A Stylo-syntactic Study of Halima Amali’s Faces of Shame

Published: SEPTEMBER 2021


Joseph Alagbe

About Author(s):

Department of English & Modern Languages, Federal University of Lafia, Lafia,

Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

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Syntax is one of the levels of language description through which the grammar of a language is acquired. Its primary concern is the well-formedness of phrases, clauses and sentences and their orderly arrangement to convey a meaningful sense. The syntactic features of a text are instrumental in understanding a text. This study has focused on the prominent syntactic features Halima Amali has employed in the poem, Faces of shame. The twenty-nine lines of the poem serve as the corpus for the study while Halliday’s systemic functional grammar is deployed for analysis. Findings from the study reveal that the poet used clause and group to express her thoughts in the poem. Similarly, syntactic parallelism is observed in the piece; it is used to unmask what the “faces of shame” do with the wealth they loot from public coffers, the volume they loot, the currencies involved; as well as what they squander the stolen wealth on – ostentation and immorality. The nominal group is used to succinctly unmask the “faces of shame” as public functionaries. Preposition-headed adverbial group is utilized to identify the source of the looted wealth, the motivation for the looting and the unresponsiveness of the public office holders to the yearnings of the general populace. Findings also capture rank-shifted group and clause as qualifiers for their respective antecedents. The paper concludes that the poet is effective and apt in the use of syntactic features, which in turn, define her idiolect.

Key words: syntax, syntactic parallelism, rank-shift, clause, group, Faces of shame