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Language, Polygamy and Motherhood in Emecheta’s <i>The Joys of Motherhood</i>: A Stylistic Critical Approach

Onyemaechi Udumukwu
I. Chima Igbokwe


This study aims at examining the relevance of Sociolinguistic Functional Stylistics (SFS) in supplying a methodical structure upon which Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood can be appreciated. Much of the critical attention on Emecheta has been centred on issues of gender and sexuality to the extent that ideological implications of language in her fiction have almost been ignored. This study applies as its theoretical framework Halliday’s Social Semiotic Structure with special reference to the context of situation discourse which not only interprets relevant linguistic data but also establishes a link between people and the linguistic items used to describe them. This study adopts a qualitative research methodology for its data analysis which entails interpretative and definitive data analysis techniques. The study observes the presence of linguistic items such as verba sentiendi, lexical, syntactic negation, contextual use of language and paralinguistic devices such as figures of speech and so on in the novel under review. These linguistic choices determine the relationship between characters as they interact and also depict the specific function of language in operation. This study, therefore, recommends that the eclectic approach of Sociolinguistic Functional Stylistics should be applied to other sub-genres of prose, and other literary genres in order to open up a new vista in the appreciation of Emecheta’s works.

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eISSN: 2070-0083
print ISSN: 1994-9057