A sociolinguistic analysis of graffiti in secondary

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  • 1. A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF GRAFFITI IN SECONDARYSCHOOLS: A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SCHOOLS IN NYANDARUADISTRICTKAN JUKI AGNES W.AM13/1121/04A project submitted to the Graduate School in Partial Fulfillment of theRequirement for the Degree of Master of Arts in English Language andLinguistics of Egerton University

2. ABSTRACT Graffiti assume the form of written language or drawings on surfaces in publicplaces. Their authorship is private and the writers are anonymous. They are oftenviewed as illegal, and are interpreted as a challenge and threat to existing authority in acontext where one group exerts influence over another. Graffiti are however a form ofpublic communication. Their authors who are usually denied other channels ofcommunication use them as avenues for self-expression and to pass across messages onreal-life issues affecting them. Students in secondary schools in Kenya are one suchgroup that use graffiti to express their opinions. Since they do not always enjoy theprivilege of making decisions or taking part in discussions on matters affecting them,they fall back on graffiti as an alternative medium of communication. The current studyset out to investigate and identify graffiti, describe their stylistic features, find out themessages they put across and establish different attitudes towards graffiti. The studywas based on the hypotheses that graffiti use specific stylistic features of language, areused to communicate messages on social issues and that students and teachers havedifferent attitudes towards their writing. Texts were collected in ten secondary schoolsin Nyandarua District. Out of these two hundred texts; twenty from each school, werepurposively sampled for analysis. Two teachers and five students from each schoolwere interviewed using different interview schedules. The data elicited from thisexercise was later analysed qualitatively and quantitatively to arrive at inferences andconclusions. The research was limited to a socio-linguistic approach to the study ofgraffiti in secondary schools. The study was guided by Leechs Model of StylisticAnalysis and Critical Discourse Analysis. The findings were that graffiti used uniquestylistic devices such as capitalization, short word forms, figurative language andsymbolism among others. Graffiti also communicate messages on various topics toinclude love and sex, school authority, student welfare, religion and politics. Thefindings of this research contribute to the study of linguistics in general, andparticularly to the fields of Stylistics, Discourse Studies and Sociolinguistics by givingan analysis of language use in society. It is also relevant and useful to secondary schoolpolicy-makers, administrators and teachers who will gain knowledge on the meaning ofgraffiti which they will use to understand the students. vii 3. TABLE OF CONTENT PAGETitle page(i)Declaration and Approval . (ii)Copyright(iii)Dedication (iv)Acknowledgement(v)Abstract (vii)Table of Contents (viii)Definition of Terms.(xiii)List of Tables and Figures(xiv)CHAPTER ONE:INTRODUCTION1.1Background to the Study 11.2Statement of the Problem 21.3Objectives of the Study21.4Hypothesis of the Study21.5Significance of the Study31.6 Scope of the Study31.7Limitations of the Study 3fi vm 4. CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW2.0 Introduction42.1 General Views on Graffiti 42.1.1 History and Scope of Graffiti 42.1.2 Different Attitudes Towards Graffiti 5 Negative Attitudes6 Positive Attitudes7 Implications of the Definitions 92.1.3 Types of Graffiti11 Political Graffiti 11 Existential Graffiti 12 Gang Graffiti12 Summary on Types of Graffiti 132.1.4 Different Approaches to the Study of Graffiti132.2 Theoretical Framework 162.2.1 Critical Discourse Analysis162.2.2 Leechs Model of Stylistic Analysis 19CHAPTER THREE:METHODOLOGY3.0 Introduction 213.1 Data Collection Techniques 213.1.1 Sampling Procedures 21 Sampling Schools21 Sampling Graffiti Texts22 S ampling Respondents22 Accessing the Schools23 x 5. 3.1.2 Tools For Data Collection24 Unstructured Interviews 24 Field Notes243.2 Data Recording 253.2.1 Types of Data 253.2.2 Written Records253.2.3 Audio Recording253.2.4 Photography 263.2.5 Limitations 263.2.6 Ethical Issues263.3 Techniques used in Analysis 273.3.1 Transcription, Presentation and Analysis of Data 27CHAPTER FOUR: THE LANGUAGE OF GRAFFITI4.0 Introduction294.1 Attitudes Towards Graffiti294.1.1 Students Attitudes Towards Graffiti294.1.2 Teachers Attitudes Towards Graffiti 304.1.3 Summary on Attitudes Towards Graffiti 314.2 Linguistic Analysis of Graffiti324.2.1 Sample Analysis of a Graffito324.2.2 Language Choices in Graffiti 344.2.2.1 Sheng344.2.2.2 English364.2.2.3 Kiswahili374.2.2.4 Vernacular384.2.2.5 Summary on Language Choices in Graffiti 39 6. 4 2.3 Graphological Analysis of Graffiti394.2.3.1 Scribbles and Drawings 394.2.3.2 Use of Punctuation424.2.4 Syntactic Analysis of Graffiti Texts444.2.5 Stylistic Features in Graffiti Texts 464.2.5.1 Repetition 464.2.5.2 Short Word forms474.2.5.3 Use of Nicknames 484.2.5.4 Slogans494.2.5.5 Humour504.2.5.6 Figurative Language504.2.5.7 Symbolism514.2.5.8 Taboo Language 524.3 Summary of Linguistic Analysis of Graffiti53CHAPTER FIVE: THE SOCIAL MESSAGES EXPRESSED IN GRAFFITI5.0 Introduction 545.1 Sources of Graffiti 545.1.1 Classroom 545.1.2 Laboratory555.1.3 Dormitory 555.1.4 Ablution 555.1.5 Dining Hall565.1.6 Library 565.2 Social Messages in Graffiti 575.2.1 Messages on Love and Sex58 Messages on Sex58 Love Declarations61 Summary of Messages on Love and Sex 63 7. 5 2.2 Messages on School Authority 635.2.2.1 Attitudes Towards Teachers 635.2.2.2 Attitudes Towards Prefects 675.2.2.3 Summary of Messages on School Authority 685.2.3 Messages on Student Welfare685.2.4 Messages on Drugs715.2.5 Messages on Religion 735.2.6 Messages on Celebrities735.2.7 Messages on Politics 745.2.8 Summary of Social Messages75CHAPTER SIX:SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS6.0 Introduction776.1 Summary776.2 Conclusions78 6.2.1 The Language of Graffiti 78 Stylistic Features in Graffiti 78 Social Messages in Graffiti79 Attitudes Towards Graffiti 806.3 Contributions of the Study 806.4 Problems in Research816.5 Recommendations for Further Study 81BIBLIOGRAPHY 82APPENDIX I Interview Schedule for Teachers 85APPENDIX II Interview Schedule for Students 86APPENDIX in Provided List of Graffiti Texts 87APPENDIX IV List of Graffiti Texts 88APPENDIX V Research Permit xii


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