The Significance of Proverbs and Riddles as Verbal Arts in Imparting Indigenous Knowledge in Yoruba Society

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Owoade, S.C
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The Journal of the Yorùbá Studies Association of Nigeria, Department of Library, Archival and Information Studies University of Ibadan
Scholars have worked on various aspects of Yorùbá proverbs and riddles. Some of these scholars documented these forms of verbal arts without analysing them, while some examined their themes, features, and structures. However, to the best of my knowledge, the significant role of proverbs and riddles in imparting indigenous knowledge among Yorùbá has not been fully studied and exploited.This is the vacuum that this paper is set to fill. Verbal arts are social phenomena as such they have some definite social functions. Education is one of the significant functions that they perform in human society. Proverbs and riddles create an integrated life among Yorùbá sub-ethnic groups which enable them to lead a moral life. This research work adopted a qualitative research method.The data for this research work were collected through interviews and observations. Forty proverbs and forty riddles related to the subject matter of this study were collected, and ten proverbs and ten riddles were analysed. The Functional theory is employed to examine the significant role that the selected verbal arts perform in imparting indigenous knowledge among the Yorùbá. The paper submits that verbal arts transmit knowledge among Yorùbá people in which these verbal arts are current. It also emphasizes that this knowledge is transmitted to both literate and non-literate members of the society.
Verbal art, Indigenous knowledge, Yorùbá society, Function, Moral life.