Soyinka’s Language Engineering in the Jero Plays and The Beatification of Area Boy

Stella I. Ekpe, Anita N. Oden, Ako O. Essien-Eyo


Wole Soyinka engineers language to reflect his bilinguality and biculturalism, and to define his style. The paper attempts to debunk some misconceptions about Soyinka’s language which portray him as a Eurocentric scholar who often uses obscure diction and foreign imagery in his works. Two of his plays- The Jero Plays, published before he won the Nobel Prize, and The Beatification of Area Boy published after, serve as points of reference. The systemic functional linguistic theory is used as a framework because it recognizes situational constraints on language use. A content analysis of the texts under review undertakes from the viewpoint of Soyinka’s style, his portrayal of the African culture and worldview, and his concern for the language problemreveals that in most of his works, Soyinka has used features which mark out the varieties of English used in a second language situation.



Bilingualism; Biculturalism; Eurocentricism; Obscurantism; Code mixing; Code switching; Hybridization; Second language; Transliteration; Neologism; Idiolect; Nigerian pidgin; Interference variety

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