A linguistic stylistic analysis of Gbemisola Adeoti’s Naked Soles

Ipigbe, Esther Ochuwa (2013)



The study identified and described the lexico-semantic features of the poems in Adeoti’s Naked Soles. It described the prominent phono-syntactic features of the poem and related the features to the content and context of the poems. This was with a view to describing the linguistic style in the poems. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection. Primary sources included 25 poems, (five from each section) which were purposively selected from Gbemisola Adeoti’s Naked Soles. The poems were read and the lexico-semantic and phono-syntactic elements were identified. Secondary sources included books, journal articles and the Internet. Data were analysed using Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. The results showed that at the lexico-semantic level such lexemes as ‘‘vision’’ / ‘‘fiction’’, ‘‘peace’’/ ‘‘chaos’’, ‘‘denied’’ /”affirmed’’, were used to project the themes of deceit, and political corruption. Also lexical contradictions like: ‘‘blooming thorns’’, ‘‘muffled shrill’’, “glass chips’’ and ‘‘puzzling smiles’’ asserted the opposite of what they meant which revealed falsehood in the administration of Nigeria’s political leaders. Many of the poems were cultural, for they contained lexical borrowings whose meanings were rooted in the Yoruba culture. Such lexical borrowings were: “gelede”, “,lroko”, “ogunpa”, “laalu”, “ogun lakaaye”, “olu igbo”, “olumo” and “owuye”. These lexical items served in contextualizing the poems and in generalizing cognitive responses in the reader. At the phono-syntactic level sound repetition enhanced the lyricism of the poems and helped to emphasise the themes. The dominance of unstressed syllables and irregular rhythmic pattern which ran through the poems enabled the poet to express his anger at government deceit and misrule. The sentence structure revealed that there were ample uses of nominal group structures like: “the market of vengeance/unripe hour of harvest” foregrounded in the poems. The use of adjectives and the definite article “the” to modify the noun headwords and their qualifiers call for particular attention. These adjectives and the definite article, to a large extent intensified the meanings of the noun headwords and through this; the poet was able to declare his anger against misrule, political slavery and injustice. The poet relied more on declarative sentences than interrogative sentences for enhancing the validity of his claims. This was so because he found the declarative sentences more suitable for the expression of his feelings on the issue at hand. Interrogative sentences like: ‘who would sneak and meander/like serpent behind this palace…/to steal the royal trumpet…?’ were used by the poet to probe the rationale for our political leaders’ actions thereby exposing the evil machinations behind them for the public to see and judge. The study concluded that the linguistic style in Gbemisola Adeoti’s poems engaged lexico-semantic resources and styles that captured his mood on the state of the nation.