Experiential metafunction: representing environmental degradation



  • Richard Oliseyenum Maledo Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
  • Joyce Uzezi Edhere Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro, Nigeria


ecological degradation, environmental poetry, experiential meaning, language grammar, language issues, linguistic analysis, linguistic evidence, linguistic framework, transitivity system


The constant exploration and exploitation of crude oil in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria had had a negative consequential effect on the entire ecosystem of the region. This has been a source of national and international concern and has attracted the attention of scholars from several disciplines, within and outside the region. Creative writers were not left out and this had given birth to which poetry was one of its most prolific genres. Though regional, the literature in general and poetry, in particular, had attracted myriads of attention from eco-literary criticism while the language of the poems had been understudied. Therefore, this study is a linguistic analysis of Niger Delta environmental poetry. Seven poems were purposefully selected from Tanure Ojaide’s Songs of Myself: Quartet (2015) and Nnimo Bassey’s We Thought It Was Oil but It Was Blood (2002).  The Hallidayan Transitivity system of the Experiential meaning of the clause was adopted as a linguistic framework to show how the ecological realities of the region were encoded in the structure of the clause. The study revealed that the nature of the processes and the participants’ roles aptly encoded ecological degradation in the structure of the clause.


Download data is not yet available.


Adejare, R. A. (2015). The syntactic relationship between transitivity and voice. International journal of language and linguistics, 3(2): 40-51.

Aghoghovwia, P. O. (2014). Ecocriticism and the oil encounter: readings from the Niger Delta (Doctoral dissertation, Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University).

Agofure, J. O. (n.d.). The poetics and politics of landscape in Nnimmo Bassey’s poetry: Wethought it was oil but it was blood. An unpublished manuscript.

Maledo, R. O. (2018). Hyponymic presentation of Niger Delta issues in Tanure Ojaide’s Poetry. Abraka humanities review, 8(1): 119-136.

Maledo, R. O. (2019). Graphological devices and meaning in Tanure Ojaide’s poetry. KIU journal of humanities, 4(1), 39-47.

Bassey, N. (2002). We thought it was oil but it was blood. Ibadan: Kraft Books

Bloor, T., & Bloor, M. (2004). The functional analysis of English (2nd editon). London: Arnold.

Donohue, J. P. (2012). Using systemic functional linguistics in academic writing development: An example from film studies. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(1), 4-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2011.11.003

Egya, S. E. (2016). Nature and environmentalism of the poor: eco-poetry from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 28(1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2015.1083848

Fontaine, L. (2012). Analysing English grammar: A systemic functional introduction. Cambridge University Press.

Halliday, M. A. (1970). Language structure and language function. New horizons in linguistics, 1, 140-165.

Halliday, M. A. (1993). Towards a language-based theory of learning. Linguistics and education, 5(2), 93-116. https://doi.org/10.1016/0898-5898(93)90026-7

Halliday, M. A. (1995). Systemic theory. In Concise History of the Language Sciences (pp. 272-276). Pergamon. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-042580-1.50048-9

Halliday, M. A. (2020). Linguistic function and literary style: An inquiry into the language of William Golding's The Inheritors. In The Language and Literature Reader (pp. 19-28). Routledge.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1994). An introduction to functional grammar, 2nd ed. London: Edward Arnold.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. (2013). Halliday's introduction to functional grammar. Routledge.

Halliday, M. A. K., Matthiessen, C. M., Halliday, M., & Matthiessen, C. (2014). An introduction to functional grammar. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203783771

Koroliova, V., Grechenko, V., Kovalchuk, M., Samoilenko, V., Shevchenko, T., & Zaitseva, V. (2021). Information and communication activity of students when writing a course work on linguistics. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(1), 115-128. https://doi.org/10.37028/lingcure.v5n1.1062

Lipovsky, C. (2006). Candidates’ negotiation of their expertise in job interviews. Journal of Pragmatics, 38(8), 1147-1174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2005.05.007

Mee, T. S., & Seng, T. C. (2014). Whose story? A systemic functional perspective on Mariah. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 134, 23-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.04.220

Mehmet, M. I., & Clarke, R. J. (2016). B2B social media semantics: Analysing multimodal online meanings in marketing conversations. Industrial Marketing Management, 54, 92-106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2015.12.006

Mirzahoseini, Z., Gowhary, H., Jamalinesari, A., & Azizifar, A. (2015). A Contrastive Analysis of Adjuncts Regarding Their Manner of Expression in English and Persian. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 192, 124-131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.06.019

Monbec, L. (2020). Systemic functional linguistics for the EGAP module: Revisiting the common core. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 43, 100794. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2019.100794

Morley, G. D. (2000). Syntax in functional grammar: An introduction to lexicogrammar in systemic linguistics. A&C Black.

