A Discourse Analysis Of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi Is Dead

Project and Seminar Material for English Language

A Discourse Analysis Of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi Is Dead


Abstract


This work studied the discourse analysis of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead. The encoded meaning in the conversational exchange among the characters in play has been analyzed through the use of some discourse elements like, turn taking, discourse participant etc. and also some pragmatics elements like context, implicature, reference etc. Chapter one is the general introduction, related literature is reviewed in chapter two, while there is data analysis in chapter three and chapter four has the conclusion. However, this research shows that the understanding of the play-text resides in the underlying meaning of the conversations that has been analyzed.


Chapter One


General Introduction

1.0 Introduction

This chapter introduces the background of the research topic and describes its scope in addition, the purpose and justification for the study are also discussed. It concludes by giving the biography of the author of the text.


1.1 Background to the Study

Man is the most superior and unique of all the creatures in the entire creation, in terms of his wisdom, action, thought, though some animal or insects have been found to be wiser. Example is ant, man and animal share the same biological functions such as movements, growth etc.

However, what makes man different from animals is language, which is used for communication with members of their species. The animalsystem of communication are fixed example Dog Barks, Goat bleats etc. Thus, man is the only creatures that uses language intentionally and habitually (Crystal 1997:40).

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 of 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 message through meanings. Its general usage has to do with conversation and holding forth on a subject.

It is believed that the system of communication in speech and writing is language. As a result, human language is said to be communication when language users are able to use appropriate words in an appropriate social context. So, the desire to achieve communicative competence in a language.

In a nutshell, Language communicates meaning and meaning gives information. The intention of any language is to give meaning and the meaning is processed to information. The analysis of discourse is necessarily, the analysis of language in use (Brown and Yule 1983). Discourse analysis is committed to the investigation of the inter-relationship that exists between language and language is use. Discourse analysis no doubt identified those element functions and attempt to analyse them through the use of the discourse techniques which unfold the process of turn-taking, topic change, topic negotiation, presupposition, inference, implicature, participant, message, context etc. are more prominent in drama texts than the other genres of literature, due to the peculiar nature of drama texts. This resourceful elements of discourse will be applied to analyse the play text: SizweBansi is Dead


1.2 Purpose of the Study

Since effective communication means the appropriate use of language in the relevant context (Oloruntoba-Oju 1999), this essay will examine the English language used in SizweBansi is Dead by Athol Fugard using discourse analysis to determine the effectiveness of its language use.

Sizwe Bansi is Dead is a play text and we intend to examine how communication is achieved among the interlocutors. Many researchers have carried out discourse analysis of interview, interactions, newspapers, play texts, and so on but to our knowledge no research on discourse analysis has been carried out on this work Sizwe Bansi is Dead. Hence, the necessity for carrying out a discourse analysis of this work.

By carrying out a discourse analysis of this work, we will find out its discourse elements found in the work Sizwe Bansi is Dead.


1.3 Justification of the Study

Every human being daily engages in conversations because it is difficult to function effectively in a human society without them. But, it is worthy of note that conversations have some underlying features which can only be alighted through research. The choice of a drama text became necessary because it is a literary genre that exhibits the pragma discourse elements in abundance. Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead is specifically appropriate in showcasing these elements and to exemplify them through the process of achieving coherence in a spoken communication can be better explicated.


1.4 Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This essay will focus on the elements of Discourse in the play with the aim of using the elements to bring out the underlying meaning of the text by examine how effective communication is maintained. There are many features of discourse analysis but the researcher will limit the analysis to the conversational features like discourse participants, turn taking, repetition, talk negotiation, ellipsis and substitution, topic change in SizweBansi is Dead


1.5 Sizwe Bansi is Dead: A Review of the Playlet

The text is written by Athol Fugard the author who carefully chose the title of the book intends to showcase the political messages without being dogmatic. He choose the play as his medium of speech because he felt that the theater enabled him to reach the largest number of people in Africa. His plays were staged in South Africa. Yet, strong, enough to have an important impact on the audience. He also show in the text the effective indictment of the. In humanity of authoritarian regimes through a compassionate, humorous examination of the every day lives of totally credible people.


1.6 Biography of the Author

Sizwe Bansi is Dead is a play by Athol Fugard written collaboratively with two South African actors, John Kani and Wistom Ntshona, both of whom appeared in the original production, its world premiere occurred on October 8,1972 at the space theatre, cape-town, South Africa. This play is a direct reaction to Fugard’s work as a law clerk at the native commissioner’s court in Johannesburg where he saw blacks jailed daily for not having their pass-books in proper order. The Island, often produced with SizweBansi is Dead,The Island evaluates the strength of friendship in the face of oppressive regimes and altering circumstances.


Chapter Four


Summary, Finding and Conclusion

4.0 Introduction

This research has done a discourse analysis of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead.


4.1 Summary

Chapter one, introduces the research with reference to the definition of language that is, background of the study purpose of the research work, the reason for choosing the topic, justification, and scope and delimitation of the study.

Chapter two, focus on the review of literature in discourse analysis and pragmatic techniques by scholars who have written on the features and definition.

Furthermore, chapter three concentrates on the analysis of the data based on the pragma-discourse elements that have been re appraised in chapter two, using these features to bring out the way by which the author has made use of the features in the text by various interlocutors.

Lastly, chapter four deals with the summary of the work, finding the hidden to knowledge of the author through the interlocutors by using the features.


4.2 Findings

After, carrying out a systematic analysis of the conversation in Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi is Dead, diverse findings spot to the fate the drama text as a genre of literature is an appropriate material that displays a large number of the discourse and pragmatic elements.

The authors have been able to depict to us in the text by using some of the interlocutors who are struggling in having their freedom that is, their new identity through the obtainment of “pass book”. The pass book represent “New Life” which makes Sizwe Bansi dead but not dead.

We have discovered that discourse analysis has to do mainly with conversation which is the principles means of communication between interlocutors which have been showed as an evidence that the participants were involved in one form or another discourse by taking turns.
Also, in every discourse there must be participants to point out that the discourse participant are interested in the topic or subject matter of the conversation which is very important.

Another vital findings of the research is topic negotiation and topic change which the author have used to show to us that discourse can be enhance and ideas can be slotted in by the participants.

Furthermore, we discovered that implicature is a preeminence between what is literally said and what is implied.

More so, we have discovered that other pragma discourse tools such as presupposition, context, inference, have been able to alleviate the interpreting of both the obvious and obscure meanings as used by the author.


4.3 Conclusion

The discourse analysis of this text has featured a form of discourse that makes the use of language in packaging and propagation information effective to the readers.

The tools of discourse and pragmatics used are the fundamental principles that hold the meaning channeled by Athol Fugard.

Lastly, discourse analysis of this text has effectively carried out a meaningful interpretation of the text. It is our hope that more research works would be carried out on the text especially in the aspect of lexico-semantic, semantic, stylistic, socio linguistic, as this will help in boosting the carrying of the message that is intended or expressed in the text.


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