A Critical Discourse Analysis of Àyìnlá Ọmọwúrà’s Ilé Ayé n Yí lọ S’ópin

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume VI, Issue I, January 2022 | ISSN 2454–6186

A Critical Discourse Analysis of Àyìnlá Ọmọwúrà’s Ilé Ayé n Yí lọ S’ópin

Owolabi Badmus Ajayi, PhD, Omotolani Ebenezer Ekpo, PhD, Sakiru Kilani
Department of English & Literary Studies, Federal University Wukari, Nigeria

IJRISS Call for paper

Singing is art and art is society. From time immemorial, song has been one of the indispensable tools that develop societies. Music is produced for specific motives, messages and dedications and sometimes directed at specific sets of audience or listeners. In music, different subject matters such as social, economic, religious and contemporary problems and issues are embedded whereby the musician or the songwriter tries to communicate his or her views, feelings, thoughts or ideologies to the targeted audience or readers. Language is an essential component of music for songs are composed of it. Language of song can be spoken or written depending on the situation and purpose. This study therefore attempts a critical discourse analysis of Àyìnlá Ọmọwúrà’s Ilé Ayé ń Yí Lọ S’ópin (1978) using Teun A. van Dijks’s (1988) Critical Discourse Analysis model. Using this model reveals that the text is related to the social context of the period in which the social song was produced. The study adopted qualitative method of analysis which is analytic, critical, descriptive and discursive in nature. The study reveals that social cognition and social context shape the choice of words songwriters adopt and at the same time, choice of words reveals the ideologies and beliefs of songwriters. The study encourages other researchers in the field of CDA to carry out CDA of Yoruba songs, especially the historical and political ones to enhance the field of CDA better.

Keywords: Language, Music, Discourse Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis, Social Context, Social Cognition.


Language is one of the most fundamental and essential aspects of human existence as communication hinges and integration hinge on it. It is a vital tool in conveying or expressing feelings, ideas and thoughts. It is against this backdrop that Sapir (1921) defines language as a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols. To further buttress this point, language serves as a means of communication in every human society and plays a vital role in areas such as music, information technology, science, mutual interaction and among others.
Song is one of the media of expression used to express one’s thoughts or critical analysis about particular subject (Putri and Triyono, 2018). When a songwriter creates a song, he or she tends to have special meanings and thoughts attached to it, which he or she aims to be understood and accepted by the audience and listeners. Each songwriter has his or her own style based on the songwriter’s language proficiency and background. A good songwriter will give strong attention to the language used, and it should be appreciated that in fact, it is not an easy feat at all to produce a good song.
Songs are composed by trained classical composers for concert or recital performances. Songs are performed live and recorded on audio or video (or, in some cases, a song may be performed live and simultaneously recorded). Songs may also appear in plays, musical theatre, stage shows or any form, and within operas (Wikipedia 2019).
Creativity plays a pivotal role in determining the quality of songs. A lot of songwriter use figurative language in their works to five rise to the aesthetic function in the song lyrics. What makes a good songwriter is the one that manages to convey the feelings and invokes the intended emotions of the listeners and audience, while having their songs rich in moral values (Putri and Triyono, 2018).
Along with times, music also evolved. We knew the traditional music, classical music and also popular music. In this era, we live in the popular culture.
Discourse is a linguistic text with a complete set of elements bigger than the sentence or clause with the high intensity of cohesion or coherence (Tarigan, 2009). There are many types of discourse such as novels, books, articles, speeches, and song lyrics. Song lyric is a part of the discourse (Putri and Triyono, 2018). Based on the amount of the speaker, narrator or writer, the song lyric includes monologue discourse, which is a part of the discourse analysis conveyed by one person.
The discourse analysis is not limited to linguistic studies. The discourse has a correlation with the context. The context appears in many elements, such as the narrator and listener (participant), setting of the place and time, situation, condition, message, end, key, instrument and norm (Darma, 2009). Discourse is considered as the strongest purpose that will be reached. Sometimes, the discourse analysis represents the social problems and current issues (Putri and Triyono, 2018). From these phenomena, it can be concluded that critical discourse analysis is a discourse which analyses the use of language in discourse and the environment of language such as the social cognition and social context.
This paper attempts a critical discourse analysis of a social song titled Ilé Ayé ń Yí Lọ S’ópin sung by an Àpàlà musician, Alhaji Àyìnlá Ọmọwúrà adopting Teun van Dijk’s Critical Discourse Analysis model. The song is suitable for the situation and condition of the government of Nigerian during the period when the song was sung. The researchers rely on the three items which are manifested in the text analysis; the social cognition, the social context and the social song.