Article n°11- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

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Article n°11- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

janvier 26, 2019 admin

ANALYSING IDEOLOGICAL POINT OF VIEW IN BEN AKPONINE-SAMUEL’S A HOLIDAY TO REMEMBER: A SYSTEMIC FUNCTIONAL APPROACH.

 

Sévérin M. MEHOUENOU

mehouenous@gmail.com

 Innocent Sourou KOUTCHADE

koutchade2@yahoo.fr

 Université d’Abomey-Calavi

 

Abstract

This article aims at exploring the ideological point of view in Akponine-Samuel’s A Holiday to Remember. The concept of ideology is understood as the system of beliefs, values, and categories that guides the way an interactant views the world. Through this system, language plays an experiential or ideational function realized through the transitivity system as ingrained in the grammar drawing on the contextual properties of field. The process for successfully conducting this study has considered selecting two extracts from the novella on purpose of quantitative and qualitative analyses. This has helped to uncover how the different transitivity patterns interact to convey children’s ideological point of view not only about how religion has become a hot bed of boredom but also about criminality. The work concludes that the literary work unveils the socio-criticism position of the narrator and as a matter of fact, it is suggested that Africans should find resources in their institutions to overcome these social flaws.

Key words: Experiential Function, Ideology, Religion, Criminality, World view, Psychology.

 

Résumé

Cet article vise à explorer le concept d’idéologie tel que développé dans l’ouvrage A Holiday to Remember de Akponine-Samuel. Ce concept est compris comme le système de croyances, de valeurs, et de catégories qui guide la façon dont un interlocuteur conçoit le monde. A travers ce système, la langue a une fonction expérientielle réalisée par la transitivité qui a pour base les propriétés contextuelles du champ. Pour conduire avec succès ce travail, deux extraits ont été sélectionnés de la nouvelle et une analyse quantitative et qualitative en a été faite. Ceci a permis de découvrir comment les différents procédés de transitivité s’interposent pour transmettre le point de vue idéologique des enfants non seulement sur comment la religion est devenue un lit d’ennui mais aussi sur la criminalité. Le travail conclu que l’œuvre littéraire dévoile la position sociocritique adoptée par l’écrivain et par conséquent il est suggéré que les institutions africaines trouvent les ressources nécessaires pour lutter contre ces fléaux sociaux.

Mots clés : fonction expérientielle, idéologie, religion, criminalité, point de vue, psychologie.

 

 Introduction

It is most of the time argued that whenever something happens, each of the eye-witnesses on the venue of the event narrates it from their own point of view. This is true to the degree that an account of an accident by a driver will be different from the one of a passenger or a mere witness. In other words, the event-teller through whom the material is presented directly relates it to his/her own point of view. It is then clear that a distinction is usually drawn between what actually has happened and people’s point of view about it.

The foregoing explanation also applies to narrative texts since point of view is an important linguistic tool used in analyzing prose works. Actually, Maroko (2013:48) contends that “….writers can position themselves very close to their work by using the exclusive personal pronoun (I) or distance themselves from their work by using personified point of view constructions or the third person point of view.” One way or the other, the point of view the narrator assumes, reflects his/her ideology. In Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the definition adopted for ideology corresponds roughly with ‘world-view’. Fowler (1986:149) in this perspective argues that “It would be incorrect to think that each individual possesses one single, monolithic, world-view or ideology encompassing all aspects of his or her experience; rather, the ideational function provides a repertoire of perspectives relative to the numerous modes of discourse in which a speaker participates.” This assertion illustrates the striking variations in point of view/world-view whereby the narration can be from different participants. Consequently, as contended by Koussouhon and Allagbé (2013), the attempt to unravel the ideological world-view/point of view of a writer can be done via the personae therein by just asking and answering the functional question: who/what does what to whom/what under which circumstances? This, de facto, involves the identification of the process types, participants, and circumstances. This small set of categories which characterizes different kinds of event or process is what Halliday calls the transitivity system of a language (Fowler, 1986).

Actually, within the context of this paper, the point is that we will be describing how the different Transitivity structures allow clauses to realize different experiential meanings in text. In a more simplistic term, we aim at pointing out how consistent selections from the transitivity system can suggest different world-views/points of view.

Before we disclose the theory that underpins this paper, present the results of our analyses and launch a discussion of them, it is note-worthy to point out that our work is not without its relevancy seeing the pile of research works released these past years which have for basis Halliday’s theoretical assumptions. Examples (their references appear in the bibliography) include Koussouhon and Amoussou (2007), Caffarel and Recheniewski (2009), Koussouhon and Koutchadé (2012), Haratyan (2011), Amoussou (2013), Koussouhon and Allagbé (2013), Akogbéto and Koukpossi (2015), Koussouhon and Dossoumou (2014, 2015), to name just a few. These scholars oriented their research towards the language used in novels paying little attention to other literary genres such as novellas hitherto leaving the ground unexplored. But whatever the literary genre our interest in writing this paper is twofold:  a) Halliday’s theory is tremendously an effective and a practical tool that helps linguists to evaluate text since it is meaning-centered not form-centered; b) whatever a narrator writes not only reflects/mirrors his/her society reality(ies) but also has a defined communicated purpose.

 

  • Theoretical Background

Within Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistic tradition, systemicists draw on the register variables (i.e. field, tenor and mode) to define the context of situation within which language is used. As such, each of these register variables leads respectively to Transitivity, Mood and Mode expressed through the ideational function, interpersonal function and textual function, which form the basis of the semantic language organization. As contended by Dossoumou (2015:130) “the ideational metafunction encompasses two types of meaning- experiential and logical.” Moreover, Fowler (1986:151) treats ideational structuring as “involving three different types of linguistic feature: vocabulary, transitivity, and certain syntactic structures.” Within the context of this study, the paper considers ideational function through its transitivity patterns to unveil how human beings construe their experience through language. It also shows how the regular and repeated choices from the transitivity system can help decode particular world-view or ideological attitude in literary texts. Fowler (1986:130) offers a backfield to our point here when he asserts that point of view on the plane of ideology in a narrative text means “the set of values, or belief system, communicated by the language of the text.” In other words, a narrator’s ideology is encoded in the way he/she uses language.

