Adobi Agbasi

Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name





This study examines how dialect can reflect people's heritage, socioeconomic status, and dis/entitlement status. It also examines how dialect has the ability to create social situations through codeswitching and language borrowing. I use the novels A Lesson Before Dying, The Lunatic, and Anthills of the Savannah to best explain my study. The novels take place in the United States, Jamaica, and West Africa. The theory that dialect reflects people's heritage, class, and dis/entitlement status is revealed through people from Africa and the African Diaspora and through people from Europe and the European diaspora. A conclusion is formulated after analyzing the characters' historical background, their living conditions, their educational status, and their actions toward others and themselves. The attributes of these characters, along with their dialect reveal a pattern that exists in real life. There are situations in which the dialect a person speaks determines how his or her life plays out. Ultimately, this thesis will reveal that people who speak standard dialects deal with similar situations, and people who speak nonstandard dialects deal with similar situations.


Signature pages are on file with the graduate school. An archival copy of the document is available in the archives Research Center.