A Lexico-Semantic Analysis Of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun

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A Lexico-Semantic Analysis Of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half Of A Yellow Sun


This study is a lexico-semantic analysis of Half of a Yellow Sun (ọkara nke a odo anyanwụ).The aim of this study is to identify the organization and breakdown of detected lexical items, the differences and similarities in lexical semantic structure cross-linguistically and the relationship of lexical meaning to sentence meaning and syntax in HOAYS. Achieving this may be a feat of insurmountable tete a tete analysis using some debuting or re-appearing tools in the entire cologne Adichie had confidently portrayed in this novel. Comprehensive but more scrupulous reviews related to this feat/study was also visualized and acquired for the less supplemented but well nourished desire to set this study’s aim ablaze.

This study had chosen HOAYS since not much had really been done towards the Lexico-semantic analysis of Adichie’s award winning novel. Some candid chapters were randomly analyzed using contextual sentences or phrases to portray Adichie’s narrative. At the end, the predominant devices found out to be used by Chimamanda are Compound sentences followed by Compound-complex sentences, Parenthetical expression, Italics, Transliteration and Code-mixing. It is then recommended that other young writers should adopt Chimamanda’s style since it improves the vigour of one’s writing. However, the style of a writer albeit creative may pose a challenge to readers. This study attempts a linguistic stylistic analysis of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun with the aim of identifying some of the linguistic features the writer used and to understand the cultural and historical ideology behind the texts as well as appreciating her style.

Chapter One


Language in its complex form has been a guiding tool or a convention structure used to interact or present suggestions and verbal expression of one’s mind. There are vehemently several ways one would and could express his/her ideals and ideas either using sounds, symbols as long as they are accepted as a Language form by those at the receiving end (other speakers and language users).

According to Lyons, Languages are: ‘The principal systems of communication used by particular groups of human beings within the particular society (Linguistic community) of which they are members’. Language, however, as a sole inheritance of humans have been used in so many ways in our society hence the delving of analysis of reputable and upcoming linguists into the analysis of the complexity of language(s) such as morphology, semantics, phonology, domestic discourse (dodi) and syntax as well as their employed uses (e.g Kakava, 2000; Odebunmi, 2003; Odebunmi, 2006; Odebunmi, 2007; Oni and Osunbade, 2009; Wallace, 2012).

Lexical semantics (also known as lexicosemantics), is a subfield of linguistic semantics. The units of analysis in lexical semantics are lexical units which include not only words but also sub-words or sub-units such as affixes and even compound words and phrases. Lexical units make up the catalogue of words in a language, the lexicon. Lexical semantics looks at how the meaning of the lexical units correlates with the structure of the language or syntax. This is referred to as syntax-semantic interface (Pustejovsky, 1995).

The study of lexical semantics looks at:

  • The classification and decomposition of lexical items
  • The differences and similarities in lexical semantic structures cross-linguistically
  • The relationship of lexical meaning to sentence meaning and syntax.

Lexical items contain information about category (lexical and syntactic), form and meaning. The semantics related to these categories then relate to each lexical item in the lexicon (Loos et al., 2004) Lexical items can also be semantically classified based on whether their meanings are derived from single lexical units or from their surrounding environment. However, Leech and Short’s (2007) analytical checklist is used to breakdown randomly selected stylistic features into three categories, lexical, grammatical and context.

Lexical items participate in regular patterns of association with each other. Some relations between lexical items include hyponymy, hypernymy, synonymy and antonymy, as well as homonymy.

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