Halliday (1985a) quoted in Koussouhon and Koutchadé (2012:206) views transitivity as “the grammar of the clause, as the representation of the processes, and accounts for the fundamentals of this grammar.” This simply means that the system of transitivity specifies the different types of process that are recognized in any language use. These different process types go together with the participants and circumstances.

According to Hart (2014: 23), “The process is the ‘core’ component of the clause and the starting point in any ideational analysis.” He then identifies material, mental, relational and verbal processes as major process types while existential and behavioural processes are included in minor process types. Each process is associated with particular participant roles as summarized in the table below:

 

Material

Actor, Goal, Beneficiary, Range.
Mental Senser, Phenomenon.
Relational Carrier/Attribute, Token/Value, Possessor/Possessed.
Verbal Sayer, Receiver, Verbiage.
Existential Existent.
Behavioural

Behaver, Behaviour.

Table1: Processes with their related participants (adapted from Eggins, 2004: 214; Koussouhon and Koutchadé, 2012: 207; Koussouhon and Dossoumou, 2015: 130).

 

Apart from the process types and participants, the other element that is a component of the clause as representation is circumstance. Here again, according to Hart (2014: 131) Circumstance “[…] is more peripheral than participants, being concerned with such matters as the settings, temporal and physical, the manner in which the process is implemented, and the people or other entities accompanying the process rather than directly engaged in it.” In other words, extent (duration, distance), cause, location in time and space, matter, manner (means, quality, and comparison), role accompaniment are the principal types of circumstantial elements (Koussouhon and Koutchadé, 2012).

In line with the aforementioned scholars, we attempt in this paper to analyse how the process types, participants and circumstances combine together to show how children as the main and central characters of the works we have chosen to investigate represent the world to themselves.

 

  • Transitivity Analysis of the Two Extracts

As we have said so far, the transitivity analysis allows to identify the different process types, the participants and the circumstances that are included in any text or language use. Actually, we carried out the transitivity analyses of the two extracts drawn from A Holiday to Remember following Eggins (2004); Koussouhon and Koutchadé (2012) and Koussouhon and Dossoumou (2015). For clarity sake, we have divided the extracts into clauses and numbered them (see details in the appendices). The distribution of process types in each extract is summarized in table 2 below.

Process types Extract1 Extract2
Material processes 82 46.06% 96 55.81%
Verbal  processes 36 20.22% 14 08.13%
Behavioural processes 14 07.86% 09 05.23%
Mental processes 11 06.17% 16 09.30%
Causative processes 02 01.12% 00 00%
Existential processes 00 00% 03 01.74%
 

Relational processes

Attributive 21 11.79% 24 13.95%
Identifying 09 05.05% 10 05.81%
Circumstantial 02 01.12% 00 00%
Possessive 01 00.56% 00 00%
Total 178 100% 172 100%

Table2: Statistic distribution of process types in the extracts.

 

The table above shows how processes are distributed in the two extracts. Our analyses reveal that material processes occur predominantly in the two extracts (82/178=46.06% in extract1 and 96/172=55.81% in extract2). This denotes an over-materialization, which indicates that the two extracts are centrally concerned with tangible and physical actions and the participants who carry them. Verbal process types come in the second position in extract1 (36/178=20.22%), whereas they come in the third position in extract2 (14/172=08.13%). The predominance of these processes in extract1 means that verbal actions are more intensively carried out in extract1 than in extract 2. Mental process types are more noticeable in extract2 (16/172=09.30%) than in extract1 (11/178=06.17%).  As for behavioural process types, they are dominant in extract 1 (14/178=07.86%) but are in low proportionsin extract2 (09/172=05.23%). The presence of these two process types (mental and behavioural) at varied proportions in the extracts constructs the main protagonists (Tejiri, his cousins and their friends) as psychologically-dominated and physiologically-dominated participants across the extracts. Extract1 displays very few proportions of causative process types (02/178=01.12%) whereas there are no causatives at all in extract2. This implies that extract1 is less concerned with events causing somebody to do something. Likewise, the few proportions of existential process types in extract2 (03/172=01.74%) suggests that the actions described in this extract are sometimes framed as taking place within settings which are asserted simply as existing, while existential processes are not chosen in extract 1.

Concerning relational process types, attributive process types are dominant in both extracts (21/178=11.79% in extract1 and 24/172=13.95% in extract2), whereas identifying are roughly in equal percentage in both extracts (05.05% in extract1 and 05.81% in extract2). Moreover, low proportions of circumstantial and possessives are noted in extract1, while none of them is mentioned in extract2. Though attributives are dominant in the extracts whereby the carrier-role is carried out by conscious human beings, the presence of relational process types in both extracts enhances the descriptive aspects of the extracts identifying the main protagonists in time, place and space.

 

  • Discussion of the Findings

The quantitative analyses made of the different distributions of process type in the extracts allowus to launch a critical discussion of the findings so as to sort out the narrator’s ideological point of view concerning issues such as religion and criminality. Actually, the findings of the study reveal that the different process types identified in the extracts encode the meaning about the protagonists’ experience and perception.

