A systemic functional analysis of two Truth and Reconciliation Commission testimonies: transitivity and genre
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis examines how two narrators construe their experiences of the same events differently through the linguistic choices that they make, through a systemic functional analysis, as well as a genre analysis of two testimonies. The Human Rights Violations (HRV) hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) allowed testifiers to tell stories of their experiences during apartheid. The selected testimonies refer to the events that led up to the arrest and eventual torture of Faried Muhammad Ferhelst, as told by himself and his mother, Minnie Louisa Ferhelst. Theframeworks used to analyse the testimonies are drawn from the transitivity and genre theories of Systemic Functional Linguistics. A clausal analysis of the transitivity patterns is used to compare the ways in which the testifiers construct their identities and roles when recounting their stories. The transitivity analysis of both testimonies shows that both Mrs Ferhelst and Faried Ferhelst construe themselves as the Affected participant through Material, Mental and Verbal clauses, and construe the police as the Causers, mostly through Material clauses. A genre analysis revealed that both testimonies took the form of narratives, in particular the Recount, a typical genre for relating narratives of personal experience. This research project also explores how the original Afrikaans versions of the testimonies differ from the translated English versions, available online on the TRC website. The Afrikaans versions were transcribed by the researcher from audio-visual records. A transitivity analysis reveals that the interpretation of the Afrikaans testimonies is fairly accurate, with a minimum loss of meaning. Thus in the case of these testimonies, the actual online record in English is an accurate reflection of their stories.