A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS IN EDDA IGBO

PROJECT TOPIC- A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS IN EDDA IGBO

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION 

BACKGROUND OF STUDY

In nature, we find numerous kinds of communication systems, many of which appear to be unique to their possessors, and one of them is the language of the human species. Basically, the purpose of communication is the preservation, growth, and development of the species (Smith and Miller 1968:265). The ability to exchange information is shared by all communication systems, and a number of non-human systems share some features of human language.

By describing the location of Edda, we think it may help our readers to have a better view of the dialect under discussion. Edda is the fifth biggest Local Government Area in Ebonyi State. It was named; Afikpo South Local Government by the Federal Government in 1991 during the creation of more Local Government Areas in Nigeria. Edda is a speech community with a population of one hundred and fifty seven thousand, seventy two (157,072) native speakers (2006 National Population Census). The community has borders with Afikpo (Ehugbo) and Unwana in the East, in the North with Akaeze, Amasiri and Okposi, in the South with Erie (in Cross River State) Okon and Amangwu (in Ohafia of Abia State) in the West with Amaekpu, Okagwe also in Ohafia and Nkporo in Ohafia Local Government Area. Nwaozuzu (2008:10), grouped Edda Igbo under Cross River Igbo.

Language and dialect are not the same thing. In contrast, a language is a set of rules for generating speech while a dialect is a variant of a language. Dialects may be both regional and social. If it is associated with a geographically isolated speech community, it is referred to as a regional dialect. However, if it is spoken by a speech community that is merely socially isolated, it is called a social dialect.

Edda dialect is an example of regional which is rich in culture. It has various ways of expressing thoughts, feeling, in profound and compressed way that makes them more appealing rhetorical and aesthetical. These expressional are brought to bare via their proverbs, riddles, idioms etc.

Edda dialect, like any other Igbo dialect employs the use of idiomatic expression for clearer description of particular situations or events that bring out the beauty of the situation.

An aspect of Edda Idiom which is more imaginative and appealing and has extra aesthetic potential is what Egudu (1975:175) calls “negative expression of positive values” since the emphasis is on the situation, traditional and illogical nature of idioms, it can easily be seen that the positive –negative expression satisfies the basic requirements of an idiom. This is a way of commending good qualities in people, praising somebody that has achieved great height by attributing to him something that is unfavourable

The use of idioms in speeches, dialogues or in writings add colour to what would otherwise have been a bland endeavour. The misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the Idioms causes unnecessary embarrassment and communication breakdown. Sometimes, it causes conflicts between the speaker and those whose mother tongues are different from the language or dialect in which the idiom is rendered. Of a truth, in-depth understanding and proper representation of ideas help to create an atmosphere of friendship and effective communication.

Edda Idioms like any other idioms of Igbo dialects are usually misinterpreted by some native speakers. At times because of the complex nature of the idioms and the manner and event of usage, those whose profess to understand the dialect, misunderstand its in idiomatic expressions. The misjudgment and reading of Edda idioms and the attendant communication gap, however, triggered our interest in this topic; A sociolinguistic Analysis of idiomatic expressions in Edda Igbo  with the view to answering the question, to what extent does the mastering of Edda idioms promote effective communication and discourse analysis”?

PROJECT TOPIC- A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS IN EDDA IGBO

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

There are lots of problems associated with the knowledge of idiom in general among which are:

Misinterpretation of idioms, idioms tend to confuse those unfamiliar with them, that is why student or non-native speakers of a language must learn its idiomatic expressions as vocabulary. Also, literal translation (word-by-word) of opaque idiom will not convey the same meaning in another language. For example, in Edda, the expressions, ‘Ime eka azụ literally means ‘giving of bribe. Also, when a speaker uses an idiom, the listener might mistake its actual meaning, if he or she has not heard this figure of speech before.

Moreover, people find it difficult to differentiate proverbs from idiom. Many native speakers don’t know that proverbs are formed in a phrasal form. Again, proverbs are easier to understand but idioms are not. The interpretation and the difficulty of differentiating proverbs from idioms have aroused the interest of the researcher to find out solution to these problems.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of this research is to survey the idiomatic expression of Edda with the view to revealing the linguistic virtues embedded in the language genre. Again, the work also reveals the cultural heritage of the people tied in the idiom, how they view the world and use idioms to express their emotional thoughts, create images and contract ideas and information.