As our transitivity analysis shows, extract1 contains at least one hundred and seventy-eight (178) processes. The quantitative distributions of this figure among the seven process types identified by systemicists (e.g. Eggins, 2004; Halliday and Matthiessen, 2004) are shown in table 2. Actually, the statistics show that material process types (i.e. 46.06%) and verbal process types (i.e. 20.22%) are predominant in the extract. Another salient characteristic of dominance include behavioural processes (i.e. 07.86%), mental processes (i.e. 06.17%) and relational processes viz. attributives (i.e. 11.79%) and identifying (i.e. 05.05%).

The predominance of material process types in the extract indicates an over-materialisation of the extract. This is to say that the extract is mainly concerned with actions and events carried out by the participants acting therein. The extract pinpoints the reality about children’s world. It is worth reminding here that the main participants in this extract are children aged 10-12. They have already passed the early childhood and started the non-adult stage of life whereby children’s enthusiasm to learn and their inclination to entertainment/leisure become noticeable and valued. In other words, it is the stage of mobility and action. The extract chosen for analysis offers no paradoxical evidence. In this passage, the narrator recounts Tejiri’s and his cousins’ experience of how they perceive issues related to religion. Adults think that without religion they are miserable. This world-view is noted in the use of the following transitive and intransitive material processes. Let’s consider, for instance, the processes ‘went’, ‘got’, ‘use’, ‘went to sit’, ‘following’ in the subsequent clauses: (2) “we all went to church….”, (8) “we got to the church…”, (10) “use it for the offering…”, (17) “my aunt and uncle went to sit in the front row, the girls following them.” The use of the first plural person pronoun ‘we’ and the phrase ‘my aunt and uncle’ playing the role of actors in this passage is a proof that Tejeri’s uncle and aunt are great believers and faithful followers of religious prescriptions. Unlike the adults, the male children (Tejiri, Maro and Baro) think without entertainment they are miserable. Here again, this ideology is noted through the use of the transitive and intransitive material processes. Some examples include the use of ‘going out’, ‘began’, ‘got’, ‘stopped’, allowed’, ‘drew’, ‘will go out’ in the following passage: “we are going out of the church…., he began to move out of the back row. He got to the door. An usher stopped him. He spoke to the usher and she allowed him to go out. Maro was watching. He drew close to me”(p.11).The ideological position taken by the children contrasts with the adults’ world-view, which causes us to assume that at this stage of life these children can clearly separate their views from their parents’.

The use of these transitive and intransitive material processes unveils Maro’s and Baro’s passionate hatred for the church service they think is ‘hours of boredom’ as opposed to outside ‘fresh air of freedom’ noted in the subsequent passages by Baro: “The church service takes four hours and that means four hours of boredom (our emphasis), I mean, extreme boredom… Being in that church is so tiring. Let’s hang out around here, breathing fresh air of freedom (our emphasis).” Drawing on psychological realities that guide/govern the teenagers’ life at this stage of their development, we can argue that these children have developed a growing tendency to reject religious values.

These two brothers’ decision not to attend the church service and leave the church premises emotionally disrupts Tejiri who is not used to such vagrancy or mischievousness in his village. Instead of refusing to yield to his cousins’ request, he blindly falls into their trap. This is what can explain the use of the mental processes ‘wondering’ and ‘know’ as noted in the following passage: “I was wondering  what they were up to or what this was all about… Curious to know what this was all about, I did as had said”(p.11).The use of the mental processes here together with the adjective ‘curious’ let us assert that, at the psycho-emotional stage of life, Tejiri not only wants to satisfy his curiosity but also his need for peer acceptance, which no doubt strengthens his interpersonal relationships with his cousins. We can then argue that friendships and peer relationships are among the main changes observed during this stage of life in adolescents.

Maro and Baro who are used to this game know how to handle the situation without being suspected by their parents. They have everything planned, surprising Tejiri with their pre-knowledge. Let’s consider this passage: “We will buy food, eat and play around here until when it is about twenty minutes to the end of the service, then, we will return to the church.” (p.11) The use of the material processes ‘buy’, ‘eat’, ‘play’, ‘return’ in this verbal process type accounts for the intellectual activity displayed by these children who, at the psychosocial plan, show low interest in religion. It is worth recalling here that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) recognizes every child has right to religion, the guidance and direction of which should be provided by parents while children are still ‘children’. The question to be asked is to know whence these children’s disaffection inchurch comes.

An attempt to answer this question lies in the following passage: “The boys (Maro and Baro) bought food with their money for offering. I (Tejiri) was shocked that they could use money meant for God to buy food.” (p.12).Considering the different process types in this passage, it can be inferred that Maro’s and Baro’s religious conviction contrasts here with Tejiri’s naivety and religious immaturity. But the persuasive argumentation held by Maro thereafter enlightens his ignorance and displays the children’s approach of religion in modern times. Let’s consider the subsequent verbal process: “… Indeed, it’s for God. Will God come down to take the money? It’s the pastor that will pocket the money and they will tell you it’s to maintain the church. Is it every Sunday we have to pay offerings for the maintenance of the church?” (p.12) The use of the identifying process types such as ‘it’s for God’, ‘it’s the pastor’, and ‘is it every Sunday…?’ in this passage defines the relationship people hold nowadays with God and the role ascribed to money in this relationship. Actually, it is observed that many charismatic religious leaders identifying themselves as Messiah bewitch people who cannot get away without being swindled. One then rightly tends to agree with Ezeigbo (2005:278) who observes that “religion is a hotbed of cruelty, wickedness and hypocrisy.” Owing to this discussion and Ezeigbo’s observation, we then conclude that the passage quoted so far encodes the ideology of how Tejiri and his cousins become deeply disenchanted with religion and choose entertainment as a good substitute.

