Transitivity Analysis of Proverbs in Achebe’s A Man of the People

  •  Emodi Livina Nkeiruka    


The language of literary texts is adorned with proverbs, a cultural element which to some extent has become significant in the growth and development of African literature and in the portrayal of meaning assigned by the writer. This paper explores the relationship between linguistic structures and culturally constructed meaning in Chinua Achebe’s novel A Man of the people by critically examining the transitivity of proverbs used in the work. This study is anchored on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar. The analysis reveals that Achebe uses more material processes, followed by mental processes and then relational and verbal processes. Furthermore, the types of transitivity process, participants, circumstatials contribute towards the construction of themes reflected in the novel. Based on the results, the paper concludes that Achebe uses a variety of transitivity processes as proposed by M.A.K. Halliday with the exception of existential and behaviour. He uses actors, sensers, carriers, identifiers, to convey message of his novel. Achebe mostly uses circumstances of extent, location, and manner to show that the actions take place in a certain place, time, and at a certain frequency. The paper concludes that Achebe’s use of varieties of processes, participants and circumstances has made his novel interesting and readable.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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