A Discourse Analysis of Luo Traditional Dirges: The Discourse Strategies in Dirge Music Performance
This study investigated the discourse strategies which the dirge singer uses to communicate with his audience. It was limited to the dirge as used among the Luo people of Kenya. The intention of the study was to analyse the use of language in song as spoken text with a view to examining the emerging linguistic patterns and discourse characteristics of song text which facilitate effective communication. The study was premised on the argument that the spoken text bears certain similarities with the written text and also expresses its meaning through additional properties of speech such as paralinguistic and contextual elements. It was assumed that the song discourse structure can be effectively analysed using the Discourse Representation Theory (DRT). This theory provided the tools to analyse textual progression within the discourse and how discourse strategies are distributed and applied to help construct a harmonious discourse structure. In order to deal with non-linguistics performance features, a Cohesion approach was used as a subsidiary tool within the DRT framework. The research was largely library and field based with the latter limited to existing recorded music material obtained from performance situations, which were transcribed into textual forms for analysis and discussions. The researcher used non-participant observation because the data was mainly in the form of recorded and transcribed musical material that did not require elaborate field observation. In investigating the use of language in song as spoken text with a view to examining the emerging linguistic patterns and discourse characteristics of song text, the study contributed to the theoretical understanding of the song text as a projection of the efficacy of a genre in communication situations. The study is also significant because it demonstrates that song as a genre is replete with internal dynamics that can be manipulated artistically to effectively communicate to an audience in any situation. It can therefore inform policy on language use and communication strategies within private and public organisations.
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