As the transitivity analysis reveals, a total number of one hundred and seventy-two (172) processes are identified in extract2. The figure is shared among six of the seven process types propounded by systemicists and identified in the extract. Material processes (i.e.55.81%) and relational ones (i.e.19.76%) are the most prominent. Other striking features of predominance include mental processes (i.e.09.30%), verbal processes (i.e.08.13%) and behavioural processes (i.e.05.23%). Existential processes are in very little proportions (i.e.01.74%), whereas causative processes are non-existent.

It can be inferred from the statistic representation of material processes that the extract is highly materialized; underscoring the ideology of criminality Tejiri, his cousins and their friends get involved in solving. Actually, in this extract, the narrator recounts the experience of the teenagers’ attempt to deliver a young man kidnapped by a gang who demands a huge ransom before releasing him. Tejiri, his cousins and their friends who hear of the kidnapping have a strategy planned the guidelines of which consist in identifying where the gang is located, hanging around their flat, following the suspects’ movement, eventually slipping into the gang’s flat at their absence for investigation and if possible delivering the hostage. Extract2 deals with the two last stages (investigation and delivery). Let’s consider this passage and the different process types used therein:

I ran to the door and checked. It was not locked. I was really surprised. I slipped into the house. I knew if I was caught, I would be considered a criminal. I closed the door just like she had left it and entered the flat. The sitting room was big and scanty. There was meagre furniture and big television set on the rugged floor. The smell of the freshly smoked cigarette stuffed the room. On the floor were empty bottles of whisky. On a small table beside the wall, there was an opened pack of half-finished pizza. I went into the room, it was empty. I checked the second. Nobody was there. The third and last room was locked but there was a key on the door indicating that it was locked from outside the room. I opened the door and entered. I was shocked when I saw a figure tired to a chair, gagged and blind-folded. (p.20)

Out of the ninety-six (96) material process types identified in the extract, this short passage comprises sixteen (16) corresponding at least to a fifth (≈1/5) of the statistic representation of the material processes. The use of the many transitive and intransitive material process types such as ‘ran to’, ‘checked’, ‘was surprised’, ‘slipped into’, ‘was caught’, ‘closed’, ‘had left’, ‘entered’, ‘opened’, etc., and the abundant use of the first person singular pronoun ‘I’ functioning as actor emphasize that there is a great concentration of human activity in this passage. ‘I’ is used here to refer to Tejiri who takes the risky role of the leader in investigating the gang’s house. Moreover, the presence of the existential processes like ‘there was meager furniture and a big television set’, ‘there was an opened pack of half-finished pizza’ and the relational attributives such as ‘big’, ‘scanty’, ‘empty’, identify the gang’s room as untidy, which, in fact, describes the vagabond and delinquent existence of the criminals. The description the extract makes of these teenagers’ audacious exposure to this dangerous adventure/risk taking graduates them as role modeling and romanticizing the state police, which is also a contravention of the law. The psychologist Boko (2009: 73) describing children aged 12 has this to say: “… l’on ne doit point oublier ici que l’envie de braver les dangers, d’exposer (parfois inutilement) sa vie fait partie des tendances les plus caractéristiques de cet âge.”[1] Owing to this assertion and the foregoing discussion, we can assume that risk taking is an important stage in any adolescent’s life, which helps him/her to shape/build his/her identity or personality.

Tejiri’s, his cousins’ and their friends’ involvement in solving this crime leads them to discover that their world-view is totally different from the gang’s. While theirs is dominated by game, leisure and entertainment, the gang’s is rather made of a dangerous game, the one of using gun or pistol or raffle to eliminate any obstacle that stands on their way. This is what can be noted in this passage: “… The wardrobe was flung open and there I was, soaked with sweat. The man stared deathly at me. He was holding a pistol… He pulled me up and placed the pistol on my head. It was the very first time that I was seeing a pistol outside a television set” (p.22). The use of the relational process type ‘it was the very first time…’ and the mental process type ‘seeing’ in this passage discloses two contradictory worlds with different realities: one characterized by carelessness, immaturity, innocence, risk taking, and game; the other by criminality, violence, delinquency, unemployment, aggression and so on. We can then assume that participants’ selections from the transitivity suggest different world-views or points of view.

 

  • Summary and Conclusion

The aim of this article has beento gain insight into how meanings are encoded in Ben Akponine-Samuel’s A Holiday to Remember with emphasis on the grammar of experiential meaning realized through the grammar of the transitivity patterns. The cornerstone in the application of the transitivity patterns is that they correlate with social and ideological circumstances. Actually, extract1 through the different process types encodes an ideology of religious swindling in modern times. In extract2, there is an ideology of criminality which is a current issue in most African societies. All in all, the ideology that binds these two extracts is the one related to unemployment whereby some (young) people in search of their daily meals are brought to cheat their co-citizens in order to feed.

As contended by Datondji (2014: 47) “… in a literary work, what is new lies in the personal contribution of the writer, in whatever he derives from his own genius, from his own life, from his environment and his time. (sic)” In other words, the speaker or the writer embodies in language his/her experience by contextualizing the reality around him/her. Contextualization has then played an important role in the shaping of the story because of the multiplicity of religion and scenes of serial children kidnapping that are recurrent in Nigeria. It is from this perspective we can understand the socio-criticism position of the narrator. Though Tejiri, his cousins and their friends are teenagers/adolescents, they are endowed with the mind of adults. The way they grasp the world around them is systematically patterned with responsibility taking in this fast changing world. Actually, with the growing swindling in religious areas and the advent of false Messiahs; and the growing criminality and insecurity in our societies nowadays, actions need to be taken. Africa then needs to find resources in its institutions and people to overcome these social flaws.

 

 

References

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Akponine-Samuel, B. (2016). A Holiday to Remember. Ochado Platinum: Nigeria.

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Boko, C. G. (2009). Psychology et Guidance en Milieu Africain: Introduction à une Relation Educative plus Réussie entre Educateurs, Parents et Enfants africains. Jérico-Cotonou : CAAREC.

