learned his craft where he decided to write a  creative  thesis and with the support of his advisor Jamaica kincard ,he wrote what became the novel, “Beast  of No Nation “ .Kincaid sent the manuscript to her agent, who helped him land a publishing deal. After earning his degree with honours from Harvard in 2004, the twenty two year old iweala’s’ Beast of No Nation  came out in 2005 to much acclaim and several awards. In addition to promoting the book, Iweala also returned to Nigeria were he worked as a volunteer in refugee camps and did research on Hiv and Aids. After coming back to the united states and settling in new York, Iweala then worked as a member Columbia university ‘s millennium villiages  project and researched poverty solutions at Columbia university earth institute. Iweala signed a two book deal with Haper-collins in 2007. Iweala also applied to medical schools and entered Columbia university program in the fall of 2007.He plans to write non fiction and plays .The dual citizen if Nigerian and the united states remains committed to helping people and bettering  the world  whether as a doctor, a writer or both.

          The novel is about a west African boy named Agu who is forced to become a child soldier as a result of the civil war that ravaged his country. Although the name of the country was not mentioned, it is presumed to be Nigeria  judging by what Uzodinma Iweala said when  defending the language he used in the text. He told  Heather  v . Eng of the Boston Herald, “ it is how in my mind how people in the environment was around in Nigeria speak”. The result is a kind of pidgin English or Nigerian English [regional dialect] that allows the reader to understand that these events are happening in another part of the world, yet still can be related to despite the slightly different use of the English language. When war came to his family‘s small villiage, Agu’s mother and his sister are able to leave with the United Nation peacekeepers which later resulted in being the last time he saw them. Agu is ordered to stay behind and fight with his father and other men of his villiage . Agu later runs away at his father’s wishes. Agu later hides and his soon found by soldiers who coerce him to join their rebel force. In a bloody initiation, the commandant  forces him to kill an unarmed men. As Agu is forced to leave his childhood behind, he remembers about the past, his family, his love of reading and school, his dream of becoming an important doctor and how he used to read the bible everyday. During his time with the soldiers, he got a mute friend named Strika and together they face the crimes and hardships of war, looting, rape, killing and starvation.

  His wish to escape the army finally comes true when Rambo leads a successful revolt against the commandant in a period of agonizing lack of basic necessities. Starved and exhausted, Agu joins the disbanded soldiers to try to make their way home. Agu ultimately leaves his fellow soldiers. In time , he comes under the care of a missionary hospital run by a preacher and a white woman named Amy. Agu gets new clothes and all the food and sleep he wants and regains his health and strength. Amy invites him to share his thoughts /feelings and Agu tells her he would like to be a doctor and save lives so as to redeem his sins. He also tells her about all the evils he has had commit during the war.

      The reason that motivated me to carryout this research work is the language employed by the writer of the work which calls for attention. The language used in the text is one of the compelling things that made the work distinct. The writer used the Nigerian English /Nigerian pidgin to send out his message best for the audience he is addressing .The Nigerian English is a variety of the English language that came and developed as a result of the contact Nigerians had with the British. Iweala being inspired by the way Nigerians speak and also being aware of the Nigerian culture and heritage, combined the features of the English language with that of our local language to write his work. This variety of English developed immensely among Nigerians which they use as a means of communication.

1:2  statement of the problem.

   The language  used in the novel calls for attention. The language employed by the writer is compelling in nature as Agu narrates his divorce from childhood through the stilled use of the English language in the present tense. An effect of this variety of English is that of dis-identification with the readers. The  language used carries the implication as the author put the reader  in the  stress of translating and  re-reading some of the sentences. This furthers creates the problem of readers being uninterested in reading  the text.

1:3  purpose of the study.

  This study aims to examine the language used by the author in the text “Beast of No Nation” by Uzodinma Iweala and doing so achieve the    following objectives;

§  Identify the nature of the language employed by the author.

§  Identify how the author used the language to give out his message best for the readers.

§  Identify if the language is appropriate to be used.

1:4    Significance of the study.

   From the objectives outlined,it is highly believed that the outcome of the study and findings will show clearly how Uzodimma Iweala creatively employed the Nigerian English Nigerian pidgin in his work . The study is also relevant to student who are studying languages to know and identify  the different languages used by authors  to write their works not only in Uzodinma Iweala work , but also other writers. In addition, this study should afford other researchers the opportunity to carry out  further research in this particular area.

1:5  Scope of the study.

   The scope of this study is in two fields :The general area and the specific area. The general area covers a discussion on the concept of language,   the English language, the Nigerian English and the Nigerian pidgin. The specific area is specifically focused on the examination of the language used by Uzodinma Iweala in his text “Beast of No Nation”

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