A SURVEY OF ANIMAL IMAGERY IN NIGERIAN PROVERBS
No Thumbnail Available
NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN STUDIES (NJAS)
Proverb is a very integral part of African rhetoric. It serves varied functions ranging from admonition, satire, and praise. They mirror the society and justify societal issues. Nigerian proverbs are mainly derived from plants and animals due to the fact that the people’s abode are close to certain natural phenomena like land, seas and forests. Animals play vital roles in Nigerian folklores, especially in the aspects of folktales and proverbs. Hence, animal imageries abound preponderantly in Nigerian proverbs. The random use of animal imageries in proverbs have some implications in Nigerian societies. The thrust of this paper, therefore is to identify some of the animal imageries which are prevalent in the proverbs of the following Nigerian societies- Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, explain their meanings and their implications as social facts in Nigerian society. Data for this study are gathered from discourses among elders who are fluent speakers of some of these Nigerian languages. More data are abstracted through non participant observation. The analysis of this study reveals that there are lots of animal imageries in Nigerian proverbs. The study also reveals that animals such as ‘goat’ ewu (Igbo), ‘akuya’ (in Hausa), ewure (Yoruba) tortoise Kunkuru (Hausa), snake agwọ (Igbo), maciji (Hausa), ejo (Yoruba) feature in Nierian proverbs. The essence of animal imagery in Nigerian proverb is to mirror what obtains in the society.
proverbs, imageries, animals, survey.