Caffarel, A. & Recheniewski, E. (2009). “A Systemic Functional Approach to Analysing and Interpreting Ideology.” In Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 22, pp.27-43.

Datondji, C. I. (2014). “Christianity in Africa and its Related Problems, as Depicted in Some African Novels: The Cases of The Only Son and Obi.” In Multifontaines, N°1, pp.41-53.

Eggins, S. (2004).  An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics, (2nded). New York and London: Continuum.

Ezeigbo, A. (2005). House of Symbols. Nigeria: Lantern Books, Literamed Publications Limited.

Fowler, R. (1986).Linguistic Criticism. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K & Matthiessen, C.I.M. (2004).An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Hodder Headline Group.

Haratyan, F. (2011). “Halliday’s  SFL and Social Meaning.” In 2nd International Conference on Humanities, Historical and Social Sciences IPEDR Vol.17, pp. 260-264.

Hart, C. (2014). Discourse, Grammar and Ideology: Functional and Cognitive Perspectives. London, New Delhi, New York & Sidney: Bloomsbury.

Koussouhon, L. & Amoussou, C. (2007). “The Language of “Abiku” (John Pepper Clark; Wole Soyinka): A Systemic Functional Analysis.” In Waves, pp.241-281.

Koussouhon, L. & Koutchadé, I. (2012). “A Social-Semiotic Approach to the Analysis of Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died.” In Actes du 3ème Colloque des Sciences, Cultures et Technologies de l’UAC-Bénin, pp.205-253.

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Koussouhon, L. & Dossoumou, A. M. (2014). “Lexico-Grammatical Analysis of Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary with a Focus on Experiential and Textual Meanings.”In Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 5 No23, pp.2430-2436.

Koussouhon, L. & Dossoumou, A. M. (2015). Exploring Ideational Metafunction in Helon Habila’s Oil on Water: A Re-evaluation and Redefinition of African Women’s Personality and Identity Through Literature.” In International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, Vol. 4 no5, pp. 129-136.

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Appendices

Transitivity analyses of the extracts.

Keys: The Transitivity analysis in each extract has been carried out according to the keys presented below:

P=process; Pm=material; Pme=mental; Pb=behavioural; Pv=verbial; Pe=existential; Pi=intensive; Pcc=circumstantial; Pp=possessive; Pc=causative; A=actor; G=goal; B=beneficiary; R=range; S=senser; Ph=phenomenon; Sy=sayer; Rv=receiver; Vb=verbiage; X=existent; T=token; V=value; Cr=carrier; At=attribute; Pr=possessor; Pd=possessed; C=circumstance; Cl=location; Cx=extent; Cm=manner; Cc=cause; Ca=accompaniment; Ct=matter; Co=role; Ag=agent; Be=behaver; Bh=behaviour.