Mortensen, L. (1992). A transitivity analysis of discourse in dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Journal of neurolinguistics, 7(4), 309-321. https://doi.org/10.1016/0911-6044(92)90021-N

Nwagbara, U. (2010). In the Shadow of the Imperialists: A Philosophic-Materialist Reading of Tanure Ojaide’s Delta Blues & Home Songs and Daydream of Ants and other Poems. Poetics of Resistance: Ecocritical Reading of Ojaide’s Delta Blues & Home Songs and Daydream of Ants and Other Poems” African Study Monographs, 31(1), 17-30.

Nwahunanya, C. (2011). Introduction: from boom to doom – The Niger Delta in contemporary Nigerian literature. In N. Chinyere (ed.) From boom to doom: Protest and conflict resolution in the literature of the Niger Delta. Owerri: Springfield, xiii-xxi.

Ohwavworhua, P. O. and Orhero, M. I. (2019). ECO-activism in Nnimmo Bassey's I will not dance to your beat and Albert Otto's Letters from the earth. Uniuyo journal of humanities (UUJH). 23( 2): 299 – 312

Ohwavworhua, P. O., & Orhero, M. I. (2019). ECO-activism in Nnimmo Bassey's I will not dance to your beat and Albert Otto's Letters from the earth. Uniuyo journal of humanities (UUJH), 23( 2), 299-312.

Ojaide, T. (2015). Personally Speaking: The Beauty I Have Seen. In Indigeneity, Globalization, and African Literature (pp. 223-236). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Ojaide, T. (2016). Songs of myself: Quartet. Kraft Books.

Ojaruega, E. E. (2021). From the Niger Delta’s viewpoint: The Nigerian Civil War literature. In The Literature and Arts of the Niger Delta (pp. 206-217). Routledge.

Okunoye, O. (2008). Alterity, marginality and the national question in the poetry of the Niger Delta. Cahiers d'etudes africaines , 48 (191), 413-436.

Parkwell, C. (2019). Emoji as social semiotic resources for meaning-making in discourse: Mapping the functions of the toilet emoji in Cher’s tweets about Donald Trump. Discourse, Context & Media, 30, 100307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2019.100307

Pradhana, N. I., & Oeinada, I. G. (2021). Comparative analysis: to and ni as case particles in Japanese. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(1), 104-114. https://doi.org/10.37028/lingcure.v5n1.1029

Simpson, P. (2004). Stylistics: A resource book for students. Psychology Press, London and New York: Routledge

Taverniers, M. (2005). Subjecthood and the notion of instantiation. Language Sciences, 27(6), 651-678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2005.07.003

Thompson, G. (2013). Introducing functional grammar. Routledge.

Trinya, K. (2012). Shadows of Development In the New Poetry of the Niger Delta. Journal of the African Literature Association, 6(2), 168-185.

Trinya, K., (2011). Shadows of development in the new poetry of the Niger Delta: The poetry of Ibiwari Ikiriko, Ngozi Agoh-Jacobs, Ebi Yeibo, Tonye Biriabebe, and Barine Ngaage. In N. Chinyere (ed.) From boom to doom: Protest and conflict resolution in the literature of the Niger Delta. Owerri: Springfield 393 – 410

Usanga, K. (2018). Orature and eco-engagement in Tanure Ojaide’s Songs of myself. International journal of humanities and cultural studies. 4(4): 245 – 257

Zahoor, M., & Janjua, F. (2016). Character construction in tributive songs: transitivity analysis of the song" i am malala". trames: A Journal of the Humanities & Social Sciences, 20(2), 201-213.



How to Cite

Maledo, R. O., & Edhere, J. U. (2021). Experiential metafunction: representing environmental degradation. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(1), 129-145. https://doi.org/10.37028/lingcure.v5n1.1081



Research Articles