Uche Kenneth Chukwu, Chioma Chinedu-Oko


Literary communication is one of the fields that allow flexibility in the use of language. Most essentially, in the poetic genre, creative writers manipulate the elasticity of linguistic principles, rules, and techniques in their attempt to express their intended messages. This paper examines ambiguity as one of the linguistic principles open to such creative manipulations. In the paper, six poems by six different poets, Tanure Ojaide, Ibiwari Ikiriko, Ogaga Ifowodo, Obari Gomba, Sophia Obi and Chris Onyema, have been examined with particular focus on how the words shell, crude and palm, have been manipulated within the context of the Niger Delta environmental politics. The paper adopts the systemic functional theory as its major theoretical framework against the background that the choices and manipulations of meaning are instances of functionality of language. The poets are selected through simple random technique, while the poems are selected through purposive method, with specific interest on the creative manipulation of the selected lexical items. The conclusion of the paper is that although ambiguity is mostly regarded as a barrier to precise expression of ideas, it can also be positively exploited to realize brevity through duality of relevant significations.


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ambiguity, ecology, poems, Niger Delta

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