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Proverbs in Things Fall Apart

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Proverbs in Things Fall Apart

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  • April 2010
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Proverbs are wise sayings that address the heart of the discourse in any given context, truthfully and objectively. In Africa and in Nigerian cultures especially, they are considered the reliable horses, which convey meanings to their destinations or hearts of the listeners. This study investigates aspects of the meaning of proverbs in the work of a Nigerian author, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. It is contended that meanings of Nigerian proverbs can be worked out within the semantic, referential, ideational, stimulus-response, realist and contextual theories. Types of meaning and proverbs are addressed and situated within the two works. It is advanced that proverbs play significant roles in clarifying, exemplifying, underscoring and influencing communication .With the broadly analyzed proverbs, the study attempts to further demonstrate the vitality of semantics and pragmatics in negotiating meaning especially in a second language context. Proverbs are common features of conversational eloquence in many African cultures, especially in Nigeria. Such “wise sayings” are usually acquired and learnt from listening to the elders’ talk. Given the vintage position that the elders occupy in various African traditions as the human repository of communal or primordial wisdom, they are the masters of eloquence, rhetoric and meaning. They are the ones who know how to impregnate short expressions with vast meanings, implicating the proverb, “it is the elder’s mouth that determines a ripe kola nut”. Several definitions of the term “proverb” abound in literature. The central idea in the definitions is that a proverb is “an adage, saying, maxim, precept, saw or any synonym of such that expresses conventional truth”. From Things Fall Apart

The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them p.6 Theory: Referential Type: Denotative/Connotative
Analysis: The proverb makes reference to a cosmic body, the sun, with a view to...