A Discourse Analysis Of Naira Has No Gender By Oluobafemi

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

A Discourse Analysis Of Naira Has No Gender By Oluobafemi


There have been interests over ages in studying how people communicate during interaction. This interest has lead to the emergence of discourse analysis which has the aim of studying how people communicate using sentence or clauses. In view of this, Naira has no gender, a play by OluObafemi, was selected in order to study and interpret how speeches were formed in the conversation between and among interlocutors in the play. Six transactions, which serve as our data were selected from the book for proper discourse investigation. Our Analysis revealed that role sharing, implicature, presupposition are important factors during interaction and affect inference. Therefore during discourse the linguistic properties of utterances or sentences are not only the determining factor for inference, rather, other factors that are not linguistic are also important in analyzing discourse.

Chapter One


1.1 Introduction

Discourse to the discourse analysts means actual instances of communicative action in the medium of language.
According to Blommert (2005:2) as cited in Johnstone (2008:2) discourse is the meaningful symbolic behavior in any mode. Discourse is not totally focused on language as an abstract system. Instead discourse is interested in what happens when people apply the knowledge they have got from language that is based on their memories of things they have seen or heard.

Discourse is also a conversation that is formal in nature. It can be in a written form or a spoken form of expression. Discourse analysis deals with spoken language, which occurs naturally and this can be found in interviews, conversations, speeches and commentaries. It also deals with the structure of written language which can be found in essays, chapters, road sings and notices.

Discourse is also seen as a linguistic communication and a transaction between a speaker and a hearer involved in an interpersonal activity in which its form is determined by its social purpose.

However, discourse analysis as a relation to a more traditional form of linguistics which is focused on the constituent units and structure of the sentence and which does not concern itself with an analysis of language use. Discourse analysis in contrast to formal linguistics, is concerned with translating the notion of structure, from the level of the sentences i e grammatical relations such as subject –verb – object, to the level of longer text.

Conversation generally involves an exchange between two or more people in which each participant may produce more than one utterance and each contribution builds upon previous contributions either directly or in directly.

Discourse analysis focuses on the analytical process in a relatively explicit way. What differentiates discourse analysis from other sorts of study that bear on human language and communication is not found in the way they try to answer them. That is, they analyse discourse by examining aspects of the structure and functions of language in use.

Longer stretches of discourse can be divided into parts using various criteria and then particular characteristics of each part can be looked in to by the discourse analyst.

Division in discourse analysis can be made according to who is talking, for example where the paragraph boundaries are, when a new topic arise, or where the subject ends and the predicate begins.

Olu Obafemi’s Naira has no Gender being a dramatic piece of work will be subjected to adequate discourse analysis which is the focus of this research work.

1.2 Aims and Objectives

The main purpose of this research is to give a clear picture of how discourse analysis can be used in the interpretation of text and how speeches are formed in a conversation in conformity to the context of the interaction.

1.3 Justification

The study of discourse analysis cannot be over emphasized as different scholars have gone a long way to bring out the importance of this study. Cutting in her book Pragmatics and Discourse (2002) has used structural, cultural, interpersonal background contexts and intertextuality to analyse a conversation among university students from different backgrounds.

Johnstone in her book. Discourse Analysis (2008) has worked on how discourse is shaped by various kinds of structural conventions and how structural conventions are influenced by what speakers use discourse for. She also worked on how grammar and discourse intersect.

In this research Naira has no Gender will be subjected to adequate discourse analysis. The conversations of the characters will be analysed using the features of discourse analysis.

1.4 Scope and Delimitation of Study

This research is centered on analyzing the discourse in Olu Obafemi’s Naira has no Gender. Other materials relevant to the study will be used but the issues to be discussed will be based on the play by Olu Obafemi.

Chapter Four

Summary, Findings and Conclusion

4.0 Summary

In this research work some of the features of discourse analysis and pragmatics have been studied.

The relationship discourse analysis has with other fields of language shows it is an inter-disciplinary field of language. Thus discoursal elements discussed in this research work have been used to analyse the chosen text, Naira has no Gender.

In the introductory chapter, the general meaning of discourse has been giving. Discourse is seen as a Conversation that is either formal or informal. It can also be inform of spoken or written expression. In the second chapter a review of scholarly opinions on discourse analysis has been done. In the third chapter the proper analysis of the data has been done using the discourse elements.

4.1 Findings

In the process of analyzing the chosen text, some facts were discovered under role sharing, implication, presupposition and inference.

In role sharing how speakers interact with each other shows the kind of relationship they share. From Otunla and Aina’s conversation, it can be seen that the relationship between these two is that of love. Also the conversation between Abeke and chiefAwadanu shows they are husband and wife.

Another fact discovered is conversational implicature which is an important aspect of communication and interaction. From the data it has been discovered that some of the maxims have been flouted by the participants in their course of discussion. Aina in her conversation with Otunla flouted the maxim of relevance and quantity. Otunla flouted the maxim of relevance, when he did not answer Aina’s question but said something that was not related to the question.

Presupposition is also a discourse tool that has been used in the data analysis. From Dokun’s conversation with his father, it is presupposed that Dokun told his father about the dinner he had with few friends. Also from chief Awadanu’s conversation with his wife about the contract he won, it is presuppose that chief had once applied for a contract that he had to bribe the government officials in charge of awarding the contract.

To infer means to deduce meaning from an utterance or a statement made by a speaker. From this research work inferences have been made from participants interactions. From chief Awadanu’s utterances it can be inferred that he is a corrupt politician with no western education. From Dokun’s utterances it can also be inferred that he (Dokun’s) is not in support of his (Dokun) father’s corrupt practices and warns him(father) to change his (father) evil ways.

4.2 Conclusion

The theme dominant in the chosen text is that of corruption in the society. The personality of each participant is shown in his or her conversation. Also the level of education, social status, and achievement etc of each participant is shown in the utterances made by the participants. For example, chief Awadanu who is one of the participants is a rich politician who is not educated. This can be seen from his utterances which are mostly in pidgin.

Finally, discourse analysis is a way of analysing conversations in a peculiar way, which is through the use of discourse elements. Despite the fact that this research work has been focused on a particular play, more researches can be done in other literary genres, like poetry, prose and also in media genres, like newspapers, cartons, news headline, magazines etc in latter times.

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