Transitivity patterns in extract1

  1. The following day (Cr) was (Pi) Sunday (V). 2. We all (A) went (Pm) to church (Cl). 3. It (T) was (Pi) quite (At) a distance from the house (Cl). 4. We all (A) had to dress up (Pm) and go (Pm) in the car to the church (Cl). 5. In Lagos (Cl), the church [we (A) worshipped at (Pm)] (Cr) was (Pi) just a walking distance (At) from my house (Cl). 6. We (A) never drove (Pm) to the church (Cl). 7. [Truth is my family, though comfortable] (Cr), was not (Pi) as rich as my aunt’s (Cm). 8. We (A) got (Pm) to the church (Cl). 9. Uncle Obuko (A) gave (Pm) us (B) some money (G) each. 10. “Use (Pm) it (G) for your offering (C),” 11.he (Sy) said (Pv). 12. We (A) thanked (Pm) him (G). 13. “Maro (A), make sure (Pc) you (A) pay (Pm) attention to the sermon of today (Cl),” 14. Aunt Edith (Sy) said (Pv). 15. [“Yes Mummy] (Vb),” he (Sy) replied (Pv). 16. I (A) caught (Pm) a note of mischief (R) in his voice (Cl) […] 17. My aunt and uncle (A) went to sit (Pm) in the front row (Cl), //the girls (A) following (Pm) them (G). 18. I (A) was trailing (Pm) them (G) 19.when (Cl) I (S) noticed (Pme) that the boys (A) were not following (Pm). 20. They (A) went (Pm) to the back row (Cl). 21. I (A) made (Pm) a detour (R) //and went to sit (Pm) with the boys (Ca). 22.Baro (Be) looked at (Pb) me (Cc) amused. 23. “You (A) were following (Pm) them (G)?” 24.he (Sy) asked (Pv). 25. “I (S) thought (Pme) 26.we (A) would all sit (Pm) together (Cm),” 27. I (Sy) said (Pv). 28.Baro (A) shook (Pm) his head (R). 29. “The church service (T) takes (Pcc) four hours (V) 30. and that (T) means (Pi) four hours of boredom (V), //I (Be) mean (Pb) , extreme boredom (Cc),” 31.he (Sy) said (Pv). 32. “And we (Cr) are not (Pi) in (V) for that (At),” 33.Maro (A) said (Pv). 34. Obviously, the two brothers (S) understood (Pme) themselves (Ph) so well. 35. But then, I (S) wondered (Pme) [what they were in (V) for] (Ph). 36. “Whether in front or at the back (Cl), you (Cr) are (Pi) in the service (Cl),” 37. I (Sy) said (Pv). 38. The church (A) was now observing (Pm) a hymn (G). 39. A woman (A) shot (Pm) me (B) a disapproving look (R) for making noise (Cc). 40. “We (A) are going out (Pm) of the church (Cl),” 41.Baro (Sy) said (Pv). 42. He (A) began to move out (Pm) of the back row (Cl). 43. He (A) got (Pm) to the door (Cl). 44. An usher (A) stopped (Pm) him (G). 45. He (Sy) spoke (Pv) to the usher (Rv) 46.and she (A) allowed (Pm) him (G) to go out (Pm). 47.Maro (Be) was watching (Pb). 48. He (A) drew (Pm) close (Cl) to me (G). 49. “In two minutes (Cl), you (A) will go out (Pm) through the door on the east (Cl), 50.when (Cl) the usher (Sy) asks (Pv) you (Rv) [where you (A) are going (Pm)] (Vb), 51.tell (Pv) him (Rv) that you (S) want (Pme)//to ease (Pm) yourself (R),” 52.he (Sy) whispered (Pv) to me (Rv). 53. I (S) was wondering (Pme) [what they (Cr) were (Pi) up to] //[or what this (Cr) was (Pi) all about] (Ph). 54. “What are we (A) doing (Pm)?” 55. I (Sy) asked (Pv). 56. He (Cr) appeared (Pi) impatient (At). 57. “If you (A) don’t want to follow (Pm) us (G), 58.stay (Pm) here (Cl) //and be consumed (Pm) by boredom (Ag),” 59. He (Sy) said (Pv). 60. [Curious to know (Pme) what this (Cr) was (Pi) all about (At)] (Ct), I (A) did (Pm) 61.as he (Sy) had said (Pv). 62. Luckily, the usher (Sy) did not say (Pv) a word (Vb) to me (Rv) //or try (Pb) to stop (Pm) me (G). 63. So, I (G) was saved (Pm) the situation (A) //of having to tell (Pm) a lie (R), particularly in a church (Cl). 64. I (A) met (Pm) Baro (G) outside (Cl). 65. He (Be) grinned at (Pb) me (Ph). 66. And less than a minute later (Cl), Maro (A) too came out (Pm). 67. [“Let’s go,]” (Vb) he (Sy) said (Pv). 68. [“Where are we (A) going (Pm)?] (Vb)” I (Sy) asked (Pv). 69. [“Don’t worry (Pb), just come (Pm) with us (Ca)] (Vb),” Maro (Sy) said (Pv). 70. We (A) went out (Pm) of the church premises (Cl) 71.and went (Pm) to about three streets away where a food vendor’s shop was (Cl). 72. We (A) had had (Pm) light breakfast of bread and cocoa beverage (R) 73.before we (A) left (Pm) home (Cl). 74. “We (A) will buy (Pm) food (G), //eat (Pm) //and play around (Pm) here (Cl) 75.until when (Cl) it (T) is (Pi) about twenty minutes (Cl) to the end of the service (Cl), 76.then, we (A) will return (Pm) to the church (Cl),” 77.Maro (Sy) said (Pv). 78. “Are you (Sy) saying (Pv) //that we (A) are not attending (Pm) the service (G)?” 79. I (Sy) asked (Pv) in shock (Cm). 80. He (Be) nodded (Pb). 81. “We (A) don’t attend (Pm), 82.it (Cr) is (Pi) very boring (At). 83. I (Cr) ’d rather be (Pi) somewhere else (Cl), 84.doing (Pm) something thing else (G) //than sit down (Pm) there (Cl) //and be haunted (Pm) by boredom (A),” 85.he (Sy) said (Pv). 86. [His brother, who (Cr) was (Pi) about ten years old (Cl)] (Be), agreed (Pb) with him (Ph). 87. “Being in that church (Cr) is (Pi) so tiring (At).88. Let’s hang out (Pm) around here (Cl), //breathing (Pm) fresh air of freedom (R).” […] 89. The boys (A) bought (Pm) foods (G) with their money for offering (Ca). 90. I (Be) was shocked (Pb) 91. that they (A) could use (Pm) money meant for God (G) to buy food. 92.Baro (Sy) asked (Pv) me (Rv) 93.why I(A) had not bought (Pm) food (G). 94. I (Sy) told (Pv) him (Rv) 95. I (Pr) had (Pp) no money (Pd) on me (At). 96. The aroma of the food vendor’s stew (Cr) was (Pi) so tantalizing (At) 97.it (Ag) made (Pc) my stomach (Cr) grumble (Pm). 98. I (Be) swallowed (Pb) saliva (Ph). 99. “But Daddy (A) gave (Pm) you (B) some money (G) in the car (Cl),”100.Baro (Sy) said (Pv). 101. “He (Sy) said (Pv) // it (Cr)’s (Pi) for offering (At),” 102. I (Sy) said (Pv). 103.Maro (Be) looked at (Pb) me (Ph) with a sneer (Cm). 104. “You (A) better use (Pm) it (G) to eat (Pm),” 105.he (Sy) said (Pv). 106. “It (Cr)’s (Pi) for offering (At). 107. The money (T) is meant (Pcc) for God (V),” 108. I (Sy) said (Pv). 109.Baro (Be) laughed (Pb) 110.butMaro (Be) only scoffed (Pb). 111. “Indeed, it (Cr)’s (Pi) for God (At). 112. Will God (A) come down to take (Pm) the money (G)? 113. It (Cr) ’s (Pi) 114.the pastor that (A) will pocket (Pm) the money (G) 115.and they (Sy) will tell (Pv) you  (Rv) 116. [It (Cr) ’s (Pi)] (A) to maintain (Pm) the church (G). 117. Is (Pi) it (Cr) every Sunday (Cl) 118.we (A) have to pay (Pm) offerings (G) for the maintenance of the church?” 119.Maro (Sy) said (Pv). 120. I (S) knew (Pme) 121.he (Cr) was (Pi) wrong (At). 122. But then he (A) hit (Pm) me (G). 123. “Are (Pi) you (Cr) not a sinner (At)?” 124.he (Sy) asked (Pv) me (Rv). 125. I (Be) agreed (Pb) 126.because I (S) knew (Pme) 127. I (A) had done (Pm) some wrongs (G) 128.and I (Cr) was (Pi) yet //to ask (Pm) for forgiveness (G). 129. He (Be) laughed (Pb) now (Cl). 130. “Do you (S) not know (Pme) //that it (Cr) is (Pi) a greater sin (At) 131.if you (A) give (Pm) God (B) offering (G) 132.when you (Cr) are (Pi) still a sinner (At)? 133. The Bible (Sy) says (Pv) the offering of a sinner is an abomination in God’s sight (Vb).” 134. Perhaps, I (Be) was looking for (Pb) a good excuse (Ph) //to join (Pm) them (G). 135. I (A) got (Pm) this one (G); 136. I (Be) agreed (Pb) with him (Ph) 137.besides, I (A) had heard (Pme) something (G) like this before (Cl). 138. I (A) bought (Pm) the food (G) //and ate (Pm), 139.it (Cr) was (Pi) very delicious (At). 140. We (A) roamed (Pm) about the area (Cl) 141.and finally sat (Pm) under a tree (Cl) //and chatted (Pm) about almost everything. 142. I (Sy) told (Pv) them (Rv) stories about Lagos (Vb) 143. and they (Sy) told (Pv) me (Rv) about their friends (Vb).

