Proverbs in Things Fall Apart

Sayings are wise expressions that resolve the heart of the discourse in any offered context, truthfully and objectively. In Africa and in Nigerian cultures especially, they are considered the trusted horses, which convey meanings to their locations or hearts of the listeners. This study investigates elements of the meaning of sayings in the work of a Nigerian author, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

It is competed that significances of Nigerian sayings can be exercised within the semantic, referential, ideational, stimulus-response, realist and contextual theories.

Kinds of meaning and sayings are resolved and situated within the 2 works. It is advanced that proverbs play substantial functions in clarifying, exemplifying, underscoring and affecting interaction. With the broadly analyzed sayings, the study attempts to even more show the vigor of semantics and pragmatics in working out meaning especially in a 2nd language context. Proverbs are common features of conversational eloquence in many African cultures, specifically in Nigeria.

Such “sensible phrases” are normally acquired and learnt from listening to the seniors’ talk. Provided the classic position that the senior citizens occupy in various African traditions as the human repository of communal or prehistoric wisdom, they are the masters of eloquence, rhetoric and significance. They are the ones who know how to fertilize short expressions with vast significances, implicating the proverb, “it is the older’s mouth that determines a ripe kola nut”. A number of definitions of the term “saying” be plentiful in literature.

The central concept in the definitions is that a saying is “an adage, stating, maxim, precept, saw or any synonym of such that expresses traditional fact”. From Things Break down The sun will shine on those who stand prior to it shines on those who kneel under them p. 6 Theory: Referential Type: Denotative/Connotative Analysis: The saying refers to a cosmic body, the sun, with a view to stimulating its sense– that those who aim and work (by remaining standing) will take advantage of the fruit of their work prior to those who depend upon them (by kneeling or obtaining succor from them).

While the reasoning of preventing reliance can be made, the message is primarily that those who do not deal with the challenges of life and work assiduously defying sunshine should please themselves with the crumbs that fall from the table of the hardworking ones. The saying prevents laziness and indicates the need for everyone to be hard-working. If a kid cleaned his hands, he could consume with kings. p. 6 Theory: Realist Types: Denotative, thematic Analysis: The saying represents the honor and self-respect attributed to cleanliness and responsibility.

It thematizes hands cleaning, an excellent character training and hygienic way of consuming as a sine qua non to honor. We infer that if a person does the best thing at the right time, as the saying involves good luck, honor, reverence, esteem and credit will be his, just like eating together with kings. The practical understanding of how actually high the Nigerians rate their traditional rulers provides a further clue to the semantic import of the proverb. 3 When the moon is shining, the cripple ends up being starving for a walk. p. 9.

Theory: Referential Types: Collocative, Stylistic Analysis: Reference is made to another cosmic body, the moon, in this proverb, as “shining” collocates with “the moon” and “maim” collocates metaphorically with “walk”. The sense of the proverb depends on the cause-effect theory that if inspiration is given, action arises. In essence, night is conventionally taken as a duration of rest however in a circumstance where there is moon-light, not just the able-bodied feels the need to stroll or work in the night however even the cripple does.

Night is implied and not specified for stylistic purposes while “starving”, a significant word that ordinarily does not apply to “stroll”, is also utilized for stylistic result. The highlighting message is that a good cause or inspiration events an excellent impact or line of action. 4 A male who pays respect to the great leads the way for his own achievement p. 14. Theory: Stimulus-Response Types: Denotative, Affective. Analysis: There is a tact suggestions almost accompanying the English saying, “one great turn should have another” here. If an individual accords honor or reverence to the effective ones, it is most likely that he is also going to succeed.

To put it simply, the sense of the proverb is that a person who helps another man helps himself indirectly as he gets familiar with what that man participates in– and this will ultimately lead him likewise to greatness, directly or indirectly. 5 A toad does not run in the daytime for absolutely nothing. 15 Theory: Ideational Types: Denotative/Stylistic Analysis: The proverb jobs our mental conception or basic understanding of the toad as a nighttime animal. If such an animal for that reason does “run” (a lexical product preferred by the author for metaphorical or stylistic result, against the regular collocative word, “jump”) in the day, there must be something awry.

The sense of the saying is that there is a cause for anything weird that occurs; there need to be a factor, a minimum of “no smoke without fire”. A toad running in daytime is most likely pursuing something or certainly something is pursuing it. It involves the “cause-effect” relationship. An old woman is always anxious when dry bones are pointed out in a saying. p. 15 Theory: Stimulus– Response Types: Denotative/Thematic Analysis: This proverb likewise exhibits “causes-effect” relationship as it thematises the old woman. It suggests that individuals who have negative functions feel disturbed when such functions are being highlighted.

There is the effect or response of agitation with recommendation to the dry bones because an old woman whose dry bones are indications of impending death is always scared of death. The sense of the saying, essentially, is that conscience concerns people of negative qualities even when they are not attended to however their excesses (so to state) are being condemned. The lizard that jumped from the high Iroko tree to the ground said he would applaud himself if no one else did. p. 16. Theory: Referential Types: Denotative/Connotative Analysis: The saying generates the self-contentment and happiness of good work.

