oa Inkanyiso - Presupposition and sentence synonyms as semantic devices in selected Yorùbá proverbs - research

Volume 11 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2077-2815



Proverbs are witty expressions precipitated by warranted situations. These situations can be likened to certain occurrences or events which took place aforetime to invoke a proverb match. In other words, whenever there is an occurrence or event, an appropriate proverb that suits such an occurrence, is employed. The paper therefore considers some Yorùbá proverbs with a view to unraveling not only their meaning equivalence in English, but to infer from such proverbs, their underlying assumptions and proffer solutions to their inherent problems. Employing the appraisal theory of J.R. Martin (2000) through the resources of Semantics, the study intends to consider the ways we can express our personal views while reacting to the views of others. The paper analyses fifteen Yorùbá proverbs based on the semantic devices of presupposition and sentence synonyms inherent in them. The fifteen Yorùbá proverbs are translated from the source language,Yorùbá, to English in order to unravel the intended meanings of the proverb. Thus, the paper reveals that certain Yorùbá proverbs do not only serve as antidotes to correct morals or societal ills, but that they are basically employed to elicit information regarding the veracity or otherwise of some facts relating to humans and invariably, certain inanimate entities with human attributes. The identified Yorùbá proverbs are shown to attract diverse meaning possibilities and/or sentence synonyms. The paper therefore concludes by affirming that Yorùbá proverbs are not only genre sensitive, but user dependent since circumstances or events relating to humans are involved.

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