Graphic devices as signallers of meaning in Osundare’s Dialogue with my country


  • Isaiah Aluya Bingham University, Karu


Signallers, graphic markers, graphic symbols, graphic devices


This paper focuses on graphic signs as signallers of meaning in Osundare’s ‘Dialogue with my country’. It has been observed that Osundare’s literary work mirrors Nigeria’s social and economic challenges of grave concern, as well as political issues of national importance. Therefore, the study examines how the essayist has employed language replete with a host of graphic markers to achieve his intentions pertaining to the essays’ thematic thrusts and forms. The data for analysis constitute the following essays from ‘Dialogue with my country’:“Tears for my country”, “Murderers be not proud”, “Truth of my politics”, “Abominations”, “When government steals”, “Leave the lawmakers alone”, “The unthinkable”, “Mad times” and “Scars of the season (I and II)”. The selected essays were analysed based on the principles of Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics (SFL). The analysis reveals that the following graphic symbols: capitalisation; italicisation and punctuations (i.e. exclamation, question mark, ellipsis dots; and the comma etc.,) are generously foregrounded and artistically deployed to communicate social meaning. Also, it is observed that the use of graphological devices prominent in the selected essays exhibits Osundare’s artistic potentials, his freedom in compositional pattern as well as highlights the meanings he makes with these devices. It therefore shows that a writer’s manipulation of these devices can either obscure or reveal meaning.