SOCIOLINGUISTIC INVESTIGATION OF THE PROVERBS IN OLA ROTIMI’S THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME, KURUNMI AND OVONRAMWEN NOGBAISI

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ABSTRACT


The English language is a living and dynamic language and because of this, it is flexible and open to changes that occur everywhere it is used. This is exactly the case with English in Nigeria. The socio-cultural setting and the values of the Nigerian people have influenced the use of English language in the country. Many researchers have noted that proverbs form a formidable part of both the spoken and written discourse in the English speaking world, especially Nigeria where English is used as a very important second language. This explains why this study focuses on the Sociolinguistics of the Proverbs in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not to Blame, Kurunmi and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi. In the Yoruba Speech Community of Nigeria to which Ola Rotimi belongs, proverbs are considered as multifunctional and flexible instruments of language. They are employed for social relationships, for performing routine activities and for reflecting awareness of the environment. Viewed from a sociolinguistic perspective, Yoruba proverbs exemplified by those used by Ola Rotimi in The Gods Are Not to Blame and Kurunmi especially, reveal the values of good conduct, respect for elders, the place of royalty, cordiality and cooperation for peaceful co-existence among the Yoruba. Using Dell Hyme’s Ethnography of Communication as a theoretical framework and the S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G model as the data analysis tool, the investigation showed that proverbial usage cuts across cultures and races; Africans use proverbs more than other people in the world; there is male dominance in the use of proverbs in Africa; elders and leaders are more disposed to proverbial expressions than young and common individuals in Africa and proverbs are conditioned by circumstances. The researchers recommend that the study of African proverbs be introduced into the school curriculum to help growing children appreciate their culture and those of other people and avail themselves of the moral lessons that proverbs offer since such proverbs guide the behaviour of young people.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Abstract
Table of contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
1.1.1 Proverbs
1.1.2 Sociolinguistics
1.1.3Sociolinguistic Concepts
1.2       Research problem
1.3Aim and Objectives of the study
1.4       Significance of the study
1.5       Scope of the study

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Related Literature
2.2       Empirical Studies

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1Methodology
3.1.1Research Design
3.1.2 Data Collection
3.1.3 Data Analysis
3.2 Theoretical Framework

CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS OF DATA
4.1Dell Hymes’ S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G Model
4.2 Analysis of the Proverbs in The Gods Are Not To Blame
4.3 Analysis of the Proverbs in Kurunmi
4.4. Analysis of the Proverbs in Ovonramwen Nogbaisi

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION ON FINDINGS
5.1 Findings
5.2 Sociolinguistic Implications

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
6.1Summary
6.2Conclusion
WORKS CITED
APPENDICES


CHAPTER ONE


INTRODUCTION


1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Proverbs are used by people from all parts of the world for the transmission of their wisdom, knowledge, experiences and feelings. As Carter puts it, “every language has its thesaurus of proverbs” (63).This, in turn, has made proverbs to become current and innovative. In every speech community proverbs are used to achieve certain purposes or objectives. In the words of Fanany Rebecca and Ismet, “Proverbs in many societies are used to offer advice, resolve problems between individuals, and indicate comradery and good will” (122). English proverbs may be seen as closely related to English folk wisdom even though many of them have literary origin. In Africa, proverbs are of immense importance to the people. This explains why African proverbs have origin or background and explanation that are rooted in the socio-cultural life of the people. That is possibly why Onuigbo maintains that the beauty of Achebe’s literary genius is not based only on what Abdul Mohammed calls sophisticated primitivism of the language but also on the proverbial wisdom with which he ties the language. Coker states,


Among Africans particularly, proverbs occupy a strategic position given the pre-literate nature of indigenous African societies. In particular, among the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria, proverbs are regarded as a cherished form through which the worldview, philosophy and knowledge transfer across generation lie. The use of proverbs among the Yoruba, especially among elders, in everyday discourse ensures the sustenance, understanding and dissemination of traditional values (53).

The origin of proverbs has a very long history. By 595 B.C, the Book of Proverbs in the ‘Holy Bible’ was already written. Its major author was the wise King Solomon, who has up to three thousand of the proverbs to his credit. Many of his proverbs are as relevant today as they were when they were first written. In the remote past, when the book of Proverbs was written, the proverbs were designed “to give subtlety to the simple and to the young man, knowledge and discretion” (1:4). Proverbs have been with humanity just like language. In Nigeria, some of the indigenous languages have been translated into English. The English Language has been with Africa, particularly West Africa and especially Nigeria, for quite some time. Gradually, it was seen that Nigerians and other second language users of English use the language in a special way. In other words, there exists certain distinctiveness in the way Nigerians use English. There appears to be no doubt that several of the proverbs in English used by Nigerian writers have been largely translated into English from some indigenous languages.

As in all cultures, proverbs function like moral codes, conventional wisdom and explicit rules of conduct. These proverbs describe and prescribe the patterns of behaviour. They state the experiences, moral intuitions and guidelines for living that people generally have found to be desirable and helpful. At the same time, they contain the wisdom of the sages in the form of prescriptions and counsel for a successful life.

Another important feature of Nigerian proverbs is that, for a proverb to be appropriate when cited, the situation depicted in the primary meaning as well as its....


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