Painting local colour: a sociolinguistic disposition of the literary artist
George E. Onwudiwe
Literary artists have advanced human ways of life through their writings. Hence, literature as a work of art merely lends credence to these persuasions by literary artists. It is possible to describe 'Culture' as the art, literature, music and other intellectual expressions of a particular society or time. Therefore, literature being an aspect of culture showcases the people‟s way of life which includes their language and speech pattern. The writer, as a member of the society advertently or inadvertently voices out the norms, the mores and the lore, and all that give the society its identity. As a result, a writer‟s cultural and linguistic background are discovered in his work as he cannot completely hide his identity in his works. He may reveal his identity by his choice of words, his literary devices, character and characterization, his setting and all that he employs to present his message. These things often come from the writer‟s wealth of knowledge which is built in his culture in which he expectedly grew up. This paper examines those aspects of language and culture that literary writers employ which paint the local colour of their culture and philosophy of life as found in some of the works of notable Igbo literary artists. It also examines the level of knowledge of his society and medium of communication, that is, his sociolinguistic knowledge. The findings of the study which, indicate among others, that local colour authenticates the originality of the works, improve their aesthetics and also attract and sustain the interest of the readers will benefit both writers and readers of literary works, especially, Igbo literary works. They will also help to authenticate the discreteness of language which endows on every language its uniqueness.