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Sociolinguistic Investigation of the Proverbs in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame, Kurunmi and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi

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Sociolinguistic Investigation of the Proverbs in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame, Kurunmi and Ovonramwen Nogbaisi.

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       i

Abstract    ii

Approval page               iii

Certification       iv

Dedication              v

Acknowledgements    vi

Table of contents          viii

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the study 1
    • Proverbs 10
    • Sociolinguistics 21
    • Sociolinguistic Concepts 25
  • Research problem 34
  • Aim and Objectives of the study 36
  • Significance of the study 36
  • Scope of the study 38

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 

  • Related Literature 39
  • Empirical Studies 45

CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK  

  • Methodology 55
    • Research Design 55
    • Data Collection 56
    • Data Analysis 56
  • Theoretical Framework 57

CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS OF DATA 

  • Dell Hymes’ S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G Model 59
  • Analysis of the Proverbs in The Gods Are Not To Blame 61
  • Analysis of the Proverbs in Kurunmi 73

4.4. Analysis of the Proverbs in Ovonramwen Nogbaisi         85

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION ON FINDINGS

  • Findings 98
  • Sociolinguistic Implications 99

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

  • Summary 106
  • Conclusion 107

REFERENCES       110

APPENDICES     118

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.

REFERENCES

Adedimeji, Mahfouz. The Semantics and Pragmatics of Nigerian Proverbs in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are not  to  Blame. Alore 5, (2003):54-79. Print.

. A Sociolinguistic Study of the Nigerian Proverbs in Zainab Alkali’s The Stillborn and The Virtuous Woman. Journal of the Linguistic Association of Nigeria, (2007):87-108. Print.

Adeyanju, Dele. “A Comparative Sociolinguistic Analysis of the Form and Function of Taboos in English and Yoruba” . Diss. U of Ilorin, 1998.Print.

Adeyi, Michael. “A Systemic Functional Analysis of Proverbial Expressions in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are not to Blame”. MA Thesis. Ahmadu Bello U, Zaria,  2013. Print.

Agu, Margaret. “Pragmatic Analysis of Igbo Proverbs”. Diss. Ahmadu Bello U, Zaria, 2010. Print

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