A good work, we can infer, is itself good whether people value it or not. Referral is made to the lizard which nods after any activity it takes part in, implicating its self-praise. The animal is personified for poetic impact. The English equivalent of “if you do not blow your trumpet, nobody will blow it for you” may further show the sense of the saying– that if you do not appreciate your worth and dignify yourself, people may not bother to do it for you. Eneke the bird states since men have discovered to shoot without missing out on, he has found out to fly without setting down. 16. Theory: Referential Types: Denotative/Connotative Analysis: Like the previous proverb, this proverb derives its message from folklore, in which human characteristics are offered to animals/non-human animals. The significance is both actual and figurative as well as multi-dimensional in scope. Changing situations bring to life developments. If students, for example, develop unique methods of unfaithful in the evaluations, referentially, the authorities likewise design ipso facto, new methods of apprehending or spotting the cheats. When a male says yes, his Chi states yes likewise. p. 9 Theory: Ideational Types: Denotative/Connotative. Analysis: The proverb aptly sums up the essence of determination and strong will, within one’s psychological context. Reference to chi, a person’s personal god in Igbo culture, is of connotative import. The message translated is that man should constantly take definitive choices for himself and solve to do whatever he tasks himself to do for that will always be the will of his expected “god”. A possible English equivalent is that “paradises help those who assist themselves”, and as such, male ought to always be accountable for all his actions.

A chick that will grow into a cock can be found the really day it hatches. p. 46 Theory: Realist Types: Denotative/Connotative. Analysis: The saying checks out the sensible series of things/ phenomena: that a basic analysis can be made from particular qualities. In the real world, from the preliminary stage, from countenance and look, one is able to identify the excellent, the bad and the ugly. The reference to the chick in our mind is illustrative: the chick that will not live long will most likely look frail and sickly, right from the day it is hatched.

Our actions, at specific times, are indices of our character, the saying informs us. A kid’s finger is not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mom takes into its palm. p. 47 Theory: Contextual Types: Denotive/Collocative Analysis: Given the contextual/pragmatic understanding of a mom’s love for her kid particularly in the Nigerian cultures, it is suggested that whatever she does, even if such superficially appears harmful, will be of benefit to the child. This is due to the fact that it is presupposed that nobody likes a child better than his/her mother.

Therefore, the sense of the proverb, which for effect parades “child/mother”, “finger/palm”, “a piece of hot yam” etc collocates, is that love bears no damage. If there is love, there is no need for appointment in taking a cherished’s piece of recommendations, whether one considers it excellent or not, due to the fact that a beloved person will not suggest a harmful antidote for whom he likes. 12 If one finger brought oil, it stained the others. p. 87. Theory: Ideational Types: Denotative/Connotative/Stylistic

Analysis: The proverb highlights the principle of collective obligation: what one does links the participation of the others. With tact recommendation to our knowledge or ideas of the world, if a finger is dipped into the oil, other fingers get smeared alongside because they are together. Simply put, a disgraceful act by a person brings embarassment, odium and opprobrium to him and by extension, to his family and neighborhood. Stylistic considerations strike the choice of “brought” and “stained” from the existing options– which could even more interact the same idea.

A kid can not spend for its mom’s milk. p. 117 Theory: Realist Types: Connotative/Collocative. Analysis: This proverb anchors an axiomatic truth: certain things are unquantifiable or valuable. No matter how much the child gives the mom later on in life, such is unworthy her milk, offered the child at infancy. By extension, compassion, love (and such virtues) can not be completely reciprocated, as they are inestimably valuable. Collocates like “kid, mom, milk” enhance the sense of the meaning. An animal rubs its hurting flank against a tree, a guy asks his kinsman to scratch him p. 17. Theory: Realist/Stimulus-Response Types: Connotative/Stylistic. Analysis: By drawing our attention to the real world of human-animal behavioral patterns, the proverb draws a line between a person and an animal. The saying is suggestive of the social nature of male, and the truth that “no guy is an Island”. The proverb recommends that it is love that differentiates males from animals. Individuals who do not seek their fellow humans’ aid when in risk or problem are for that reason animalistic.

Significant word patterns like “aching”, “flank”, “kinsman”, “rubs”, “scratch”, that one would generally choose other words for, are used for stylistic purposes, engendering the connotative, figurative sense. Living fire begets cold, impotent ash. p. 118 Theory: Ideational Types: Connotative/Stylistic Analysis: The sense stimulated by this epigrammatic statement is the vanity of conceit. By developing the image/idea of fire in our mind, we are implicitly told that fire flares up in pride but its consequence is cold, impotent ash.

The connotative significances of “cold” and “impotent” are quite necessary and their stylistic association with ash provides credence to the force of the meaning. Both fire and “ash” conjure in us human qualities– the fire brings to life a cold and impotent child in ash. The sense of the saying or its message is that people should be good and level-headed when they are appropriate (to be in a position) or alive; for, when they lose such position and die, they become useless and undesirable– subsequently becoming things of public contempt.

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