Academic journal article Hemispheres

Language Use Construction in Discourse: Exploring Youth Identities in Hausa Rap Music

Academic journal article Hemispheres

Language Use Construction in Discourse: Exploring Youth Identities in Hausa Rap Music

Article excerpt

Introduction

The present article identifies with discourse analysis (DA) as one of the key practical approaches to the study of popular music, particularly Hausa rap music. It explores the context of social construction of youth identities in Hausa rap. Basically in Hausa rap, singers draw from both Hausa and English, using whichever language they found appropriate to a particular situation in their language construction.* 1 This makes approaches to language use in the musical rhythm, to be grammatically functional.2 In view of this, the present article explores Hausa rap beyond grammatical approaches but rather in functional perspectives. Therefore, the present article was framed within the theoretical framework of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) from the basis of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach in investigating Hausa rap in order to identify how youth and their music reproduce and resist societal and political manifestations in their lyrics.

Problem statement

Nigeria is a country blessed with various cultures having over 555 spoken native languages which indicates the multilingual character of the nation. Among their speakers, the Hausa/Fulani constitute 29%, the Yoruba 20% and the Igbo 17% of the country's population, whereas the remaining one-third makes up the 34% belonging to other ethnic groups.3 Therefore, the elegance of the Hausa language has given rise to issues in contemporary music, particularly the popular music that plays a central role in the lives of young people.4 This is certainly obvious in Northern Nigeria, where rap music has been popularised among the youth and serves as an avenue to signify their identity and a forum to reveal their ideas within their understanding.

In a similar context, studies done in the area of language use relate to social issues with a strong emphasis unfolding in the cultural study of language5, and is compatible with a deeper sensitivity to critical social issues.6 In justifying these claims, it was further argued that the approaches to CDA and the justification of SFL allows a musical discourse to be interpreted as social and functional practice; which represents specific means of social environments. However, the present article found that there is a crucial need to explore how far language use relating to youth identity is critically functions in Hausa rap music. Basically, exploring the language construction of the Hausa rap genre will help in revealing Hausa youth's social identities in order to facilitate the thoughtful voices of the youth in order to be more contributory to fields of knowledge.

The following are the research objectives of the present article: (1) to explore the strategic discourse practices with relation to youth identity in Hausa rap; (2) to identify the factors that influences the social construction of language among Hausa rap singers signifying their discursive identity.

The following are the research questions of the present article: (1) what is the strategic discourse practice in Hausa rap and how does it relate to youth identity; (2) what influences the social construction of language among Hausa rap singers signifying their discursive identity?

Fundamentally, a literature review involves systematic identification, location, and analysis of documents containing information related to the research problem.7 Research within the perspective of rap music has driven the attention of various scholars around the globe. Basically, language use construction as identified by various scholars refers to the context of language in relation to real world problems.8 In reality, the variation of interest among scholars has resulted in the analysis of rap music in general to have been observed from the various perspectives which are certainly of different dimensions.9

Approaches to language use are diverse and complex, which can be analysed or studied from different perspectives.10 11 As such, approaches to language use in rap music are dynamic, which are rich in imagery and metaphor symbolising social change in the voices of youth. …

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