Tag Archives: Nigerian Civil War


This study examined the use of language in Okpewho’s The Last Duty (TLD) and Nwapa’s Never Again (NA). Both novels communicate the Nigerian civil war experiences of 1966 – 1970. The novels were viewed not just as literary genre but as discourse type with particular emphasis on linguistic stylistics. The analysis was based on the systemic functional grammar model, a theory of language. The study focused on the syntactic features of the language used in the primary texts. Investigations revealed copious structural sentence types such as, simple, compound and complex sentences well as functional sentence types like declarative, imperative and rhetorical questions in both texts. In addition, there was an incorporation of a conversational voice expressed through verbal exchanges among participants in the war, with the use of elliptical structures, contracted forms of words and utterance initiators which portrayed participants as live humans. Okpewho preferred hypotactic sentence style which in feminists’ stylistics is interpreted as a male phenomenon of patriarchy and dominance while Nwapa’s sentence style were rather parataxis; short and simple sentences intended to show equality and coordination. This observation agrees with the gender voice about what feminists’ stylistics advocate. Both authors used rhetorical questions, elliptical structures, hesitation features and contracted forms. The languages of both authors were replete and spiced with insults and abuses, exemplifying the language of war. These features and devices employed helped the authors to communicate the message of the Nigerian civil war and achieve realism.

Keywords: : Syntactic, Nigerian Civil War, Okpewho’s