Style is one‟s way of doing a thing. It can be of dressing,
speaking, acting, teaching and writing which is influenced by a lot of
factors or ideologies such as history, religion and culture. 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 Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun with
the aim of identifying some of the linguistic features the writer used
and tounderstand the cultural and historical ideology behind the texts,
appreciating her style. Halliday‟s functional linguistics approach is
adopted as a theoretical framework where particular note is taken of the
stylistic functional effects and thematic significance of the
linguistic features in literary texts. Leech and Short‟s (2007)
analytical checklist is used to breakdown randomly selected stylistic
features into three categories, lexical, grammatical and context. Basil
Bernstein‟s (1971) perspective on code switching and mixing is used
to analyse how the writer‟s culture informs her choice as a form of
stylistic expression. The study has been able to highlight the stylistic
features in the texts, analyse how these styles were used to reveal
Adichie‟s ideas, and highlight the extent to which Adichie‟s cultural
and linguistic background affect her style of writing. Halliday‟s
systemic functional approach is of the opinion that style is
functionally motivated by a writer‟s choice of language in use.
Therefore this study outlined the various features (linguistic
stylistic) which Adichie has used to creatively present her novels. This
research therefore recommends that young writers can use Adichie‟s
style of writing since the aim of studying style is to improve the
vigour of the writer‟s ability to communicate effectively.
1.1 Background to the Study
A lot of similarities exist in the definitions of language. From
another angle, there are highly technical usages of the word “language”
reflecting the way the term has been applied figuratively to all forms
of human behaviour such as language of writing, media, politics, music,
law and advertisement. Halliday (1971:332) also succinctly puts the
function of language thus:
Language serves for the expression of content. The speaker or
writer embodies language, his experiences of the internal world of his
Consciousness, his reaction, cognition, and perception and also his
Linguistic acts of speaking and understanding.
The major challenge about defining language is that of trying to
summarise its contents in single sentences. According to Sapir (1921:8),
language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating
ideas, thoughts and emotions by means of voluntarily produced symbols.
This definition presents language as a primarily human characteristic
for the purpose of communication. To Chomsky (1957:13), language is a
set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length as set of
physical patterns that are arbitrarily combined to make the
communication process effective. From Chomsky‟s definition, it‟s obvious
that language consists of several elements each with a different way of
operation but combined together to produce unlimited constructions.
Therefore to Chomsky, language is a functional element used by humans
for the purpose of communication. From the perspective of the above
definition of language by Sapir (1921:8) language communicates ideas,
emotions, thoughts, and desires which, when put down in a literary text,
is referred to as literature.