Transitivity patterns in extract2

  1. I (A) ran (Pm) to the door (Cl) //and checked (Pm). 2. It (G) was not locked (Pm). 3. I (G) was really surprised (Pm). 4. I (A) slipped (Pm) into the house (Cl). 5. I (S) knew (Pme)//if I (G) was caught (Pm), 6. I (G) would be considered (Pm) a criminal. 7. I (A) closed (Pm) the door (G) 8.just like (Cm) she (A) had left (Pm) it (G) //and entered (Pm) the flat (Cl). 9. The sitting room (Cr) was (Pi) big and scanty (At). 10. There was (Pe) meager furniture and a big television set (X) on the rugged floor (Cl). 11. The smell of freshly smoked cigarette (A) stuffed (Pm) the room (Cl). 12. On the floor (Cl) were (Pi) empty bottles of whisky (At). 13.On a small table beside the wall (Cl), there was (Pe) an opened pack of half-finished pizza (X). 14. I (A) went (Pm) into the first room (Cl), 15.it (Cr) was (Pi) empty (At). […] 16. Nobody (Cr) was (Pi) there (Cl). 17. The third and last room (G) was locked (Pm) 18.but there was (Pe) a key on the door indicating that (X) 19.it (G) was locked (Pm) from outside the room (Cl). 20. I (A) opened (Pm) the door (G) //and entered (Pm). 21. I (Be) was shocked (Pb) 22.when I (S) saw (Pme) a figure tired to a chair, gagged and blind-folded (Ph). 23. I (Be) panicked (Pb). 24. This (Cr) must be (Pi) the young man (At). 25. Indeed, he (Cr) was (Pi) a man (At). 26. I (A) removed (Pm) the blindfold (G). 27. He (Be) was shocked (Pb) to see (Pme) me (G). 28. I (A) removed (Pm) the gag (G). 29. “Who are (Pi) you (Cr)?” 30. He (Sy) asked (Pv). 31. I (A) put (Pm) a finger (G) in front of my mouth (Cl) 32.indicating that he (Cr) should be (Pi) quiet (At). 33. I (A) went (Pm) behind the chair (Cl) 34.and was (Pi) about untying him 35.when I (S) heard (Pme) noise (Ph) from the living room (Cl). 36. It (Cr) was (Pi) the man’s voice (At). 37. “I (A) didn’t send (Pm) you (G), 38.so who are (Pi) you (Cr) 39.and what are (Pi) you (Cr) up to? 40. Tell (PV) me (Rv) or else, 41. I (A) will kill (Pm) you (G),” 42.the man (A) thundered (Pm). 43. Then I (S) heard (Pme) footsteps (Ph) coming towards the room (Cl). 44. “Paul, the room (Cr) is (Pi) open (At),” 45.the lady’s voice (A) came (Pm). 46. Then I (S) heard (Pme) the hurrying and heavy footsteps of the man (Ph). 47. The door (G) was flung open (Pm). 48. “Someone (Cr) was (Pi) here (Cl),” 49.the lady (Sy) said (Pv) 50.and turned (Pm) to the victim (Cl). 51. “Who (Cr) was (Pi) here (Cl) 52.and who (A) loosened (Pm) you (G)?” 53. I (Be) was shaking (Pb) in the wardrobe (Cl) 54. I (A) had run (Pm) into (Cl) and hidden. 55. The lady (A) was ranting, threatening to kill (Pm) the victim (G) 56.who (Sy) would not say (Pv) anything (Vb). 57. “This boy (S) knows (Pme) something about it (Ph),” 58. the man (Sy) finally said (Pv). 59. “And the person (Cr) is (Pi) still in this house (Cl).” […] 60. The wardrobe door (G) was flung open (Pm) 61.and there (Cl) I (Cr) was (Pi), //soaked (Pm) with sweat (Ca). 62. The man (A) stared (Pm) deathly (Cm) at me (Rv). 63. He (A) was holding (Pm) a pistol (G). 64. “Come out (Pm) here (Cl),” 65.he (Sy) ordered (Pv). 66. I (A) rose (Pm). 67. My knees (A) buckled (Pm). 68. I (Cr) was (Pi) in deep trouble (At). 69. Now, I (S) understood (Pme) 70.whatMaro (Cr) was (Pi) afraid of (At). 71. He (A) grabbed (Pm) me (G) //and pulled (Pm) me (G) out violently (Cm). 72. He (A) threw (Pm) me (G) to the ground (Cl). 73. “Ah-ha, it (Cr) ’s (Pi) the boy (At) with the message (Ca) from his mother (Cl),” 74.the lady (Sy) said (Pv), [looking at (Pb) me (Ph). 75. The man (A) stared at (Pm) me (G) for a long time (Cl). 76. He (A) pulled (Pm) me (G) up //and placed (Pm) the pistol (G) on my head (Cl). 77. It (Cr) was (Pi) the very first time (Cl) [that I (S) was seeing (Pme) a pistol (Ph) outside a television set (Cl)]. […] 78. “Now talk (Pv), 79.who (A) sent (Pm) you (G) 80.and how (Cm) did you (A) get (Pm) into all this (Cl)? 