Implicit Meanings in the Courtship-Driven Discourses in the “Morning” Part of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel

Abstract

The process of inferencing in discourse events is an essential aspect of understanding communications. Most often, writers do not explicitly state the text’s message; they rely on the reader’s encyclopedic knowledge. Soyinka’s text The Lion and the Jewel is one of such texts, where the understanding of inherent meaning depend heavily on inference. However, the text has attracted extant studies both from literary and linguistic perspectives, but observably, none has addressed the implicit meanings in the discourses for better understanding of the text. Hence, this study examines the implicit meanings in its courtship-driven discourses in order to understand the characters’ ideology and projected themes. The data for the study are delimited to the interactions of the two major characters in the “Morning” part of the text. The data were analysed using insights from Grice (1975) Conversational Implicature theory. The findings reveal that they flout the maxims as a means of self-defense to one’s integrity and as resistance from imposition, thus projecting the themes of self-defense and resistance from imposition. It portrays the characters’ ideology as people who protect one’s ego and are always ready to defend oneself to shun intimidation. Maxims of manner and quantity are most exploited using literal and non-literal expressions, while quality maxim constitutes the least, no instance of relevance maxim is found.

Keywords: Cooperative Principle, Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, conversational implicature theory, courtship discourse, implicit meaning


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 37-47 (Download PDF)

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