A Pragma-Stylistic Approach to Analysing Proverbs: A Review of Some Selected Proverbs in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God

Jonathan Essuman ORCID iD, Elvis ResCue ORCID iD & Philomena Ama Okyeso Yeboah

Issue: Vol.2  No.8  August 2021  Article 1 pp. 92-107
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2021281  |   Published online 24th August 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


African artworks, to be specific, literature has for quite a long time now demonstrated African tradition and culture. One major African literary tool that has maintained its efficacy in the African cultural heritage is the use of proverbs. Proverbs have been diversely used to perform several functions in the African traditional setting. Among such functions are: confirming opinions, warning, showing regrets, doubts, justifications and many more. This paper seeks to examine some selected proverbs from Chinua Achebe’s novels – Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God. Significantly, one can conclude that the style of a writer can go a long way in determining the reception and authenticity of his works. Chinua Achebe has extensively employed proverbs in his works as a tool for setting out or revealing his characters, themes and many others. This study is a pragma-stylistic approach to the analysis of proverbs used by Achebe in the selected novels. The researchers focus primarily on the style, meaning and function of the proverbs used in the selected texts. A critical content analysis method is employed for this study to determine the functions of the proverbs within the context of the novel. This study brings to the fore the very nature of African proverbs, specifically the Igbo of Nigeria and reveals the various functions ascribed to these proverbs. This will provide readers with the necessary knowledge on the very reasons why some proverbs are used and will ignite the research impetus of some researchers to further investigate other approaches to proverbs. This study has contributed immensely to the existing literature on pragma-stylistic studies and the understanding of a pragma-stylistic approach as a theoretical concept with a unique focus on analysing African proverbs.

Keywords: Achebe, Proverbs, Pragmatics, Pragma-stylistics, Stylistics

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Jonathan Essuman is a Lecturer at the Department of Languages Education, Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development, Ghana. He is currently a PhD student and holds both MPhil and B.A. in English from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. His research interests are within the scope of postcolonial literature, Oral Literature, African Womanism, Apartheid and Resistance Literature and has publication in these areas.

Elvis ResCue (PhD) is a Lecturer at the Department of English, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. He holds PhD and MA in Applied Linguistics from Aston University, Birmingham-UK, and BA in Linguistics with English from the University of Ghana, Legon. His research interests lie in the area of Discourse Analysis (Language and Literary texts), African and General Linguistics, Language Contact/Sociolinguistics, Media Language, and Language Policy and Planning.

Philomena Ama Okyeso Yeboah (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. Her research interests are in the area of Literatures of the Diaspora, the contested gendered terrain in Africa, and streetism and its rippling effects on the current generation of Africans. She teaches courses in Literature at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels.

Essuman J., ResCue E. & Yeboah P.A.O. “A Pragma-Stylistic Approach to Analysing Proverbs: A Review of Some Selected Proverbs in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 2, no.8 (2021): 92-107 https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2021281

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).