81. Make (Pm) it (G) quick (Cm) 82.because I (Cr) am (Pi) impatient (A),”83.he (Sy) grunted (Pv) yet under his breath (Cl). 84. He (Cr) looked (Pi) dangerous and violent (At). 85. The lady (Cr) was (Pi) impatient (At). 86. She (A) picked up (Pm) a bottle of whisky (G)// and opened (Pm) it (G). 87.She (A) took (Pm) a swig (G) //and belched (Pm). 88. She (A) moved (Pm) about the room (Cl), //looking (Pme) through the window (Cl). 89. I (Be) was shaking (Pb) [and did not know (Pme) what to say (Pv)] (Ph). 90. I (Cr) was (Pi) afraid (At) 91.that the man (A) would kill (Pm) me (G). 92. [“Speak!”] (Vb) he (Sy) ordered (Pv). 93. “Nobody (A) sent (Pm) me (G),” 94. I (Sy) quivered (Pv). 95. “Indeed! Then how (Cm) did you (A) get in (Pm) here (Cl)? 96. How (Cm) did you (A) find out (Pm) 97.he (Cr) is (Pi) here (Cl)?” 98. he (Sy) asked (Pv). 99. “Who (Sy) told (Pv) you (Rv)?” 100. I (A) decided (Pm) //to lie (Pm) despite myself. 101. “Three men, police officers (A), sent (Pm) us (G) [to carry out (Pm) this investigation (G)]. 102. But I (A) decided to set (Pm) the victim (G) free 103.so we (Sy) can tell (Pv) them (Rv) 104.we (S) didn’t see (Pme) anybody (Ph) here (Cl),” 105. I (Sy) said (Pv). 106. [“Liar!”] (Vb) the lady (Sy) screamed (Pv). 107. “Keep (Pm) your voice (G) down, girl,” 108.the man (A) cautioned (Pm). […] 109. Then suddenly (Cm), the lady (Sy) said (Pv) [that they (A) would be taking (Pm) greater risk (G) //by waiting (Pm) [till it (Cr) was (Pi) night (Cl)]] (Vb). 110. She (Sy) argued (Pv) 111.that the fact that (Cc) we, the little boys (A), got (Pm) there (Cl) //and knew (Pme) something about it (Ph), 112.it (Be) meant (Pb) //that they (Cr) were not (Pi) safe (At) anymore 113.and delaying (A) was increasing (Pm) the risk (G). 114. The man (S) reasoned (Pme) with her (Ph)//and agreed (Pm). […] 115. I (A) was fervently (Cm) praying (Pm) for a neighbor or two (G) //to be (Pi) outside (Cl)//and see (Pme) us (Ph) being taken (Pm) //and possibly (Cm) asked (Pv) questions (Vb). 116. The man (A) gagged (Pm) us (G) up //and ordered (Pv) the victim and me (Rv) to get up (Pm). 117. Despite myself, I (G) was resolved (Pm) 118.that once (Cl) I (Cr) was (Pi) outside the building (Cl), 119. I (A) would take (Pm) to my heels (Ca). 120.As if the man (A) read (Pm) my mind (R), 121.he (A) tied (Pm) my left leg (R) to the kidnapped young man’s right leg (Cl). 122. The victim (Cr) was (Pi) so subdued (At) //and was (Pi) quiet (At). 123. Jeremiah and I (Be) were crying (Pb) 124.even though our mouths (G) were covered (Pm). […] 125. He (A) opened (Pm) the back door (Cl) //and ordered (Pv) us (Rv) in. 126. I (Cr) was (Pi) reluctant (At)// to move (Pm). 127. “Get in (Pm) now Cl),” 128.he (Sy) barked (Pv). 129. Just then the gate (A) opened (Pm) 130.andOdirin (A) entered (Pm) the compound (Cl). 131. He (A) was sweating (Pm). 132. He (A) paused (Pm) in shock (Cm) 133.at what (Ph) he (S) saw (Pme). 134. The man (A) pointed (Pm) the pistol (G) at him //and ordered (Pm) him (G) to come in (Pm). 135. Just as Odirin (A) moved in (Pm), 136.armed policemen (A) followed (Pm) him (G). 137. They (Cr) were (Pi) more than six (At). 138. My heart (A) jumped (Pm) with joy (Cm). 139. The policemen (A) pointed (Pm) their rifles (G) at us, //ordering (Pv) the man (Rv)//to drop (Pm) his weapon (G). 140. The man (Be) panicked (Pb). 141. I (S) thought (Pme) 142.he (A) would seize (Pm) one of us to hold as hostage (C). 143. But he (G) was so frightened (Pm) 144.that he (A) quickly (Cm) dropped (Pm) the pistol (G) //and raised (Pm) his hand in surrender. 145. He (G) was handcuffed (Pm) 146.and we (G) were untied (Pm), 147.the gag (A) removed (Pm) from our mouths (Cl). […]

[1] (Our translation): “…one must not forget here that the desire to challenge dangers, to expose (sometimes needlessly) one’s life is part and parcel of the most characteristic tendencies of that age.”

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