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Pragmatic Functions of Crisis - Motivated Proverbs in Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not to Blame

Akin Odebunmi (Ibadan)


 

Abstract

The paper examines the pragmatic functions that crisis-motivated proverbs play in Ola Rotimi's The Gods is not to Blame. It picks its inspiration from the little attention hitherto paid, in the linguistic literature, to both the specific proverbs that are spurred by crisis in the play and the pragmatic roles of such proverbs. For data, only the proverbs that are necessitated by the crisis-situations in the text are sampled, and these are analysed, using the recent theory of pragmatic acts (Mey 2001).

The study reveals that crisis-motivated proverbs in The Gods are not to Blame, which are of two types: social and political, are characterized by practs such as those of counselling, cautioning, challenging, veiling, persuading, prioritizing, encouraging, threatening and admitting. These are psychological acts which exploit contextual features such as reference, metaphor, inference, shared situation knowledge, shared cultural knowledge and relevance. The paper concludes that studying literary proverbs used in crisis situations, from a pragmatic perspective, both throws additional insights into the paremiological pool and promises to provide a veritably helpful tool for language teaching.


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