Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 1, No 9 (2011), 1062-1068, Sep 2011

Sound and Stylistic Meaning in Helon Habila's Measuring Time

Ebi Yeibo, Tamunotonye Alabrabra


Earlier reviews of Helon Habila’s Measuring Time concentrated on literary features, such as theme, plot, characterization and subject matter in the text. However, such reviews have paid little attention to the role sound devices play in foregrounding stylistic meaning, which is very crucial for a comprehensive description and interpretation of the text. This study, therefore, applies the insights and techniques of general linguistics to investigate the stylistic value of phonological devices as semantic signifiers or reinforcers in the text. Specifically, the study deploys M.A.K. Halliday’s three metafunctions of language viz: ideational, interpersonal and textual, as the analytical model, to examine the use of sound devices such as parallelism, repetition, alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia, to foreground aspects of meaning in the text. The study posits that, as a level of language study, phonological structure plays a fundamental role in encoding the meaning and aesthetics of Helon Habila’s text, and literary discourse in general.


sound devices; stylistic meaning; Helon Habila; Measuring Time


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