This purpose of study can be itemized as follows:

  1. To ascertain similarities Edda Igbo idioms have with other Igbo idioms.
  2. To highlight the degree to which Edda idioms add value to Edda cultural heritage
  3. To ascertain the extent this research work would help to promote the understanding of the Edda dialect.
  4. To ascertain the extent Edda people use idioms embedded in their communication.
  5. To ascertain ways Edda idioms could enrich the standard Igbo.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Having established researchable statement of problems, the following research questions will service as a guide to the analysis

(1).  In what way does Edda idioms have similarity with idioms of other Igbo dialects?

(2).  To what degree do Edda idioms add value to Edda cultural heritage?

(3).  To what extent does the socio-linguistics analysis of idiomatic expression of Edda helps in promoting the understanding of the Edda dialect?

(4).  To what extent do Edda people use idiom embedded in their dialect?

(5).  In what way could idiomatic expressions in Edda Igbo enrich the standard Igbo?

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

It is our conviction that this work is a rentable literature to the university community in the sense that, it is resourceful in the terms of knowledge acquisition and library material. It will also expose Edda Igbo people their cultural value; their mother tongue and exhibits their socio-cultural lives.

This study will serve as a bed rock for analysis the structures and meanings of idioms in other dialects of Igbo language. More so, it will help to extricate the confusion and misconceptions often caused by the different structures and meanings of idioms in different dialects of Igbo language.

In addition, it will address the issue of misinterpretations and wrong usage of idioms and as such provide clues to their interpretations.

All these will add to the growth and development of Igbo language; arouse interest in pursuit of similar research in other dialects of Igbo.

SCOPE OF STUDY

This research could covered other aspects of literature such as proverbs and dirge but for lack of time and space, we only limited our scope to the roles idioms play in the socio-cultural and linguistics meliev of the Edda.

THEORETICAL FRAME WORK

Cognitive theory of metaphors (CTM) can be applied to idiom analysis. Conventional figurative metaphors and hence idioms have a different cognitive and communication value as compared to “novel” metaphors. Idioms contribute much less to the structuring of unstructured situations but rather convey different kinds of knowledge that they have accumulated in the course of their function in the language. What is needed in addition to CTM is a theory specially designed to described the irregularities of idioms. To develop such a theory Reddy (1979) studied the “conduit metaphor” which had been developed by Lakoof, Johnson and their colleagues (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, 1999, Lakoff 1987, 1990, 1993 and Lakoff & Turner 1989).

The metalinguistic apparatus proposed for the framework of this theory (that is the notion of idoms metaphoric model, source and target domain, mapping, conceptual correspondence, etc) proved to be efficient for the analysis of all kinds of idiomatic expression.

This metalinguistic apparatus has been successfully adopted by many linguistic studies on metaphoric expression in different languages and studies on aspects of idiomatic processing.

  • THEORETICAL APPLICATION

The major aims of this study is to discover to what extent the method of analysis developed within this theory can be used in idiom analysis and ascertain in the linguistic virtues embedded in the language Vis-à-vis, the creation of emotional thought, images, contrast, ideas and information. According to the so-called “classical views”, idioms are frozen elements of a language and have arbitrary meanings. Within Cognitive Linguistics, idioms arose automatically by implementation of productive rules, but they tend to fit one or more patterns already present in the speaker’s conceptual system. The actual meaning of idioms can be accounted for by their imagery so to speak, and according to Keysar and Bly (1999), part of a conceptual system that is fixed the metaphors of a given language.

The cognitive theory of metaphor is applied to develop methods and tools for analysis metaphorical expressions of all kinds including idioms, at times using phrase logical studies according to the tradition of Charles Bally (1919), “that idioms, for the most part, are not frozen elements and are usually arbitrary either, but clearly motivated by different structure of knowledge.  

PROJECT TOPIC- A SOCIOLINGUISTIC ANALYSIS OF IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS IN EDDA IGBO          

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