A DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF ATHOL FUGARD’S SIZWE BANSI IS DEAD


A DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF ATHOL FUGARD’S SIZWE BANSI IS DEAD

 

BRIEF BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

 

Human language is unique in being a symbolic communication system that is learned instead of biologically inherited. “Language is a psychological or cognitive property of humans” (Carnie 2007.) This is to say that in language production, there are some set of neurons in the speaker/hearer’s head that allows the former to produce letters and the latter to translate them into coherent ideas and thoughts. It involves several subsystems. A speaker produces sound waves with the vocal cords and articulates speech with the tongue and lips while the other hears the sound waves and translates them into speech sounds using auditory apparatus. Crystal(1982) in Nwachukwu et al(2007), defines language as human vocal noise (or graphic representation of this noise in writing) used systematically or conventionally by a community for purposes of communication. Thus, man is the only creatures that uses language intentionally and habitually (Crystal 1997:40).

Language is studied layer by layer and system by system. This means that in the study of language, the alphabet of a language gives rise to words, words give rise to phrases and phrases and clauses give rise to sentences. And when sentences are many, they form a DISCOURSE.

Discourse is defined as “the language in use” (Cook, 1989:6) and discourse analysis is concerned with the “the analysis of language in use” (Brown and Yule, 1983:1). Discourse analysis refers to the study of the relationship between language and the contexts in which it is used. It involves looking at both language form and language functions and includes the study of both spoken interaction and written texts.

 

Language allows interaction between human beings through the means of talking; this “Talk” is termed “Discourse”. Discourse is a verbal interaction. Hence, discourse analysis emerged from such talks whose meanings have to be analysed.

Harris (1952), sees discourse analysis as continuing descriptive linguistics beyond the limit of a single sentence at a time and for correlating culture and language. Discourse analysis came about due to the need for linguists to study the underlying principles of everyday interactions.

Stubbs (1983), defines Discourse analysis as an attempt to study larger linguistic units like conversational exchange or the study of interactive language including how language is used in social context. Discourse analysis studies words and their relation to situation in which they are made so as to facilitate hearer’s response. In Discourse analysis, we study how one can use an utterance or an expression to transform a

 

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