Literature and the Possibilities of Language Function

Amechi N. Akwanya


The variety of human activities and needs gives rise to a plurality of language functions, among them communication. However, communication is so highly rated that for many this is not merely a function, but the key factor that defines the reality of language. This high rating of communication has important consequences. For example, the variety of functions tends to be reduced to forms of communication. On the other hand, it leaves language in an environment to function in anonymity and pure transparency, becoming a point of serious discussion only within academic linguistics. Among literary scholars, it is either ignored just as in the common usage or it is discussed under one theme or another of academic linguistics. Between these two extremes, however, lies a deep question as to what language is to literature. This is the question opened up in this paper; and it is postulated that an adequate account of the relation of language and literature may only be attempted within a theory of literature.

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